Organisers hail ‘inspiring’ Mountain Festival

MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL 23/2/19 Youth Award winner Rob Cochrane receives his trophy from Tom Gilchrist. Picture Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

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Fort William Mountain Festival once again proved a hit with the Lochaber public as packed audiences and huge crowds enjoyed an array of films, events and workshops last week.

As the festival drew to a close on Sunday night, organisers hailed the success of this year’s five-day extravaganza, with almost every event ‘bursting to the seams’.

Rod Pashley, chairman of The Highland Mountain Culture Association, which runs the Fort William Mountain Festival, was pleased to see so many sell-out events at what he described as an ‘inspirational and extremely successful’ festival.

He said: ‘Five nights of world-class films, enthralling presentations, lively debates, stunning imagery, jaw dropping journeys, truly inspirational speakers, and an awesome “after-party”.

‘Several evenings sold out well in advance of the festival taking place, the theatres were bursting at the seams throughout the event; the whole place was buzzing. This year we introduced exciting and inspirational new events.’

The opening night of the festival saw a big crowd gather in the centre of Fort William to watch the procession of torchlight runners descent the hills opposite the town and then cross Loch Linnhe, finishing in the High Street with a sensational fire show in Cameron Square.

The first Sunday Matinee was another highlight for the organising team as a large group of all ages gathered at the Nevis Centre for some ‘fantastically inspiring family adventure films’. There was also the opportunity to remember a special member of the Lochaber outdoor community, Vicky Dodman, and raise funds for The Crocus Group.

Saturday evening saw Noel Williams and Rob Cochrane presented with their prestigious awards for excellence in mountain culture in front of a bumper crowd. Fourteen-year-old Ruaraidh Johnson was also presented with the youth photography award.

Mr Pashley continued: ‘A huge thank you to all our fabulous guest speakers, our generous and supportive sponsors, the hard-working crew and volunteers and our ever-enthusiastic audience.

‘The feedback has been terrific and next year’s dates are already in the diary. As you’d expect, there’s already some innovative and inspirational new plans under discussion, so keep the February 19-23, 2020 free!’