Media release: The Fort William Mountain Festival 2018 – celebrate the great outdoors

Western Rib

CELEBRATE everything that the great outdoors has to offer at The Fort William Mountain Festival 2018, in association the Nevis Landscape Partnership, Heritage Lottery Fund, the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, and the Highland Council, being staged in and around the bustling Highland town of Fort William, at the heart of the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, from Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25 February 2018.

From armchair adventurers and weekend warriors, to the UK’s mountain communities, The Fort William Mountain Festival is an energising experience for everyone.

A spokesperson for the festival said: “Visiting Lochaber in February for the Mountain Festival is the perfect time of year to experience the stunning landscape of the region first hand, with the best winter walking, climbing and snowsports conditions of the year.

“The Fort William Mountain Festival offers the added bonus of another superb line-up of uplifting talks from top climbers and mountaineers, mountain bikers, and mountain filmmakers, together with exhilarating film screenings from cutting-edge outdoor athletes and adventurers; mountain skills workshops and exhibitions.”

The five-day programme, packed full of inspiration, education and entertainment, action and adventure, includes:

Festival launch night – Wednesday 21/02/18 –A torchlit descent of Aonach Mor on ski, board and mountain bike will kick things off. Then settle in at the Pinemarten Cafe Bar at the Nevis Range, with tasty food and local beer, for an entertaining evening with Spike and Sudsy’s Tall Tales of Nevisport, Nevis Range and Mountain Rescue, delivered with an abundance of overstatement and exaggeration.

The Film competition night – Thursday 22/2/18 – invites you to relax and watch the winning outdoor adventure films, presented by Paul Diffley.

The Climbers Summit is a brand new ‘all things climbing’ night of chat and films with Robbie Phillips and Dave MacLeod: Thursday – 22/2/18.

Running without fear – Friday 23/2/18 – life without limits with multi award winning adventurer and broadcaster, Lowri Morgan.

The Big Picture Night – Friday 23/2/18 – ecological science and visual storytelling thinking about a wilder Scotland.

Monster Cracks and Desert Adventures – Sat 24/2/18 – ridiculous upside-down journeys with the Wide Boyz, masters of crack climbing Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker.

The Great Divide Bike Race – Saturday 24/2/18 – 2,745 off-road miles from Canada to Mexico with Lee Craigie, introduced by Emma Holgate’s Bikepacking Havanas adventures.

After party – Saturday 24/2/18 – grab a partner for the party with the Riska ceilidh band. Sponsored by Thistle Access N.D.T. Ltd and supporting the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team.

Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour – Sunday 25/2/18 – the finest mountain films to entertain, enthral and inspire, from the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour.

The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture 2018

The recipients of both The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture and The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture will receive their awards at a special ceremony during the festival.

These prestigious awards recognise and celebrate lives spent in the hills, exploring everything the land has to offer whilst inspiring others along the way. The 2018 winners will be announced in early February.

The Arts programme

‘Photographing Scotland ‘ – Thursday 22/2/18. Glasgow based and award winning adventure sports and landscape photographer Dougie Cunningham introduces his new Photo-location and Visitor Guidebook.

Art Lochaber – Pop-up Gallery and Shop – Friday 23/2/18 – Tuesday 27/2/18 returns to Nevis Range selling outdoor themed paintings, mounted pictures and cards.

‘Wainwright Revealed’ – Saturday 24/2/18. Hear from award winning filmmaker and author Richard Else who filmed the original BBC films with the Lake District guidebook writer, Alfred Wainwright. Wainwright had a 40 year love affair with Scotland travelling the Highlands & Islands entirely by public transport.

Cameron McNeish – Saturday 24/2/18 – Book presentation and book signing from one of Scotland’s best known wilderness hikers, cycle tourers and authorities on outdoor pursuits. In this field, he is best known as an author and broadcaster, although he is also a magazine editor, lecturer and after dinner speaker and an adviser to various outdoor organisations.

Workshop programme

Festival organisers have put together a wide range of workshops with plenty of opportunities for both novices and experts to hone their mountain skills.

The Crack Climbing Masterclasses with the Wide Boyz – a crack climbing masterclasses with Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, the crack climbing kings! One hour crack coaching and a free roll of tape (taping is part of the masterclass) at Three Wise Monkeys Climbing, Fort William

Winter Walking Skills, Avalanche Awareness, Ben Nevis Guided Walk Performance Winter Climbing.

Regular Mountain Festival supporter and local guiding company, Abacus Mountain Guides, will be teaming up with the Mountain Festival once again with a selection of workshops including Winter Walking Skills, Avalanche Awareness, a Ben Nevis Guided Walk and Performance Winter Climbing. This is the perfect opportunity for everyone of all abilities to learn new skills this winter.

Dave MacLeod will once again be running his climbing masterclasses during the Fort William Mountain Festival. The full-day classes will be run at his own climbing wall in Roy Bridge, covering climbing technique, planning and implementing your training, injury prevention and sound nutrition to maximise your performance

Join the Ride out and Coaching with West Coast Biking taking in some of the best single track available, not forgetting great tea and cake. Well-qualified guides and coaches will be on hand to chat and show you around the trails, refreshing some fundamental techniques and progress to new mountain biking skills.

For the second year running Penny, from Mountain Yoga Kinlochleven, will take inspiration from the surrounding mountains and bring her Mountain Yoga Practises to the Festival. Workshops for climbers, runners and hill walkers are a special interest, exploring how yoga can help our bodies and minds run and climb further and higher.

Learn to work on Fix Your Bike Yourself with tuition from some of the best mechanics in the business from Nevis Cycles. Covering basics to suspension and hydraulics.

Joining us this year for the first time will be local company, Atlas Mountaineering, teaming up with snow sports instructor, Duncan Goldthorp, to offer a range of Winter Mountain Skills including winter navigation and avalanche transceiver use.

The exhibition zone

Explore the Exhibition Zone, open daily before the main programme events and during intervals. Exhibitors include: Abacus Mountain Guides, East Lochaber and Laggan Community Trust, Ellis Brigham, The Highland Bookshop, Jamie Hageman, John Muir Trust, Lochaber Environmental Group, Lochaber & Lorn Ramblers, Nevis Cycles, Nevis Landscape Partnership, Rare Breed Productions, the West Highland College School of Adventure Studies, Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection, 3 Wise Monkeys, Urban Uprising and West Coast Biking.

A spokesperson for the festival added: “The Fort William Mountain Festival celebrates our wild landscape and the opportunities it presents. The mountains and glens that surround us influence our culture in many ways. We want to promote the value of the landscape of Lochaber as the best destination in the UK to live, work and play.

“The Mountain Festival includes a superb line up of top climbers and explorers, mountain films, inspirational speakers and skills workshops. It’s not just for adventure addicts though, anyone who appreciates the landscape of the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’ will find something for them in the Mountain Festival.

“Celebrating the landscape that surrounds us in Fort William is the inspiration behind the Mountain Festival. Whether it is the beauty of the landscape, our engagement with it or the opportunities we find in it, celebrating our natural capital is the vision of the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’.”

To find out more about the Fort William Mountain Festival 2018 go to:

Festival website – –

Image attached – please credit Mike Pecod – Abacus Mountain Guides


Media contact:

For further information, interviews and images please contact:

Heather Negus, Fort William Mountain Festival | e: | m: 07900 224068

If you are keen to attend the Fort William Mountain Festival for a commissioned travel feature or adventure / activity feature please contact Heather Negus to discuss.

Notes to editors:

The Fort William Mountain Festival 2018 is presented in association with The Heritage Lottery Fund, Nevis Landscape Partnership, The Outdoor Capital, and the Highland Council and runs in and around Fort William in Lochaber, the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, from Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25 February 2018.

The Fort William Mountain Festival 2018 is sponsored by: 3 Wise Monkeys, Abacus Mountain Guides, Strathmore Hotels (Alexandra Hotel), Bill Scott Architect, Corpach Boatbuilding Company Limited, Ellis Brigham, The Granite House, John Muir Trust, Lamont Design, Liberty British Aluminium, Nevis Cycles, Nevis Range, PrintSmith, Rare Breed Productions and Thistle Access N.D.T Ltd.

Festival organisers – The Highland Mountain Culture Association Limited – is a not-for-profit organisation, whose aim is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the world’s mountain places and people, by creating opportunities for people of all ages to share their mountain experiences, ideas and visions. To showcase these ideals, it stages annually a programme of events within the Lochaber area, called The Fort William Mountain Festival.

The ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’ is Lochaber Chamber of Commerce’s tourism brand, promoting adventure for all! The Chamber publicises, sponsors and promotes Fort William and Lochaber as the best place in the UK for everyone to experience the outdoors; with a view to developing local jobs and wealth and encouraging sustainable economic growth.

This is done through a range of collaborative marketing initiatives and activities. The organisation currently has a wide range of member businesses ranging from accommodation, food and drink and activity providers to non-tourism focused businesses who support the aims of the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and acknowledge that tourism is crucial to the local economy.

Many of these businesses are SMEs and by pulling resources and working as a team the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce achieves the positive results that individually the members couldn’t otherwise reach.

The Chamber produces official event programmes and guides which showcase all there is to see and do in Fort William and Lochaber. The ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’ website is also the go to site for local events, outdoor activities and visitor accommodation in the area.

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