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- 06. February 2010.

Mountain Festival Dedicated to Mountain Culture

Fort William has announced a Mountain Festival programme, presented by The Outdoor Capital of the UK, that will put Fort William and Lochaber at the forefront of Scotland's events programme in February. The 2010 Fort William Mountain Festival programme of new events and old favourites will take place throughout the Outdoor Capital of the UK from Thursday 11 to Monday 15 February; during the best winter walking and climbing conditions of the year.  

Mike Pescod, Chairman of the Highland Mountain Culture Association, organisers of the Festival, said: 'Above all the 2010 Fort William Mountain Festival programme promotes the mountains as an attractive, accessible and above all enjoyable place to be.  It includes a superb line up of top climbers, mountain filmmakers, inspirational speakers and creative workshops. It caters for everyone of all ages from elite climbers to outdoor enthusiasts and hill walkers to budding wildlife photographers. 

'This celebration of mountain culture, showcasing the huge range of outdoor activity opportunities available to visitors to Fort William and Locahaber, is the vision of The Outdoor Capital of the UK.  The OCUK presents the Mountain Festival with essential financial backing and logistical support that has guaranteed the delivery of the Festival for the next three years.  We look forward to working with the OCUK and its members in order to build a stronger and more sustainable events programme in the future.'

Organisers have promised a five day feast of films, lectures and workshops for residents and visitors who want to learn about and celebrate mountain culture. The varied and entertaining programme includes:

-    'Party at Nevis Range' - The official opening ceilidh, 2150ft up Aonach Mor, beside Ben Nevis, for an amazing party with altitude! Thursday 11 February
-    Victory Over Reason: Adventures On The Eiger, El Cap, Patagonia And The Caledonian Canal - A funny and insightful talk about the last 12 months in the life of legendary big-wall climber Andy Kirkpatrick - including a fraught attempted winter solo of the Eiger Direct, sea kayaking in Patagonia, taking a novice climber who couldn't walk up El Cap and a trip down the Caledonian Canal! Friday 12th February
-    Climbers I've Shot And Some I'd Like To Shoot - Scotland based multi-awarding winning adventure filmmaker Paul Diffley will entertain his audience with a mixture of chat, photos and video clips. Paul will also show 'Single-Handed', the award-winning film about Kevin Shields, the 'one handed climber'. Saturday 13th February
-    Jimmy Marshall: The Architect Of Modern Scottish Climbing.  An evening to celebrate the incredible achievements of Jimmy Marshall and fellow climber Robin Smith when, in February 1960, they climbed six first winter ascents of Ben Nevis on consecutive days.  The fact that they achieved this by cutting steps up the snow and ice appears, from the remove of the 21st century, to be almost impossible. Exactly 50 years on to the day two legends of modern Scottish climbing, Dave MacLeod and Andy Turner, will repeat what has been described as the most important week of Scottish climbing ever! (6 - 13 February).  Dave and Andy will present their experiences with film clips of the ascents (filmed by Phil Diffley), comparing the 21st Century experience of climbing the same routes using state of the art equipment and techniques with Jimmy's recollections of the first ascents.  This is a must for all climbers and outdoor enthusiasts.  Sunday 14th February
-    The Best of Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour  - From jaw dropping action to fascinating mountain culture and wildlife the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour has it all. The most inspiring mountain films from around the world will once again be the festival hot ticket. Monday 15 February

The 2010 Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture will be awarded to this year's winner on Sunday 14 February. The prestigious award that celebrates outstanding contributions to Scotland's mountains, encompassing sport, theatre, art, photography, film and literature was first introduced in 2008. World-renowned climber and pioneer, Dr Hamish MacInnes, and award winning filmmaker and documentary producer Richard Else were the recipients in 2008 and 2009 respectively. 

Children and adults will have the opportunity to try out new activities and learn new skills through inspirational daily mountain skills workshops during the Festival.  Highly experienced and fully qualified guides from Abacus Mountaineering, in conjunction with Nevis Range, will lead full day courses in avalanche awareness, winter walking and winter climbing.  Kinlochleven's Ice Factor Indoor Climbing Centre will be offering taster sessions in indoor climbing and ice climbing throughout the festival.  For those keen to explore their creative ideas in a stimulating environment Nevis Pix will run a one day wildlife photography workshop and Wild West Safaris will offer a Red Deer Safari during the Festival.  This will be a great opportunity to not only get up close and personal with the herds of red deer at Loch Quoich but also the possibility of photographing Golden Eagles and Goldeneye Ducks.  If the kids are tempted by the opportunity of cooking their own soup and making their own sandwiches followed by a wet muddy walk then the Forestry Commission Scotland's Wet Winter Welly Walk will be their Festival highlight. 

For full details of the Fort William Mountain Festival programme and to book tickets go to - http://www.mountainfestival.co.uk
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