Last week something pretty exciting happened… I was invited to be a paid speaker at Kendal Mountain Festival!
Kendal Mountain Festival is an annual, four-day long Festival dedicated to sharing awe-inspiring, life-affirming stories from the world of outdoor adventure. Situated in the picturesque town of Kendal, Cumbria, UK – the event takes you on a journey to the wildest reaches of the globe through film, literature, speaker events, music, art, dance and parties. Their mission is to SHARE THE ADVENTURE!
It was an amazing opportunity and I was honoured to be interviewed by Cal Major and Chris Brain. I spoke about my personal experiences and why paddling means to much to me. Having suffered with PTSD, depression and anxiety paddling provides me a safe space to immerse myself in nature and process my daily stresses. I spoke about how access on the water is limited and what we can do to improve this, if you want to catch up with the session you can watch it on the Kendal Mountain Festival Player.
It was my first big speaking event with a large audience who’d paid to be there so nerves weren’t quite high. Chris and Cal were so welcoming and took the time to get to know us before the session running through the line up and what questions they might delve into which put us all at ease. Once the lights came on and it all began my nerves dropped away and I felt comfortable talking about my passions and sharing my knowledge and experiences with the audience. I can’t wait for more speaking events in the future!
The session covered a range of topics from expeditions in Africa to Olympic medalists, LGBTQIA+ role models, and community champions, giving us a chance to hear about first ascents of big rivers, epic expeditions, and encouraging tips to embark on your first trip out on the water.
Paddlesports legend Rush Sturges whose illustrious kayaking career has now led him to produce and directed numerous award-winning kayaking films. Rush was named an ‘Outdoor Idol’ by the Outdoor Industry Foundation and has featured as one of the 20 greatest outdoor athletes by Outside Magazine.
Veiga Grétarsdóttir took to the stage to share tales of her paddling adventures. In 2019 she made headlines when she achieved a goal set by many but reached by none before her. To circumnavigate by kayak the whole of Iceland – and to do so counterclockwise. The journey took 103 days and has been compared to nothing less than reaching the top of K2 by those who know well the waters and the currents she paddled against.
We heard how sea safety campaigner Brendon Prince became the first person to circumnavigate mainland Britain on a paddleboard this year.
Kendal Mountain Festival gave me a chance to catch up with friends and put faces to names from online folk. It was an honour to be on stage with the likes of Rush Stuges, Veiga Grétarsdóttir, Brendon Prince and Paul Robertson.
If you’ve never been to the festival before I’d highly recommend it, whether you are inspired by world renown mountaineers or want to meet your role models in the flesh it was a great experience. There was a lovely atmosphere with a range of events to get involved in and to watch and it was amazing to be one of the 2021 speakers!