We spent the weekend in Kendal, enjoying an assortment of lectures and films at Kendal Mountain Festival:
Colin Prior - was informative, but he lives for photography and has huge amounts of equipment, so we 'snapshotters' can hardly hope to emulate him. He also spent some time discussing his specialism - panoramic shots taken with a special camera. I doubt anyone in the audience had one of those cameras, we simply feasted our eyes on Colin's brilliant pictures. For an overnight shot, he carries 56 pounds of equipment!
Kenton Cool's audio visual presentation on his exploits on the north face of the Eiger (successful) and on Everest (unsuccessful) with the enigma that is Ran Fiennes was superb - hilarious at times. Here's his blog on his Kendal experience.
David Breashears introduced his new film 'Storm over Everest', an attempt to tell a fuller story of what happened in the fateful storm in 1996. It was made in the documentary style of 'Touching the Void', concentrating on interviews with just half a dozen or so of the survivors. There was no mention of any Brits or of the (controversial) South Africans on the mountain. So it didn't present the full picture, but we found it compulsive viewing.
Contrasting greatly with the mountaineering exploits of Cool, Fiennes and Breashears, was Cameron McNeish and Richard Else's excellent double act, describing a trip through Sutherland from Lochinver to Tongue. Here's Cameron's take on the experience.
There were many more lectures, mostly audio visual. It was a shame we couldn't see more. One that I am sorry to have missed is Andy Kirkpatrick's 'Brokeback Mountaineer' (the link is to his blog), in which he looks back at ten years' worth of climbing partners and wonders why no one will climb with him any more. We did get to see a film about him - 'Hard XS: Suffering Andy' which opens with the line 'Andy Kirkpatrick should be dead'. He is clearly one of the characters of British mountaineering - if he's speaking near you - go see him...
We also watched a small sample of the 80 or so films on view, being quite selective about what we saw. A highlight for us was a film made by an Indian motorcyclist, Gaurav Jani, 'Riding Solo To The Top Of The World'. This was some undertaking, and the lone filmmaker's friendliness and determination is repaid in kind by the indigenous people he meets and befriends en route. Brilliant.
The awards ceremony was, as usual, introduced by Sir Chris(Berghaus are the main sponsor - their 'Experience the Adventure' video was shown before each event at the Festival), who opened with a tribute to the former organisers of the Festival, John Porter and Brian Hall. They disappeared from the scene fairly recently under (to an observer) odd circumstances, and were not present this year. I'm sure it's all explained in a 'Forum' somewhere, but I'm not really a 'Forum' person, so my memories of John and Brian's efforts are of some superbly organised Film Festivals, and Chris Bonington's fitting tribute to them.
The Grand Prize was won by a climbing film 'On Sight' which we did not get to see, and the 'People's Choice' was a film called 'Beyond The Summits' featuring Catherine Destivelle, which we did see. The photography was admirable, but the film had serious defects (explained by one of the judges here). I can only surmise that it appealed to the climbers who predominantly attend the festival, and that Catherine, who was present, did some effective campaigning.
Our hosts for the weekend was the excellent Meadowcroft B&B in Ings, right next to the excellent Watermill Inn where on Friday we enjoyed their fine food and the Collie Wobbles Beer from their micro brewery.
Sunday morning dawned white, so just a few monochrome images were gained: