Keswick Mountain Festival Adventures – Saturday

We walked on to the show ground at around 9.30 in the morning on Saturday. It was a quiet affair at that stage. There were stands being set up and a few triathletes milling around getting ready for their race at 10.

It was cold. You never would have guessed that it was May. I had come woefully under prepared and above all I hate that feeling. Not knowing what to expect, I thought that I had packed everything that I may need but a constant feeling that I am taking too much is always in the back of the mind. Walking out of the door on Saturday made me realise that next time I do not care how many comments that I get – I am bringing ALL the clothes. There’s nothing more miserable than being cold. Fortunately it wasn’t wet. The forecast had been for wet weather but, stupidly, I had neglected to look at temperatures. So I had my wet weather gear but nothing warm. What an error.
We soon went to find warmer clothes ( you'd never think it was May!)

We soon went to find warmer clothes ( you’d never think it was May!)

Trail were hosting a talk about their new Mountain Challenges series that they’re doing in conjunction with the BMC, Marmot and a few other brands. The tent filled up for a slightly late start but everybody was eager to hear more about the videos and what made these particular British mountains challenging. Whoever appeared in the video stood up and introduced it and answered any questions in the end, covering Sharp Edge, Jack’s Rake and Striding Edge with an extra sneaky peak at the Crib Goch video. The last made me want to get back over to Wales and tackle it again (I climbed it a while back but having only just got a computer again it has been a neglected story).
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The second Trail talks was a collaboration with Salewa, talking about how they tackled the Cuillin Ridge on Skye. It was an epic video documenting the journey across, which spanned over two full days of climbing. The Salewa team are brilliant climbers and offered to explain to those who were interested about the kit and technicalities that they would need after the video. The video was down to earth and showing the realities of taking on a challenge as big as this. To give you a slight inkling of the scale of difficulty it was likened to Alpine climbs and this certainly came through in the video.
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I feel that it is important to put videos like this out there to help educate people on these challenges. There are far too many people who do not know what they are getting themselves in to and often going back once you’ve started is just not an option.
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A classic example of this (and a much more accessible one) is Crib Goch on Snowdon. So many people walk up there not knowing what they are going to be facing despite warning signs everywhere. Snowdon is such a commercial and accessible mountain that it is far too easy to shrug and think it will be fine. Especially so when streams of other people climbing up the face of it can be seen from the bottom. It is only when you get onto the ridge itself, where there is nowhere to escape, that people realise the dangers and that this actually is a bit beyond what they are comfortable with. By then it is too late. You are stuck in a queue of others in a similar situation shuffling along the edge and prolonging the exposure for everybody else.

After the talks finished, our afternoon was spent with a quick jaunt up Cat Bells. This was wonderful as I have rarely been to the Lakes. It was only a half hour climb but with the sun out and a fresh wind it felt good to be out. The views were something else. I love Snowdonia for its sparse and rocky landscapes and it was a change to see so much green in the landscape of the Lakes. Keswick was tucked away at the corner of Derwent Water and completely surrounded with beautifully sculpted mountains. It felt good to be above it all and looking down on the festival ground and beyond. It does help to put things in perspective and I will never get those who don’t like getting outside and witnessing scenes like this.
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Some lovely person had taken the time to put together a welcome :)

Some lovely person had taken the time to put together a welcome 🙂

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It was a nice and easy walk to get back to doing some form of exercise after injuring myself again a couple of weeks ago (again another story).
The evening was spectacular, too. Cold but a wonderful evening. The sun was still out and the music stage was buzzing with activity. People were crowded down near the front of the stage dancing to the music while others spread themselves out up the bank to sit wrapped up with a drink. The stage was right on the water front with the mountains as a back drop; it provided an impressive scene.
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Seth Lakeman was headlining, which was pretty incredible. Music was not something that I had really expected but it gave the festival an amazing vibe. There were people dancing and singing along as well as others stood back just listening and appreciating the evening. It’s certainly not one I will forget for a while.

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