Fell Fest Launches This Spring

Hill festivals are cropping up all over the place, and one of the latest is Cumbria's Fell Fest, with a programme of free events in April.

Broadcaster Eric Robson, one of the speakers this year, 124 kb
Broadcaster Eric Robson, one of the speakers this year
© Cumbria Fell Fest

The festival, which takes place in Cockermouth on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April, aims to promote all things outdoorsy in Cumbria from running and cycling to walking and climbing. It will also highlight environmentally friendly ways to enjoy the fells.

Broadcaster Eric Robson, co-host of BBC Radio Four's Gardeners' Question Time and Chairman of Cumbria Tourism (in which capacity he caught some flak in 2011 over his support for the Cumbria nuclear waste facility), is among the stars of the new event.

Wasdale resident Eric, who was involved in the BBC TV series Wainwright's Walks, will be sharing tales about his time living and working in Cumbria at the Kirkgate Centre in Cockermouth.

'I have lived in Wasdale for more than 25 years and have been lucky enough to walk the fells of this gorgeous county with one of the greats, Alfred Wainwright' says Eric.

'We shared a passion for this amazing landscape and I hope to communicate some of that enthusiasm to those visiting Fell Fest.'

'But I've also seen first-hand how much damage can be caused to the landscape by inconsiderate use. We owe it to everyone to highlight how we should respect the mountains and care for them so they can be enjoyed by future generations for many years to come. Events like Fell Fest can play a huge part in making sure that happens.'

Other offerings over the weekend include: a Family Fell Run with international trail runner Ricky Lightfoot; a five mile fell race and and family town trail; navigation training with Cockermouth-based Lakeland Mountain Guides; an outdoor clobber fashion show [really? Ed.] and charity auction; and a mass litter pick.

There's a photography competition too, with four categories: best photograph by an adult amateur, best photography by a junior amateur (aged 16 and under), best photograph of an animal, and best photograph taken on a mobile phone. All pictures will be displayed online and the public will be asked to vote. The top 20 pictures in each category will then be displayed in a gallery at the festival and visitors will vote for their top three in each category.

Almost everything over the weekend is free, with donations and any profits going to the Lake District Search & Mountain Rescue Association and the Great North Air Ambulance.

For more details see the Cumbria Fell Fest website.

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