Starting from Saturday 15th of September the Isle of Harris Mountain Festival returns for its second year with a week of events organised by the North Harris Trust.
This year will see talks from Doug Scott, the first Britain to ever climb Mount Everest and one of the UK’s most celebrated mountaineers and Laurie Campbell, a leading and award winning wildlife photographer.
In all there will be 30 events, covering everything from hill running to sea kayaking taster sessions, photography workshops to barefoot guided walking. As well as films, music, art and of course mountain walks.
Despite some “challenging” autumnal weather, last year’s Festival was a resounding success, with visitors and islanders alike enjoying the wealth of events on offer.
Highlights of the week included talks by famous Scottish mountaineer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish and wildlife photographer Laurie Campbell, guided walks into the Harris hills, golden eagle safaris and mountaineering film nights.
The week ended with more than 40 people taking part in a community hike from Miabhaig to Bogha Glas.
Mick Blunt, Area Manager for the wild land charity the John Muir Trust, and a director of the North Harris Trust, came up with the idea for the Mountain Festival several years ago. He is enthusiastic about the way the event is developing.
“The Festival works on so many levels”, says Mick. “First and foremost, it is a celebration - an opportunity for locals and visitors to get out and enjoy the wonderful wildlife and mountain landscapes in Harris.
“But the Festival also has economic objectives: we run the Festival at the end of September to attract visitors to the island at what is traditionally a fairly quiet time for tourism operators.
“We are also hoping that increasing awareness of the Festival amongst hillwalkers will attract more people to explore the Harris mountains. After all, these are some of the finest hills in Scotland, yet they remain virtually unknown to many mainland walkers.”
For a full list of events and more on what you can expect from this years festival see this week’s Stornoway Gazette, out Thursday 6th.