Kendal Mountain Festival 2017 Roundup

November 20, 2017

Header image: Natalie White

Over the weekend (17-19 November), Kendal Mountain Festival drew over 15,000 outdoor enthusiasts to the Lake district for the international outdoor film and culture festival. As well as the coveted film awards there was the inaugural literary festival, the Kendal Mountain Photography competition and a wealth of inspirational talks from adventurers and pioneers. Aside from the competitions and awards, the festival is a place for climbers, mountaineers, cyclists, hikers, runners, to come together and share their love of being outdoors. The vibe over the weekend was chilled (despite feeling hectic at times) and everyone we met was lovely!

Kendal Mountain Film Awards

The international film competition is at the heart of Kendal’s rich and varied programme, attracting premieres from around the world. There is so much prestige associated with the awards that Kendal has been dubbed the ‘Oscars of the outdoor filmmaking world. Over 300 films were submitted, of which 93 made it through pre-selection and were screened across various venues over the course of the weekend. This year, no less than 32 premieres were screened at Kendal over the weekend: Bonnington, Ario Dream,

This year, the expert panel of judges had their work cut out to select a winner for each category. But there had to be some winners:

Best Visual

The Last Honey Hunter, Ben Knight

Best Adventure & Exploration Film 

Into Twin Galaxies, Jochen Schmoll

Best Adventure Sport 

Weightless, Jean-Baptiste Chandelier

Best Mountaineering Film 

Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Becky, Dave O’Leske

Best Culture 

Becoming Who I Was, Chang-yong Moon, Jin Jeon

Best Short Film 

Imagination, Dave Mossop

Grand Prize 

Blood Road, Nicholas Schrunk

Other awards from the night included:

Best Climbing Film – Stumped, Cedar Wright

Judges Special Prize – The Hanging, Geoffrey Feinberg

Best Environment Film – The Curve of Time, Jordan Manley

Best Sound – Song for the Nomad, Ben Sturgulewski

Clive Allen, Festival Director, said: “It’s been a huge year for film at Kendal, with a record entry of over 300 films. From this 93 films were selected to be in competition, and our judges had the almost impossible task of choosing 11 winners; as you can guess, the quality of films was higher than ever. It was immensely exciting to be at the awards ceremony, where Blood Road was deservedly awarded Grand Prize.

The standard of filmmaking and creativity at Kendal was truly inspiring, and not just the large budget films above. Smaller budget, ‘real’ adventure films were shown over the weekend which goes to show that with the right idea and a bit of creativity and perseverance, a good film can be made.

Kendal Mountain Photography Competition

The photography competition is a highlight of the festival each year, continuing to raise the bar in finding new talent. This year, the judging panel was led by esteemed photographer Jim Herrington, who is in the UK for the launch of his new book, ‘The Climbers’.

We attended an intimate awards ceremony held by Danner where we enjoyed the winning entries over a few beers and some tapas:

Youth – Birds Eye view – Charlotte Howie    

Smartphone – Running High –  Natalie White 

Urban – Southampton Docks – Joe McCarthy 

Landscape – Big Night Out – James Appleton 

Adventure – The Pitch – Mark Burkey 

Top picks

Getting to see so much amazing art in such a short space of time is quite overwhelming. And with so much going on it was easy to lose track of time and forget what you were meant to be seeing. Fortunately, we managed to see a lot of good stuff- some of the winning films and premieres, as well as some smaller productions. The short film sessions were great to see different disciplines celebrated for their common similarities- discovery, adventure etc. And despite the fact that Kendal Mountain Festival is very much an international affair, with filmmakers and athletes from all over the world in attendance, it was good to see so much British talent.


A bikepacking film by our friends at

Psycho Vertical 

The award-winning climbing film by unconventional British climber, Andy Kirkpatrick.

The Edges of These Isles

A collaboration project between a British photographer and artist


Amongst the international premieres and talks from esteemed mountaineers, there was a general sense of community in Kendal over the weekend. Everyone was there for the same reason and with roughly the same intentions. The Basecamp tent was a hive of activity with all the big name brands on show. Our favourite stalls included the Patagonia ‘Worn Wear’ stall where a team were offering free repairs to any gear, not just Patagonia. The Adidas Terrex stall had a VR machine which allowed you to climb a single pitch in virtual reality (very weird/cool).

Patagonia Worn Wear stand

We met loads of interesting and inspiring people over the weekend and even got out for a short walk in the hills. We can’t wait to head back next year!

Thanks to Canoe for the invite and for looking after us so well!



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