Ambleside will be in festival mood this autumn celebrating the landscape in and around the Lake District’s favourite town. The second Festival of the Fells will see a host of big names in the outdoor world gathering for talks, lectures, films and music, with a biggest host of organised outdoor activities.
The Festival will be held over four days from September 21st-24th, with a farmers’ market and food stalls in the town centre. Top holiday cottage company Heart of the Lakes has joined forces with Ambleside Together as headline sponsor for the event, and leading mountaineer Alan Hinkes is patron once again and will be delivering a keynote lecture.
Launched by the volunteer organisation Ambleside Together which coined the popular Love Ambleside logo, the first Festival was hailed a big success by locals, visitors and participating companies. An independent report states that the event brought in an extra £250,000 to the local economy.
Speakers booked so far include the internationally acclaimed photographer Ashley Cooper who will present an evening at the festival to talk about his ground-breaking book Images from a Warming Planet. It’s a collection of more than 500 dramatic images of the impact of climate change across the world – including flooding in Cumbria - which has been hailed as a call to political action by environmentalists.
Also lined up is writer Mark Richards, well-known for his various walking guides, largely published by Cicerone. He now has a further new publisher based in Yorkshire with whom he is about to launch four Cumbrian walking guides.
On the action front, entries are open now for a festival race that will take runners up above Ambleside. The Wansfell 10k trail race will be one of the highlights of this year’s Festival .It was devised last year by experienced race organisers Mountain Run for the inaugural festival, and the runners who came along were impressed with the route. Mountain Run is the team that puts on races such as the Lakes Sky Ultra. Last year’s race was started by fellrunning legend Joss Naylor, pictured here with some stars of the future from Ambleside AC.
In the water Ambleside is taking the plunge with a series of wild swimming adventures at the Festival. Open water specialists Swim the Lakes will take swimmers out in the lakes and rivers, including a night swim in Windermere which was featured on BBC television. Sessions can be booked now on the Swim the Lakes website, and include wild swimming taster sessions, and a swim down the River Brathay described as “down the river without a paddle”. Swim the Lakes director Pete Kelly said the moonlit swim, which was featured in Secret Britain on TV, when presenter Ellie Harrison swam in the dark, was likely to be the most popular.
Full details can be found at www.festivalofthefells.uk