Keswick Mountain Festival - A Day-By-Day Guide To Highlights At The Outdoor Event That Kicks Off The Summer Festival Season
One of the UK’s best loved outdoor events is preparing to kick off the 2022 summer festival season in style. Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) will once again welcome thousands of visitors to Cumbria with its unique mix of live entertainment, sports races, outdoor adventures, high profile speakers, taster activities, exhibitor stands, KMF Accessible Adventure Zone, and camping for all of the family
to enjoy. The beautiful shores of Derwentwater, on the edge of Keswick in the heart of the Lake District National Park, is the main base for this one-of-a-kind event, with the Lakeland fells providing a stunning backdrop.
KMF returns to its traditional May slot for its 15th outing and will present another packed programme, with a huge range of activities and attractions from 20-22 May. Below are just a few highlights to look out for on each day. Places for events are limited, but tickets/entries are still available to book via www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk.
The Festival Village on the National Trust’s Crow Park is at the heart of Keswick Mountain Festival and will be open 20-22 May. Over the course of the three days, the village will host a wide variety of thrilling taster activities for all of the family including wildlife walks, virtual tank driving, a Segway course, mountain trike ramble, BMX displays, slacklining, a climbing wall, orienteering, canoeing, bushcraft, stand-up paddleboarding, and the KMF Accessible Adventure Zone. In addition, the Craghopper’s Tent Talks programme will feature inspirational figures from the world of outdoor adventure. With two nights of live music lined up, Friday’s headline act will be English working-class Celtic-folk-punk band Ferocious Dog, supported by Shooglenifty, Gary Stewart’s Graceland, and Batala Samba. DJ, raconteur, author, producer, broadcaster and fun lovin’ criminal Huey Morgan will provide the finale on Saturday night, completing a line-up that includes Badness, The Complete Stone Roses, Lancashire Hotpots and Annemarie Quinn.
The Festival Village will host a long list of exhibitors and festival partners, plus a wide range of food and drink will be available on site, including real ales from Timothy Taylor’s in the Mountain Hut Bar and Lakeside Bar. The sporting events will start and finish in the Festival Village, providing a great atmosphere for competitors and spectators alike. The festival’s Accessible Adventure Zone has been expanded this year, with a dedicated area and more attractions for visitors with disabilities. The village is free for everyone to enter during the daytime, allowing anyone to soak up the atmosphere. Visitors with festival wristbands can access most of the activities in the village free of charge.
Friday 20 May
Craghoppers Tent Talks* (from 2:30pm) – taking place in the Festival Village, the Craghoppers 2021 Tent Talks Friday schedule gets underway with a talk from Dwayne Fields about the #WeTwo Foundation that he co-founded to inspire the next generation through adventure, before Jack Flekney gives an insight into his planned 2,000km journey across the heart of Africa where he plans to fundraise and share stories from communities in Zimbabwe, Zambia & Botswana. *Talks continue on Saturday and Sunday.
- The Rab Skiddaw Vertical Run (4:00pm) – an exciting new addition to the 2022 sports programme that will kick-start the 2022 festival. Up to 200 runners will be challenged with almost 1,000 metres of ascent in under nine kilometres, racing from the market square in Keswick to the summit of nearby Skiddaw. The race will have a similar format to popular European-style vertical runs.
- The Town Trials (from 4:30pm) – back by popular demand for a third year, the series of fun obstacle races in Keswick Market Square will help to mark the opening of KMF 2022. Free to enter on site on the day, the races will begin with children’s runs, followed by runs for adults, and concluding with a bike race. Runners and cyclists will have to negotiate sharp corners, zig-zags, steps, ramps and other obstacles.
- Speakers and film (from 5:15pm) – held in the Theatre by the Lake, the Friday talks and films schedule will get underway with ‘#WhatWouldMaryDo?’ Here, the Adventure Syndicate’s Lee Craigie and Phillipa Battye will share the story of how the group of female adventurers recreated a 500-mile cycle and youth hostelling adventure around Scotland that was undertaken by 17-year-old Mary Harvie in 1936. Next up at 7:30pm, Nadir Khan and Tom McNally will present ‘Extreme Lakeland’, a photographic celebration of all that makes the Lake District a magnet for those with a heart for adventure. Tickets for the two events are priced at £10 and £15 per person respectively.
Live music (from 6:40pm) – headliners Ferocious Dog will take to the stage as and fill Crow Park with their high energy Celtic-folk-punk sound, as they perform their best-known hits and more.
Saturday 21 May
ThruDark Keswick Conqueror Challenge (starting 8:45am on Saturday for 3km swim) – taking place on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd May, participants can conquer Keswick in this multi-day triathlon challenge, featuring a 3.6km swim in Derwent Water, a 25k trail run around the beautiful valleys of Borrowdale and Watendlath and ending on the Sunday with a spectacular 72km spin around several of the local mountain passes.
adidas TERREX Trail Half Marathon (11:00am) - the 25km Trail Half Marathon (and a bit!) is graded ‘Hard’ and sits almost halfway between the 10km and 50km routes in difficulty, ascent (866m) and terrain. Technical, fast flowing and rugged trails take runners around Derwentwater and the Borrowdale Valley with the Watendlath Valley thrown in for good measure.
innov-8 3 Peaks Hike (from 7:30am) – the 3 Peaks is an 18 mile hike, with 1,000 metres of ascent, around the 3 peaks which surround our picturesque Festival and Keswick – Catbells, Walla Crag and Latrigg.
Aquasphere Derwent Isle Swim 1500m (12:00pm) – a classic in the KMF sporting line-up, the 1,500m open water swim in the beautiful Derwentwater is a great option for the more experienced open water swimmer and is one lap of Derwent Isle. Ages 18+ only.
- DexShell Cocker Hoop Sportive (10.30am) – now in its second year, this challenging 72km ride over iconic mountain passes including almost 1,500m of ascent over four summits. The sportive offers something different to those who have ridden the Back o’ Skiddaw event in recent years and want a challenging ride on the Saturday of the festival. NB: this ride is also open to electric and adapted bikes.
- Sprint Triathlon Solo (8:00am) - one of the most thrilling triathlons in the country, the short route, whilst less technical than some, has some challenging ascents, descents and features on open roads which are narrow in parts. Only riderss who are confident in their use of TT bars and aero bars on the open road are advised to use them for this event. A relay event is also taking place.
Live music (from 5:00pm) – festival favourite Huey Morgan will deliver a headline DJ set on the Saturday evening that will join the dots between funk, soul, disco, classic hip hop and rock ’n’ roll. He follows Badness, Complete Stone Roses, Lancashire Hotpots and Annemarie Quinn who will entertain crowds with an eclectic mix of Ska, Indie and folk sounds.
Speakers and film (from 5:15pm) – held in the Theatre by the Lake, Saturday’s speakers and film schedule will kick off with Adele Pennington, one of the UK’s most successful mountaineers. In ‘Decisions, Dilemmas and Days Out’, Adele will recount her career of climbing some of the world’s highest peaks, including making the first British female winter ascent of Ama Dablam in 1998. At 7:30pm ‘Extreme Ultra Running and FKTs, hosted by Matt Le Voi, CEO of Lakeland Mountain Guides, will bring together three of the brightest stars in the world of ultra-running - John Kelly, Debbie Martin-Consani and James Gibson. They will discuss their various running feats and offer insights into their motivations, training and much more.
Sunday 22 May
- adidas Terrex 50k Trail Ultra Marathon (6:00am) – not for the faint-hearted, this challenging ultra takes in some of the best trails and views that the Watendlath, Borrowdale, Butteremere and Newlands valleys have to offer.
- adidas Terrex 10k Trail Race (multiple start times between 9:00am and 12:00pm) – with a start halfway along Derwentwater that is reached by a boat ride (included in the entry price), the multi-terrain course takes runners through stunning scenery to a finish on Crow Park.
- innov-8 Walla Crag Walk (9:30am) – back for a second year, this scenic five mile adventure walk takes in the peak of Walla Crag and Castlehead Viewpoint and visits Friar’s Crag and climbs up the steep Cat Gill.
- DexShell Back O’Skiddaw Cycle Sportive (9:00am) – ideal for sportive enthusiasts looking for a shorter event with occasionally furious climbs, with 650m of ascent. The 70km fully tarmac course spans steeply undulating narrow single track, gated farm roads and quieter B and A roads. NB: this ride is also open to electric and adapted bikes.
Keswick Mountain Festival offers an extensive range of ticket options for visitors, for individuals and families, and for day visitors or those who want to stay for the full weekend. To find out more about KMF and to book tickets, visit www.keswickmountainfestival.co.uk, email [email protected], find the event on Facebook, or follow @keswickfestival on Twitter and Instagram.