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Inaugural Braemar Mountain Festival details

Wednesday 4th January 2017, 3:13pm

The first Braemar Mountain Festival will take place from 3rd to 5th March 2017.

It’s a celebration of the mountains in winter, based in the village of Braemar at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

There is a varied programme of workshops including ski touring and telemarking, winter skills and avalanche awareness, and low level walking. There will also be photography and art exhibitions and workshops, and in the evening, talks, films, music, food, and of course a ceilidh.

One of the festival organisers is Sue Harper, local mountain guide and one of the first British women to summit Everest. Sue and the other festival volunteers are local Braemar people with a passion for the mountains.

Sue said: “We are all skiers, climbers, walkers, photographers, lovers of the outdoors, who revel in living in this beautiful environment. It’s a huge playground in the hills, and we want to share it.”

The Festival’s headline speaker is Victor Saunders, who presents an evening of mountaineering and adventure on Saturday 4th March. Victor is a world-renowned mountaineer with a very impressive list of first ascents including, most recently, Sersank, which he climbed with Mick Fowler in October. He has summited Everest six times, climbed the North Face of the Eiger in winter and is a recipient of the Boardman Tasker prize for mountain literature.

Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Adviser at Mountaineering Scotland, will give a workshop on winter skills, essential for everyone going into the hills in winter.

Poet and writer Alec Finlay is also one of the distinguished speakers and workshop leaders taking part in the Festival. He is giving a presentation on Gaelic place-names in the Cairngorms.

Alec said: "I think, in Scotland, people go into the mountains to think through issues, gain insights into Gaelic culture, and share what I call place-awareness – as well as climbing, skiing, and hiking. The Festival is a place and time for these ideas to be shaken up together, like a kaleidoscope. And where could be more appropriate than Braemar, where Nan Shepherd had her howff?”

Another special event for the Festival is a talk by Samantha Walton on Nan Shepherd, followed by a walk to the bothy which was often Nan’s base.

Bothies are also in the spotlight with the launch at the festival of Geoff Allan’s book ‘The Bothy Bible’. An authoritative, well researched reference book, the Scottish Bothy Bible is the first ever comprehensive guide to Scotland's bothies to be commercially published, and is packed with information including historical details, and walk-in descriptions as well as suggestions for day trips, cycle rides and places of interest en route. Geoff is also maintenance officer for Dibidil, one of the Mountain Bothies Association's two bothies on the Isle of Rum. Ten per cent of the proceeds from the book go to the MBA for the continued upkeep of the bothies in its care.

For more information about the festival and for ticket sales, go to: www.braemarmountainfestival.com