Swimming session captivates audience at Kendal Mountain Festival

07th December, 2017

I had never been to the Kendal Mountain Festival before and I was unsure what to expect. A lot of people dressed in outdoor gear talking about outdoor activities? Somewhere to see the latest kit and hear about other people’s adventures? Well – yes… But it was so much more than this. It was a place of discovery, dreams and delights.

Photo: James Kirby

Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts descended on Kendal, Cumbria over the four-day festival period for the annual event.  The programme included an International Film Competition, exhibitions, workshops and for the first time a dedicated literature festival. Special sessions were held in a wide range of outdoor activities and for the second year the Alpkit Outdoor Swimming Session showcased journeys through rivers, lakes and the sea. Chill Swim’s Colin Hill hosted the session which included Beth French talking about the Oceans 7 challenge, Author Jenny Landreth talking about her book Swell: A Waterbiography and Pells Pool Writer-in-residence Tanya Shadrick celebrated the life and writing of former OSS member Lynne Roper, who passed away last year.

Photo: James Kirby

“Despite having put together the swim session programme, I found myself continually surprised by the different perspectives on swimming, from both our speakers and films,” said Festival Designer Jenny Rice. “The speakers, Tanya, Jenny and Beth equally captivated the audience: sitting at the back I could see everyone hanging on their every word. Their wit, honesty, humour and love for swimming shone through, and expressed the joy we get from swimming.”

As well as hearing from inspiring swimmers, we were also treated to a selection of swimming films which documented personal achievement and community spirit in swimming. Also as part of the literature festival Tanya Shadrick read from her bestselling anthology of new prose and poetry and Elizabeth-Jane Burnett’s talked about her long poem ‘Swims’ – documenting wild swims across the UK.

Of course no visit to the Lake District would be complete without some swimming too, so a group did get together for a swim to buoy 13, which has become a famous spot on Windermere.

The spirit and inspiration of the Festival will be touring to 15 venues throughout the UK from February to May 2018. You can find out where and book tickets here: http://www.kendalmountaintour.com/