This weekend sees one of Keswick’s biggest events returning to the town: the Keswick Mountain Festival 2021!
Taking place from the 10th to the 12th of September 2021, the outdoor festival brings together locals, visitors, and big names in the outdoor activity world. Throughout the weekend will be a huge amount of sporting events, music, food and activities. It’s a fabulously fun-filled weekend that showcases why Keswick is the outdoor adventure capital of the Lake District!
- Sports and Outdoor Activities
- Speakers and Films
- Food and Drink
The centre of the Keswick Mountain Festival has got to be its sport and outdoor activities. Although entries to the bigger events are now closed, you can still register for some family fun events on the day and enjoy cheering on participants as they set out on or complete their challenges. There are also a number of taster sessions for you to get involved in!
The festival kicks off bright and early at 6.30am on Friday with the Hanwag 3 Peaks Challenge. Taking entrants on an 18-mile hike, which includes a whopping 1,000 metres of ascent, the route traverses three popular fells around Keswick: Catbells, Walla Crag and Latrigg. Head to the finish line to applaud the competitors, who are challenged to return by 5pm. The event repeats on both Saturday and Sunday.
Opening day also sees the return of the Keswick Town Trials, a running or biking trail around Keswick’s town centre. There are obstacles to dodge and fancy dress is encouraged! This is a fun run that will get everyone into the spirit of the festival. Sign up from 2pm on the day at George Fisher.
Head down to Derwentwater on Saturday to catch a number of swimming events taking place in the lake. The Point to Point Swim, starting from 8.45am, sets off from Low Brandlehow on the southwest shores of the lake, and ends all the way across the water to the Crow Park on the northeast shores.
Other swimming events include two swims around Derwent Island (starting at 12pm and 2pm), and the Junior Aquathon, a swim-and-run combo for those aged 16 and below. The junior events start at 3.30 and 4.00pm.
In the Lake District, a marathon isn’t all flat routes and tarmacked roads! The craggy landscape of the national park makes for more difficult and exciting running routes that will test even the most experienced sportspeople! Passing over plenty of rugged terrain, the half marathon and ‘ultra’ marathon follow routes around Derwentwater, over the fells and through the stunning Borrowdale valley. Catch the start of the half marathon at 11am on Saturday, and the 50k Trail Ultra Marathon at 6am on Sunday.
Hiking – that most popular of Lake District sports - is also celebrated at the festival with the new Coledale Hiking Challenge. Participants are all experienced hikers who will take on this difficult mountain route. Leaving the Festival Village in Keswick, it starts with the first peak of Catbells, covering five more before descending back into the town. Starts between 7am and 8am on Saturday.
With its high passes, winding roads, and rocky mountain paths, the Lake District is popular with both road cyclists and mountain bikers. The Keswick Mountain Festival caters for both and there will be several events where you can watch the bikes whizzing by.
The Back o’ Skiddaw Cycle Sportive is an on-road event that covers the country roads and quiet B and A roads around Skiddaw. The fully tarmacked route isn’t all easy riding, though. There are a good few tough hills to give cyclists a challenge! Starts 10am, Saturday.
More experienced road cyclists will be taking on the Cocker Hoop Cycle Sportive, cycling 72km over some of the most difficult and high mountain passes in the Lake District. Starts 9am, Sunday.
For mountain bikers, there’s the intimidatingly named Hell in the Fells. This 67km route passes through some of the best off-road trails in the North Lakes, runnning alongside Bassenthwaite Lake, through Whinlatter Forest, and down Skiddaw. It’s full of exciting rough terrain, spectacular views, and thrilling slopes. Starts 7.30am, Sunday.
When just one kind of activity isn’t enough, there’s always a triathlon to really test a person’s sporting ability! And because the Keswick Mountain Festival attracts the best of the best, there are plenty of these three-tiered events taking place!
The multi-day Keswick Conqueror includes a 3.6km swim, 25km trail run and 72km cycle across two days of the event. On the other end of the spectrum is the Sprint Triathlon Relay, which sees teams of two-to-three challenging themselves to a short route. Starts 8am, Saturday.
It’s not all about the races at the Mountain Festival – you can get your adrenaline pumping with a number of outdoor adventure activities too. A number of local outdoor adventure providers will be running events showcasing the best of activities on offer in and around Keswick. Splash down the rocky river gorges with ghyll scrambling, receive an introduction to rock climbing, or take on the thrilling Via Ferrata, dangling high above the valley bottom! Activities take place throughout the festival. Booking essential.
Is there an outdoor activity that you’d just love to try, but have never got round to? Well, now might just be the time! There will be a whole host of activities on offer, from popular outdoor hobbies to more unusual activities. Test yourself on an army assault course, meet and feed alpaca and llamas, or have a go on a BMX bike. Those who want to relax can enjoy a bit of yoga, or test your map reading skills in the orienteering maze. There’s plenty to keep you busy in between all the sporting events! Find out more.
Opening for the first time in 2021, the Accessibility Zone provides a tonne of information on alternative ways to get into outdoor adventures if you have a disability or limited mobility. A number of exhibitors will be answering questions, offering information, and showcasing specially adapted equipment such as bikes and all-terrain wheelchairs. Find out about canoeing, cycling, snowsports and more!
What’s a festival without live music? Well, you’ll get your fill on Friday and Saturday evenings, with a fantastic lineup of bands from across the UK. Friday offers ska beats from Bad Manners, folk rhythms from Merry Hell, and exuberant world music from The Baghdaddies. On Saturday you’ll be entertained by Space’s edgy pop, Republica’s alt. rock, indie sounds from Holy Moly & The Crackers, and SWJ Group’s funk and groove. What’s not to love!
A compliment of outdoor-themed films and talks offer an insight into different worlds. Headlined by Cameron McNeish, the award-winning author, TV presenter, and all-round adventurer, these talks and presentations are hosted by the beautiful Theatre by the Lake, right on the shores of Derwentwater.
Highlights include a showing of film Life of A Mountain: Helvellyn, followed by a talk by acclaimed director Terry Abraham; tales from an RAF mountain rescue; and talks by Wainwright Round record holder Sabrina Verjee.
There will also be fascinating ‘tent talks’ in the Festival Village, where you can hear from adventure travellers, outdoor ambassadors, and environmental activists. Find out more.
You won’t go hungry through the weekend with some of the best Lakes food and drink on offer. There are great local offerings from the likes of The Lakes Distillery and The Square Orange, as well as worldie treats including Jamaican street food from Yardies and pizza from Fire & Dough. Tasty!
This year, the festival’s headline sponsor is the National Trust, and funds raised during the event will go towards protecting the natural beauty of the Lake District. So, not only will you be having a fabulous time, you’ll be helping to preserve the landscape, wildlife, and scenery of this amazing location!
If you’re heading to Keswick this weekend, we hope you have a truly fabulous time at the festival! You can find out more about the Keswick Mountain Festival 2021 on their website.
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