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Keswick Mountain Festival 2009

Details of speakers and events for this years festival are as follows:


Mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington has revealed the names of some of the adventurers who will be speaking at this year’s Keswick Mountain Festival, sponsored by Jennings and Ordnance Survey (13-17 May 2009).


To celebrate the third successive festival, the organisers have scoured the country looking for Britain’s most talented individuals to inspire the audiences at the Theatre by the Lake.


Sir Chris Bonington said: “Everyone will be inspired by this year’s speakers, from our home-grown climber Leo Houlding to expedition doctor Mike Stroud and from Mark Beaumont, who cycled around the world, to Rosie Swale Pope, who ran around it! We also have taken to the seas this year with Paul Rose, who presents the BBC series ‘Oceans;’ to the ice with polar adventurer Hannah McKeand and to the road with one of our finest ultra-distance runners Jez Bragg.


“Keswick Mountain Festival is a fabulous way to come and try new activities and to hear our new pioneers talk about some of the most magnificent adventures on earth. I am proud to be the Festival patron and I am looking forward to taking part in May.” 


JAMES CRACKNELL has confirmed he will head the fine line up of speakers at this year’s Festival.  The former Olympian turned adventurer will reveal all about his recent race to the South Pole during his talk at the Theatre by The Lake on Saturday 16 May 2009, at 8pm.  He has also jumped at the chance not only to start the Triathlon on the morning of his talk, but to compete in it as well!


James Cracknell said: “I’m delighted to be involved in this year’s Keswick Mountain Festival – a fantastic few days of activity in a glorious part of the world. I was honoured to be asked to be the headline speaker on the Saturday night and am looking forward to talking about my recent experiences in the South Pole Race. In addition, I will be taking on the challenge of the triathlon on the Saturday morning. It’s great to be able to bring the family along and spend the weekend in Keswick – particularly with so many activities going on.”


James is one of Britain’s most successful athletes with two Olympic Gold medals and six World Championships to his name. Both his Olympic rowing finals, in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, were epic, hard fought contests. Since retiring from international competition James has taken on a number of successful challenges.  James regularly takes part in marathons, triathlons, cycling races, adventure races, not to mention setting a record for paddling the Channel on a surfboard, completing the Mark Webber challenge in 2006 and he is currently training for the 2009 Etape and the 2010 Marathon de Sables.   


Leo Houlding – Take me to the Edge A whirlwind world tour of his adventures and his rise from climbing’s golden boy to celebrity extreme sportsman. He free-climbed the mighty cliffs of El Capitan in Yosemite,  bouldered at 28,000 feet on Everest, rode erupting volcanoes, BASE jumped into caves and experimented with parachute-assisted descents. (Friday 15th May 8pm)


Mark Beaumont – Circumnavigation of the Globe by Bike The fastest man to cycle around the world ever according to the Guinness Book of Records! Mark completed his 18,297 mile trip through 20 countries in 194 days and 17 hours, that’s a rate of 100 miles per day! (Thursday 14th May 8pm)

Graeme Obree - The ‘Flying Scotsman’ Graeme Obree took the cycling world by storm and rewrote the record books in the 1990’s.He was twice World Hour Record holder and twice World Pursuit Champion - setting two new World Pursuit Records along the way. Graeme is famous for his innovative approach to bike design, equipment and training techniques. Graeme is going to talk about the meaning of cycling on a personal basis, the technological advances in his time and how that has changed the face of competitive sport. He will also discuss the psychology of winning and the place and shape of cycling in the 21st Century.  As well as answering any other questions that come along! (Thursday 14th May 6pm)

Paul Rose – Presents ‘Oceans’ for the BBC, he has a long record of leading Greenland Ice Cap Expeditions and was awarded the Queen’s Polar Medal. For ten years he was the Commander of the Rothera Research Station in Antarctica.  (Wednesday  13th May 8pm)


Dr Mike Stroud – From Ice to Dust  An expert on human health under extreme conditions. Has partnered Sir Ranulph Fiennes on several expeditions and completed the seven marathons in seven continents in seven days. He completed the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic continent. (Saturday 16th May 6pm)


Rosie Swale Pope – Rosie’s Run Around The World At 57, Rosie set off to do a circuit of the globe, now four and a half years later, she is back to tell the tale. The death of her husband Clive, from prostate cancer, taught Rosie more than anything about how precious life is. Wednesday  13th May 6pm)

Jez Bragg* – In the Long Run Jez will speak of his experiences of running ultra distance races around the world (100km), when and why he started running, highlights of his running career, his training and lifestyle and quest to inspire others. Wednesday  13th May 7.30pm)

Hannah McKeand* – Cold hands, Warm heart One of the foremost polar athletes of our time, Hannah set a world record of 39 days, nine hours and 33 minutes for skiing the 690 miles from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole – beating the previous record by two days. Wednesday  13th May 5.30pm)


Joint headline sponsors Jennings Brewery and Ordnance Survey are thrilled with the line up.


Ordnance Survey commented: “The Keswick Mountain Festival is an exhilarating and fun event, giving everyone the exciting opportunity to challenge themselves, conquer their fears and take inspiration from the experts.  With an activity for everyone, the event encourages participants to fulfil their potential, taking outdoor activity to a new level. Ordnance Survey is proud to be involved.”


Jennings Brewery added: “Once again Jennings is proud to support Keswick Mountain Festival along with many other local events in Cumbria, which helps support growth in our local industries.”


Booking for talks at the Theatre by the Lake opens today, Monday 2 February – Box Office, telephone: 017687 74411 or


The full festival programme is online at and for the first time you can book all your activities on the internet.


The Keswick Mountain Festival dates you need for your diary are 13-17 May 2009 – it promises to be jam packed with every conceivable outdoor activity and coupled with an impressive line up of inspirational speakers.

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