Couch surfin’ up the Hag’s Glen for launch of Mountain Festival
AT least the hardest part is over lugging a couch all the way up the Hag’s Glen for an eye-catching festival launch!
The rest of the Killarney Mountain Festival is expected to be fairly plain sailing in comparison, as participating climbers take nothing more than their limbs and daily provisions into the nation’s most dramatic peaks over three days - March 9, 10 and 11 next.
Now in its second year, the Mountain Festival is already set to consolidate its reputation as one of the premier events for climbers in these islands - selling as it does one of the finest mountain ranges going in a three-day package full of diverse events.
Climbing is at its core of course, but with a well-appointed basecamp in a special marquee at the rear of the Killarney Plaza Hotel, festival-goers are in for a treat.
Featured hikes, workshops, exhibitions, competitions, family fun activities and more comprise the vibrant three-day festival - hosted in association with the Kendal Mountain Festival in the Lake District.
Ireland’s tallest mobile climbing wall will also be making an appearance in a brilliant opportunity for hardcore climbers to scale a vertical face while remaining slap-bang in the comfortable surrounds of Ireland’s top tourist town. From the very outset this festival is an absolute treat for climbers and walkers with Scottish outdoor expert Cameron McNeish guest speaker at the official opening which starts at 6.30pm on Friday, March 9 – and at which a number of brilliant mountain feature films will be screened.
Talks and walks mark Saturday from the outset, a day that is set to begin with a choice of two guided treks; a moderate jaunt along the Old Kenmare Road and up Torc Mountain or an ascent of Carrauntoohil via the stunning Brother O’Shea’s Gully (both start at 9.30am).
Expert talks abound on Saturday, including Richard Hilliard, Cal Major, Patricia Deane of the Reeks Access Forum; Pat Dawson of Killarney House Restoration Project; renowned Irish climber Dermot Somers and the world famous British climber Andy Cave (who was nominated for the Piolet d’Or for his ascent of the North Face of Changabang). The BBC’s Justin Anderson will also be speaking about the making of the BBC Planet Earth special on Mountains - another brilliant movie screening at the festival.
For the full programme visit www.killarneymountainfestival.com.
It was one hell of a room with a view for Killarney Mountain Festival organisers Maureen Hegarty (chairperson), Piaras Kelly (Kerry Climbing) and Kieran Healy as they launched the three-day event aboard a couch the three hauled into place under the supervising eye of local farmer Jeoffrey O’Connor (below).