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Fort William Mountain Festival returns with in-person event

Last light on Ben Nevis
The Fort William Mountain Festival is back February 16-20 with five days of workshops and exhibitions aimed at those who love the outdoors (Image credit: john finney photography)

The Fort William Mountain Festival is back February 16-20 with five days of workshops and exhibitions aimed at those who love the outdoors. The festival, which is now in its 18th year, was online-only in 2021 due to the pandemic, but this year resumes in-person programming bringing visitors to the Scottish Highlands during peak winter walking, climbing and snow sports conditions.

The festival, which takes place in multiple venues throughout Fort William, features a diverse programme of mountain skills workshops, philosophy walks, film screenings, environmental discussions and presentations from world-class adventurers such as runner Nicky Spinks, triathlete James Armour and wild swimmer and TV presenter Calum McLean. That said, organisers advise you don’t have to be an expert adventurer yourself to enjoy the event.

“The festival is not just for high adrenaline adventure enthusiasts. It is for everyone who appreciates the great outdoors. With the best winter walking, climbing and snow sports conditions of the year, visiting Fort William and Lochaber in February, for the Mountain Festival, is the perfect time of year to experience the stunning landscape of the area first-hand,” says Rod Pashley, Chairman of The Highland Mountain Culture Association, which organises the festival.

Two hikers walking a long a path on Ben Nevis

(Image credit: © Peter Lourenco)

Pashley says the festival’s setting is as much a part of the appeal of the event as its programming. Fort William is located in Lochaber, a rugged region of the western Highlands which has been named the Outdoor Capital of the UK due to its unparalleled access to adventure sports ranging from hiking and water sports to skiing and climbing. The town sits on the shores of Loch Linnhe and is known as the gateway to Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak. 

“As we finalise the programme and update the website for our 2022 Festival, we’re back to a live, multi-venue event, celebrating the wild landscape that surrounds us in Fort William and Lochaber; the inspiration that fuels the passion and enthusiasm behind the Mountain Festival. The mountains, glens, rivers and coastline influence our culture in many ways, whether it is the beauty of the landscape, our engagement with it or the opportunities we find in it.”

The festival attracts some 1500 attendees over five days. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit https://mountainfestival.co.uk/ 

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Adventure.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.