KMF

2020 – A Good Year for the Roses…

2019 was a year of death, cancellations and accidents, so I hoped for a more relaxing and rewarding 2020.  It certainly started with a bang as during the 2019 Kendal Mountain Festival, I was asked to don my best Edwardian Mountaineering Tweeds and marry two friends in the Lake District.  Surely enough on January 18th, I stood before Tom and Emily in Sticklebarn and pronounced them Husband and Wife.  I felt extremely honoured to be asked and we all enjoyed a wonderful weekend under sunny skies in Langdale.  2020 was off with a bang..!

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2019 – Exemplo Ducemus

What a year 2019 was, or wasn’t.  The first time I missed a Scottish winter for 20 years, a trip to Africa cancelled at the last minute, a climb in India scrapped because of lack of interest and a cycling trip to SE Asia cancelled because of injury.  For some just that would be disastrous enough, but all those setbacks paled into insignificance on March 20th as, out of the blue, I lost my Dad.  The literary world is strewn with poetry, prose and paragraph about death, but no words can describe the feelings of loss I had and still have.  I’m happy that he left us peacefully, with his loving family around him.  He felt no pain or suffering and I thank God for that. Only the night before, he’d been on top form, laughing and joking with me at a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Presentation.  It was a striking lesson in living every day of your life to the fullest of your abilities.

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The Kendal Mountain Festival 2019 – Friends will be Friends

The run up to Kendal is always busy, so this year I decided to spend as much time as possible in Hospital to shield me from the chaos.  Actually, I’d been knocked off my bike by a car and was nursing some rather stiff joints.  Serious care, rest and drinking would be required over the festival weekend if I was to make it through…

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You Lift Me Up…

Imagine a scene.  A woman walks into a bar and orders a drink.  A father and son are sat at a table and upon seeing the woman remark ‘ I wonder what she’s wearing underneath her skirt..?’  They quietly discuss who is going to find out.  As the woman is receiving her drink, she feels her skirt being lifted and hears words of disappointment from the men as they realise they have been discovered.  What’s going through your mind at this moment..?  I would hope shock, horror and disgust.  In my experience this would be seen as highly offensive, possible assault and deserving of immediate action.

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Love of the Common People…

Social networking is both a useful tool and an invasive curse.  It has allowed us to advertise what we do and where we are, but also invite the world into our homes and create a world of voyeurism and mental stress.  Last year I noticed an invitation on the web to a reunion party from my comprehensive school.  It was over 30 years since the class of 1985 had walked away from Belper High School and made their way in the world.  I didn’t think long before pressing accept.  I thought it would be good to catch up with old friends and talk over old times.  It was to be held in January, in a local pub, so I could wander down on foot, enjoy a few drinks and wander back home.  It seemed perfect…

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The Kendal Mountain Festival 2017 – Films, Floods and Flying Around…

When the call for the Kendal Mountain Festival came, I was up my backside in builders.  Dust had found its way into every crevice and my lungs were a no go area.  My office was piled high with boxes, but somewhere in the morass, I found my computer and typed that dangerous word – Yes.  Of course I was coming…Read More »The Kendal Mountain Festival 2017 – Films, Floods and Flying Around…

The Kendal Mountain Festival 2016 – BBC, Mt. Blanc, Burton and The Bond…

kmf-signpost

What began as a beautiful autumn day, turned into an aquaplaning nightmare as I passed Manchester.  The Peak District was resplendent in its glowing reds and golds, but the motorway was a silver-grey morass of dotted with beaming brake lights and dousing flood water.  By the time I reached Kendal, darkness had fallen and drizzle filled the air.  What did I expect..?  It’s November after all.

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#Kendal15

KMF2015

The warm and wet autumn brought the risk of severe flooding in Kendal. Not good for the festival I thought, although it would bring the adventurous aspect of the weekend close to home..!

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Leo Houlding, Mountain Heritage and Facial Hair…

MHT-Crowd

The first time I heard Leo Houlding speak was on a dark, rainy night at the Buxton Opera House.  He had quite literary just returned from free climbing The Prophet in Yosemite and the excitement showed.  He danced on the stage like a marionette, (reminding me of my childhood TV favourite Thunderbirds) which made for a strangely unnerving evening.  Though we should bring emotion into our speaking, there is a time, a place and then a need for some control.Read More »Leo Houlding, Mountain Heritage and Facial Hair…

The Kendal Mountain Festival 2013 – Life’s great balancing act…

KMF-Awards

The run up to the 2013 Kendal Mountain Festival was filled with the usual barrage of emails, packed with ever-changing pdf’s and spreadsheets.  This I could cope with.  It was the last-minute call on the Thursday from Andy Perkins, regarding the Kendal for Kids session on the following morning that took me by surprise.  Things had changed and I was suddenly asked to perform live before 150 Primary School children, after the last film was done. Thankfully as a presenter I always carry my kit with me and my mind is filled with plenty of ideas to fit any session.  I love enthusing an audience about mountaineering and adventure..!

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The Kendal Mountain Festival – backflips, books, slacklines and grand prizes…

Well it was that time of year again.  Time to head to Kendal for the Mountain Festival and volunteer as a presenter.  Volunteer you say???  Well, I may be a professional speaker, but there are times when the outdoor community comes together and works together.  We all give our time for free for the good of the community, and work harder than any professionally paid staff.  Working in engineering, I hear a great deal that ‘Money is the greatest motivator’.  If only these people knew how wrong they were.  Passion drives people, love drives people, people drive people.  And it’s the people I meet at the festival who drive me…

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