10 People You'll Meet (Virtually) at Kendal Mountain Festival 2020 Article


Kendal Mountain Festival may be going online in 2020, but you can still e-meet (sorry!) a wide range of influential climbers, walkers, runners, writers, filmmakers and generally outdoorsy people. This year, it'll be a case of Bring Your Own Beer - or cup of tea, whatever floats your boat - rather than the usual Brewery Arts Centre shenanigans, but with English lockdown and the cold winter nights drawing in, we know where we'll be spending our evenings...

Extreme Basecamp scenes: now to be recreated at home with your best down jackets and beards.  © KMF
Extreme Basecamp scenes: now to be recreated at home with your best down jackets and beards.

We couldn't include everyone, but we've compiled a list of 10+ interesting, fun and quirky characters who will be gracing your screens at home from 19 November until 31 December.

Tom Randall (and Will Birkett)

A KMF staple, this 'Wideboy' needs no introduction. This year at KMF, however, Tom won't be talking about crack climbing adventures with Pete Whittaker, but rather about battling with Will Birkett for the Lakes Classic Rock Round record, which they tossed between them throughout the post-lockdown summer. The round combines 34 miles of running between 15 multipitch Classic Rock routes, involving 70 pitches up to VS and 4,300m of ascent. After a lot of to-and-fro, Will currently holds the record at 10 hours 41 minutes. Will Tom return to try and take it back?

Tom Randall.  © Tom Randall
Tom Randall.
© Tom Randall

Join Tom and Will on Tuesday 24 November at 7:30 P.M.

Abbie Robinson

Abbie is a member of the GB Paraclimbing Team and was Paraclimbing World Champion in 2018/2019. She has a degenerative eye condition called Stargardt disease, which causes a loss of central vision. In Paraclimbing events, Abbie uses a sight guide; a coach who talks her through the route beforehand and communicates hold positions during her climb via a headset. Equally at home on rock as she is on a competition wall, Abbie also enjoys outdoor bouldering. Abbie will be talking about her experiences as part of the Patagonia Rock Session.

Abbie Robinson.  © Abbie Robinson
Abbie Robinson.
© Abbie Robinson

Join Abbie alongside Emma Twyford, Robbie Phillips and Matt Helliker on Monday 23 November at 8:00 P.M.

Ed Caesar

Ed is an award-winning journalist and author who recently published his second book, The Moth and the Mountain, which tells the complex and compelling story of one of Britain's most underappreciated adventurers: Maurice Wilson. A WWI hero who finds himself lacking in purpose during peacetime, Wilson - an inexperienced mountaineer who 'had hardly climbed anything more challenging than a flight of stairs' - sets his sights on making the first ascent of Mount Everest, alone. As if that were not adventurous enough, he decides to fly from England - despite being an inexperienced pilot - and land a Gipsy Moth on the mountain's slopes. Ed weaves a fascinating tale of a man whose gutsy and frankly astonishing endeavour was relegated to the footnotes of Everest's mountaineering history, largely due to his quirks of character. We won't give too much away - stay tuned for a UKC interview with Ed...

Ed Caesar.  © Ed Caesar
Ed Caesar.
© Ed Caesar

Join Ed in conversation with fellow Ed, journalist and mountain author Ed Douglas on Thursday 26 November at 8:30 P.M.

Sabrina Verjee

The summer of 2020 was a record year for mountain running, with Fastest Known Times being set all across the UK. Sabrina Verjee is one of Britain's top endurance runners. In 2017, she finished 2nd in the women's category of the Berghaus Dragon's Back Race. In 2019, Sabrina won the women's category in the Montane Spine race with a time of 108:07:17, putting her in 4th place overall. In 2020, she completed the first women's Wainwright Round, visiting all 214 peaks in 6 days, 17 hours and 51 minutes. Continuing her run of form, this September she also broke the FKT of the Pennine Way. During the KMF Mountain Running Session, Sabrina will talk about the remarkable year she's had alongside a who's-who of British mountain running: Kim Collison, Carol Morgan, George Foster, Rowan Wood and Lowri Morgan (interviewing).

Sabrina Verjee.  © Sabrina Verjee
Sabrina Verjee.
© Sabrina Verjee

Join Sabrina on Thursday 19 November at 8:00 P.M.

Jesse Dufton

Jesse's exploits on the Old Man of Hoy - of which he made the first blind lead ascent - captivated everyone last year and his ascent was showcased on Channel 4 recently in the award-winning film 'Climbing Blind'. Jesse has led multiple E2s and shares a remarkable partnership with his wife Molly Dufton, who patiently belays and acts as a sight guide, instructing Jesse on hold and gear positions and placements. The pair will be speaking together at the 'Build Strong Bonds' session about their life and climbs alongside mountain runners Howard Dracup and Gwynn Stokes and TV presenter and adventurer Jordan Wylie.

Jesse and Molly Dufton.  © Jesse and Molly Dufton
Jesse and Molly Dufton.
© Jesse and Molly Dufton

Join Jesse and Molly on Sunday 29 November at 5:00 P.M.

Gilly McArthur

Gilly is a climber, cold/ice swimmer, illustrator and one of the organisers of the Women's Trad Festival. She is passionate about the community aspect of climbing and the outdoors, and during the 'Over the Edge' session, Gilly will be joined by fellow organisers as they celebrate the festival's fifth anniversary and discuss confidence, community and connections made through climbing.

Gilly McArthur.  © Gilly McArthur
Gilly McArthur.
© Gilly McArthur

Join Gilly and the WTF team on November 20 at 6 P.M.

Peter Goulding

Author of the Boardman Tasker-shortlisted book Slatehead - part creative non-fiction, part memoir and part documentary - Peter Goulding tells the story of the punks, mavericks and artists who flunked their exams and climbed on the dole thanks to Margaret Thatcher. In this case, their medium was the Welsh slate quarries; shaped and first climbed by pioneering Victorian quarrymen. Slatehead is a tribute both to people and place, and a celebration of one of Britain's most enchanting yet unforgiving rock types. Join Peter in conversation with our very own Rob Greenwood.

Peter Goulding.  © Peter Goulding
Peter Goulding.
© Peter Goulding

Join Peter and Rob Greenwood on Sunday 22 at 4:00 P.M.

Rhiane Fatinikun

Founder of the group Black Girl Hikes, Rhiane is passionate about diversifying the outdoors. Since founding Black Girl Hikes, she has introduced hundreds of women of colour to hiking through organised meets and walks in the British hills and mountains. Rhiane's work has been featured by the BBC and the group have been invited onto the BMC's Equity Steering Committee. Rhiane will be presenting the Berghaus Women in Adventure session alongside Emily Davis.

Rhiane Fatinikun.  © Rhiane Fatinikun
Rhiane Fatinikun.
© Rhiane Fatinikun

Join Rhiane, Emily and the Women in Adventure panel on Sunday 22 November at 8:00 P.M.

Leo Houlding

Another KMF regular, all-round top climber Leo Houlding will be speaking about the expedition he led to Mount Roraima, a 2,810m high tepui that sits on the border between Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana. Leo was joined by Anna Taylor on her first big wall expedition, plus Waldo Etherington, Wilson Cutbirth, Dan Howard, Matt Pycroft and two local guides. Leo, Anna, Waldo and Matt will be together to share their experiences of the 'trip of a lifetime'.

Leo Houlding.  © Leo Houlding
Leo Houlding.
© Leo Houlding

Join Leo and the Roraima team on Saturday 21 November at 7:30 P.M.

Bernadette McDonald

Canadian author Bernadette McDonald is one of the leading voices in mountain literature, with a special interest in pioneering Polish mountaineers. Her latest book, Winter 8000: Climbing the World's Highest Mountains in the Coldest season, explores the reasons and motives behind Poland's fascination with the very big and the very cold. Since their first 8,000m winter ascent of Everest in 1980, Polish climbers have partaken in most of the major historic winter expeditions to some of the world's most daunting peaks, including the 'Killer Mountain' Nanga Parbat and the elusive K2. What draws them to 'the art of suffering', as they dubbed it? Read UKC interview with Bernadette: Reading Between the Lines.

Bernadette McDonald.  © Bernadette McDonald
Bernadette McDonald.
© Bernadette McDonald

Join Bernadette in conversation with journalist and author Ed Douglas on Wednesday 25 November at 7:00 P.M.

Kendal Mountain Festival 2020  © KMF
Kendal Mountain Festival 2020

Kendal Mountain Festival (19-29 November, then On-Demand until 31 December) is an award-winning event that has grown in size and diversity over the last 20 years. This year - on the event's 40th anniversary - Kendal Mountain Festival is going fully online. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts plus media industry specialists, athletes, top brands and equipment manufacturers, artists, writers, photographers, adventurers, explorers and inspirational speakers gather every year to share adventures and celebrate the very best in outdoor and adventure sports culture. It's also the main social event for outdoor enthusiasts in the UK. Don't let the winter lockdown dampen your passion for the outdoors - grab a drink and settle down for the new virtual KMF experience!

- Book tickets and passes on the KENDAL MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL SITE

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