Kendal Mountain Festival is almost upon us, but for those short of change what is there to do? Thankfully as the festival has grown so too has the number of 'free' offerings throughout the weekend. Here's a quick breakdown:
Fancy brushing up on your ropework, if so look no further.
Members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI) will be running a Problem Solving Masterclass and 'Taking Flight' Lead Belay Session throughout the Friday. On the Saturday members of the British Mountain Guides (BMG) will be running workshops on Glacier Ropework, Dry Tooling, and also a Big Wall Portaledge Experience.
To book simply call the Lakeland Climbing Centre on 01539 721766. The only slight caveat is whilst the instruction is free, you do have to pay for entry into the wall (it's still a bargain though!).
There's a massive family programme on for this year's event, with the Family Guide outlining all that's going on. That said, if you want to attend something for free - something that may/may not occupy your child's attention for 90 minutes - get yourself over to the Family Adventure Film Screening at 9:30am Saturday and/or 10:30am Sunday at Kendal Leisure Centre for a greatest hits selection of the best family films at this year's festival.
Another fun/educational curveball is a free session exploring the wonderful world of Alfred Wainwright and his famous Lakeland Guidebooks. Within this 60 minute session you can create your own illustrations and interact with the great many guides he lovingly produced.
Whilst the adventures of great and good of the climbing/mountaineering world are undoubtedly of interest, so are the interest of all the other people that get out/about. The Columbia Basecamp Stage contains a whole host of these people, who have done everything from Trail Running to Wild Swimming, Winter Walking to Horsepacking.
For the full line up click here.
Whilst the full programme is yet to be released, there will apparently be talks from Chris Bonington, Damian Hall (stories from the UTMB), Maddy Cope (top sport & trad climbing), Jonathan Albon (skyrunning and obstacle courses), Dan Milner (MTB in North Korea), Lauren MacCallum and Leslie McKenna (Protect Our Winters) and Erin Bastian (long sea crossings) amongst many more.
Keep an eye out when you arrive at the festival for an exact schedule.
If you thought the Base Camp Stages was all that was on offer you're wrong, with countless other things going on throughout the weekend including the Mammut Scavenger Hunt, Primaloft Snowglobe, adidas TERREX basecamps with trainer trials, the Hydroflask Happy Hour (free True Pint with every drink bought 6 - 7pm on Friday).
You can also pop in to the UKC/UKH/Rockfax stand to meet the team who will all be around during the festival. Get a demonstration of the Rockfax app on iOS or Android and enter our free competiution to win some great stuff from Boreal, Wild Country and the BMC.
As always there'll be a whole load going on at the Lowe Alpine Yurt, which will be taking on a more alpine theme during this year's event.
The highlight of the weekend is undoubtedly Andy Cave's On the Edge of Possibilitity presentation, which will present some of Andy's advice on getting the most out of life.
At 11am Saturday there'll be a '10 Questions With...' Panel Event featuring Tom Randall, Emily Scott, and Will Copestake. This could be to do with training and technique…or it could be more random…the choice is yours! There'll be a load of giveaways whilst this is going on, including a new Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket.
Following on from the Microlight theme, there'll be a '10 Years On Photo Board' to celebrate the jacket's 10th birthday. Head over, pin-up a pic of you wearing yours, and be in with a chance of winning prizes and goodies.
Finally, at 3pm on Saturday Rab will be joining forces with Pertex to show a short section of their recent Janhutkot film (recently featured as Friday Night Video on UKC), followed by a further '10 Questions With...' Panel featuring expedition members Guy Buckingham, Paul Figg, Malcolm Bass, and Hamish Frost. Just in case you hadn't got the gist of these things already, there'll be a whole load more prizes!
The lovely people from Alpkit will be bringing their factory along to make a few custom bits and bobs throughout the weekend, but they'll also be doing a few ad-hoc repairs (if you ask nicely).
Above: the usual suspects and/or members of the Alpkit team
Need something mending? If so, bring it along to get it mended on with the Patagonia Worn Wear Team. It doesn't have to be a Patagonia product either
Festival aside, don't forget that Kendal is the gateway to the Lake District and you're only a short drive away from the Southern Fells. As such, head up Lough Rigg if you're after a short one or the Fairfield Horseshoe if you're after something a wee bit longer. Depending on how dry it's looking the Kentmere Boulders + Badger Rock are always a good shout, as are the Langdale Boulders. One lucky year UKC members of staff even made it to Chapel Head Scar