Couch surfin’ up the Hag’s Glen for launch of Moun­tain Fes­ti­val

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS -

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.

Pho­tos by Va­lerie O’Sul­li­van

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).

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