Our website uses cookies throughout our system and to help us provide a better service. Continue to use the site as normal if you're happy with this, or click here to change your settings

Death Zone mountaineer to headline Fort William Mountain Festival

Monday 18th November 2019, 4:02pm

The Fort William Mountain Festival 2020 programme has been announced with a superb line-up of uplifting talks, exhilarating film screenings, mountain skills workshops and exhibitions over five days in February.

The Fort William Mountain Festival 2020 programme has been announced, with news that 36-year-old Nepalese mountaineer and former Gurkha in the British Special Forces, Nirmal Purja MBE, who  summited all 14 mountains over 8,000 metres in a record obliterating six months, will headline the programme with an inspirational talk about this feat.

In its 16th year, organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival will once again present a line-up packed full of inspiration, education and entertainment, action and adventure, at venues in and around Fort William, from Wednesday 19 to Sunday 23 February 2020.

The programme includes presentations from world class adventurers, together with adrenaline-filled and thought-provoking films from both the Festival’s own international film competition entries and the Banff Centre Mountain Festival World Tour;  a number of award nights, including The Scottish Awards for Excellence in Mountain Culture and The Photographer of the Year Award; some thought provoking environmental discussions, and a collection of quality fringe events including winter mountain skills workshops, yoga classes and bike and running themed nights.

The festival is presented in association the Nevis Landscape Partnership, Heritage Lottery Fund, the Outdoor Capital of the UK, and the Highland Council.

Rod Pashley, Chairman of The Highland Mountain Culture Association, organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival, said: “Celebrating the wild landscape that surrounds us in Fort William and Lochaber is the inspiration behind the Mountain Festival. The mountains, glens, rivers and coastline influence our culture in many ways, whether it is the beauty of the landscape, our engagement with it or the opportunities we find in it.

“The Fort William Mountain Festival has something for everyone with a love for the outdoors. 

“We are especially pleased to announce that our main Saturday night speaker will be the remarkable ‘Nims’ Purja, who has successfully climbed all 14, 8000m peaks in less than seven months. An astonishing record and achievement! Normally this takes 7 years.”

The five-day Fort William Mountain Festival 2020 programme includes:

The Festival Launch Night on Wednesday 19 February in Cameron Square, Fort William High Street. There will be music, live-streaming of exciting local outdoor events and – back by popular demand –fire and juggling act FlameOZ. This is a non-ticketed event for all of the family

The International Film Night & the Photographer of the Year Awards will take place on Thursday 20 February, hosted by Paul Diffley of Hot Aches Productions. Audiences are invited to relax at a night of award-winning outdoor adventure films. The winners of the 2020 competition categories will be announced: People's Choice, Best Short Film, Best Mountain Sports Film, Best Exploration and Adventure Film and the John Muir Trust Wild Places Film Prize. The new 2019 Young Photographer of the Year Award will be presented.

The Climbers Summit, on Thursday 20 February, hosted by Mike Pescod of Abacus Mountain Guides, will focus on nutrition for climbing performance. Presenters include Sarah Kekus a nutritional therapist; Rebecca Dent, a high-performance dietician, and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, a rock climbing and bouldering competitor.

Sponsored by Nevis Range on Friday 21 February, the Bike Night will be hosted by Emma Holgate and feature speakers including Ben Cathro, who will introduce Cathrovision including outtakes and chat about the Downhill World Cup season 2019; Katrina Brown, who will introduce her film all about motherhood and biking, and Ed and Marion Shoote, who will chat about their epic Asia expedition on bikes.

Es Tressider will host Running Night on Friday 21 February. Es recently set his own Ramsay Round record. Speakers include Paul Tierney who set a new record round the Wainwrights and Anna McNuff who is running all around the UK barefoot.

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. 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 2020 winners will be announced in early February.

Polar Night on Saturday 22 February will focus on climate change and the effects of global warming in polar regions. British Antarctic Survey scientists will share their research from living and working in Antarctica.

A regular feature, the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour will be on Sunday 23 February at the Main Theatre, Nevis Centre, Fort William, with a selection of the finest mountain films to entertain, enthral and inspire.

The Photographer of the Year Award 2020 competition is open to both adult and youth. Applicants have been invited to submit one photograph with the theme Mountain Moments, celebrating and expressing the love for the great outdoors, whether that is showing the achievements of people or taking us on a journey to a place that inspires. The judge is local photography legend and all-round mountain hero Alex Gillespie. The winning photographs will be displayed in the Exhibition Zone.

Festival organisers have also put together a wide range of workshops with plenty of opportunities for both novices and experts alike to get out and about amidst the beautiful Lochaber winter landscape.


To find out more about the Fort William Mountain Festival 2020 and to buy tickets, go to https://mountainfestival.co.uk.  For up to the minute news and event updates, go to https://www.facebook.com/fort.william.mountain.festival.