Mountain Film Festivals
Photo: Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival
Scotland’s winter attractions are much heralded, with intrepid outdoors enthusiasts flocking to the hills to take advantage of the skiing, walking and mountains. As a result of this popularity, mountain film festivals have been popping up all over the country this winter. Be inspired to adventure further by checking out these amazing events which feature guest speakers, short films and sociable get-togethers.
The Braemar Mountain Festival takes place at Mar Lodge on the weekend of the 10-11th Feb. Located in the heart of the Cairngorms in an amazing property owned by The National Trust this is the perfect setting for relaxing with a weekend of international climbing films. The Friday night highlight this year is Maybe, a Scottish ski film that features stunning descents of the steepest and most dramatic gullies in the Ben Nevis range. Inver Lodge is a traditional coaching Inn close to Balmoral castle and the perfect base for winter activities in the Cairngorms. Ideal for large parties or clubs you could have the freedom of the hills all day before heading to the film festival in the evening and then rounding things off nicely in the old lounge bar of the Inver next to a roaring fire.
The EMFF in Edinburgh is one of the longest standing and well regarded festivals in the country. Its size and reputation means that every year it attracts leading international climbing celebrities to give talks and it frequently has premieres of some of the biggest outdoor films on the circuit. There is also a strong social element to the festival with attendees gathering in many of the areas late opening pubs before and after the shows. Denfind House is located in North Berwick just half an hour away, its luxury a striking contrast to the tales of struggle and endeavour you can see on the big screen.
Fort William is the obvious choice for organisers wishing to attract an audience of outdoors enthusiasts. The town here has no shortage of options for the adventurous, whether that’s walking up the UK’s highest mountain, sea kayaking, rock climbing or biking. The Mountain Festival itself which takes place on the 15th-19th of February kicks off with a torchlit descent of Aonach Mor by ski and mountain bike and goes on to feature talks by legends such as Sir Chris Bonington. The School House in nearby Glenfinnan is ideal for those that want to explore the area. Convenient for the festival and all the comforts of Fort William as well as being perfectly placed to access the brilliant sea kayaking to be had in Arisaig, the mountains of Glencoe, the bike trails near Aonach Mor, two nearby ski centres and the West Highland Way. If the film festival doesn’t inspire you to get outside then the views certainly will.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada is the largest and most prestigious in the world. The good news is that you no longer have to travel there to catch the highlights. Next year the very best films from the festival will be touring the country for a short series of special screenings. Pitlochry is one of the few venues in Scotland lucky enough to be chosen and on February 11th the Festival Theatre will be hosting the best selection of Banff’s mountain films for one night only. It’s a big coup for this small town but it should come as no surprise as the outdoors scene here is particularly vibrant. The town boast easy access to a big range of hillwalking options, being just on the southern edge of the Cairngorms as well as outdoor shops and activity providers. Mill Cottage is just a short journey down the A9 from here and is convenient for exploring Perthshire as well as the Trossachs and the Cairngorms National Park. A wood burning stove makes for the perfect welcome home after a long day on the hills and an evening of inspirational films from around the world the perfect reward after a week of being outside.
Wherever in Scotland you decide to go and play this winter give LHH a call to book the accommodation to suit you and your party, so you can get the most out of your holiday.