Keswick Mountain Festival speaker programme offers menu of adventure, mountaineering, photography and ultra-running

Debbie Martin-Consani – copyright Steve Ashworth

Organisers of the Keswick Mountain Festival (KMF) have announced details of this year’s speaker programme in the Theatre by the Lake. The line-up for Friday 20 and Saturday 21 May will cover climbing, photography, ultra-running and adventure. Among the speakers will be leading British mountaineer Adele Pennington, members of The Adventure Syndicate, photographers Nadir Khan and Tom McNally, and a panel discussion featuring ultra-running stars John Kelly, Debbie Martin-Consani and James Gibson.

Founded in 2007, Keswick Mountain Festival is now one of the UK’s best-loved outdoor festivals. Each event attracts thousands of visitors to the iconic fells and lakes of Cumbria with its unique mix of live entertainment, sports races, outdoor adventures, high profile speakers, taster activities, exhibitor stands, KMF Accessibility Zone, and camping for all of the family. Located next to the Festival Village on Crow Park, the speaker programme in the Theatre by the Lake is always one of the most popular attractions at the event, delivering a variety of content designed to appeal to a wide range of visitors.

Kicking off the 2022 KMF speaker schedule at 5:15pm on Friday 20 May will be Lee Craigie and Phillipa Battye from The Adventure Syndicate, a group of female adventurers and storytellers who promote mental and physical wellbeing through the outdoors. In ‘#WhatWouldMaryDo?’, Lee and Phillipa will share the story of how the syndicate recreated a 500-mile cycle and youth hostelling adventure around Scotland that was undertaken by 17-year-old Mary Harvie in 1936.

Next on stage at 7:30pm will be Nadir Khan and Tom McNally, who will present ‘Extreme Lakeland’, a photographic celebration of all that makes the Lake District a magnet for those with a heart for adventure. Nadir and Tom’s images showcase incredible outdoor activities through the seasons, including rock climbing, mountain biking, fell running, wild swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, base jumping and ski touring. The big screen in the Theatre by the Lake promises to be the ideal canvas on which to showcase Extreme Lakeland.

First on stage at 5:15pm on Saturday 21 May will be 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. After a serious accident the following year, Adele struggled hard to recover, but succeeded and went on to climb six of the 14 peaks over 8,000m, including Everest on two occasions.

‘Extreme Ultra Running and FKTs’ will round off the KMF speaker programme in the Theatre by the Lake at 7:30pm on Saturday 21 May. Hosted by Matt Le Voi, CEO of Lakeland Mountain Guides, the session will bring together three of the brightest stars in the world of ultra-running – John Kelly, Debbie Martin-Consani and James Gibson. John has pursued numerous long distance running adventures, including the Wainwrights in the Lake District, a battle for the record on the Pennine Way, and his Grand Round project. Debbie has represented Scotland and Great Britain in 100k and 24 hour races and competed in some of the world’s iconic races, including Tor des Geants, Spartathlon and UTMB. At the start of the year, she won the women’s 2022 Montane Spine Race. In December 2021, local runner James Gibson achieved a continuous round of the 214 Wainwright fells, believed to be the first ever winter completion. The three ultra-runners will discuss their various running feats and offer insights into their motivations, training and much more.

KMF director Nicola Meadley comments: “The speaker programme is always a highlight of Keswick Mountain Festival and we’re thrilled with the line-up we’re able to present in the Theatre by the Lake this year. There’s something for anyone who has a passion for the outdoors – they’re going to be treated to some wonderful stories and truly stunning images.”

Tickets for the KMF speaker line-up are available at and cost £10 or £15 each, depending on the session. To find out more about this year’s festival, visit the website, or Facebook, email [email protected], or follow @keswickfestival on Twitter and Instagram.


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