Keswick Mountain Festival: the show will go on

hikers enjoy the Keswick Mountain Festival
Hikers enjoy the Keswick Mountain Festival (Image credit: KMF)

Keswick Mountain Festival 2020 had been set to offer the biggest ever programme of sports and outdoor events yet… But then Covid caused the organisers to postpone. Now KMF is back and set to take place in May 2021.

The sports schedule for the KMF – from May 21 to 23 – offers the same as last year, including 18 running, cycling, swimming, multi-sport and hiking events over the three days. There are options designed to appeal to all ages and abilities. 

A new gravel cycling event is also launching at the festival on the Sunday. DexShell Hell will challenge riders to 72km of ascents and descents on gravel routes in the North Lakes. You can expect a total of 2000m of ascent. The race is designed for riders of all abilities and will also be open to e-bikes.

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Mix of sports, outdoor activities and music at KMF

Founded in 2007, KMF now attracts 20,000 visits every year to the fells and lakes of Cumbria.

The heart of the event is the Festival Village in Crow Park on the shore of Derwentwater, where most of the sports and outdoor events start and finish. The site is owned by the National Trust, which is KMF’s official charity partner.

For 2021, many of the festival’s most popular sports and outdoor events return, including the adidas TERREX 5K, 10K, 25K and 50K trail races, Derwent water swims, cycle sportives, sprint triathlons and hiking events. 

The Hanwag Three Peaks Challenge is an 18-mile hike around Derwentwater on each day of KMF. Taking in three classic fells – Catbells, Walla Crag and Latrigg – hikers will set off between 7:30am and 9am and will be challenged to finish within eight hours. 

Other hikes in the Hanwag Hiking Series include, for the more experienced hiker, the Hanwag Coledale Challenge, as well as the family friendly Hanwag Walla Crag Family Challenge.

There is also an exciting music programme on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Saturday night live music line up at KMF 2021 remains unchanged from 2020 with Space, Holy Moly & The Crackers, SWJ Group and Huey Morgan taking to the stage.

Friday night now features a new music line up headlined by Bad Manners, with frontman Buster Bloodvessel. Festival goers can also expect the energetic sounds of folk rockers Merry Hell, followed by ska and latin grooves from The Baghdaddies. 

village base at Keswick Mountain Festival

The Keswick Mountain Festival village (Image credit: KMF)

“We are looking forward to being back”

Keswick Mountain Festival director Nicola Meadley said: “After such a turbulent year we are very pleased to be talking about 2021. We‘ve all missed so many events and activities and we can’t wait to stage the festival in May. 

“The safety of our competitors, staff, volunteers, partners and Keswick residents will remain our utmost priority and we will of course follow all the necessary Covid guidelines to keep everyone as safe as possible while having fun.”

Visit the Keswick Mountain Festival website for more information.

Fiona Russell
Outdoor writer

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.