Scenery, Mint cake and (quite) a few films

Kendal Travel Blog

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Doesn't look inspiring, but it gets better!

So after escaping my shift at work around 3.00pm, I walked the housemate, kissed the dog, grabbed my packed bags and jumped into the Warrior and set off up North to Bowness-on-Windermere where I would be staying for the weekend. The journey was fairly uneventful and I was soon pulling up at Dene House a pleasant little traditional guest house close to the town centre. I was met by Malcolm, one of the owners at the door, shown to my room, which was cosy and homely, dropped of my bags and after getting some fish and chips for dinner headed back the way I had come to the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, which was hosting the event to collect my four day film pass and tickets for the presentations I had booked to attend.

I believe this is the 21st Film Festival and it has grown in size and stature into a truly international event. I was attending a lecture by David Breashears this first evening. It was about his experiences on Everest in 1996, when he was filming the IMAX film and the subsequent events, culminating in a huge storm which cost several people their lives. It was an interesting presentation and considering the subject, the presenter did well to retain some humour where appropriate and engage us, his audience in the details of the tragedy. His description of the events were vivid without ever becoming morbid, and I enjoyed his style of presentation more than I had expected, because after reading his book I hadn’t really warmed to the guy, but I was pleased to revise this perception of him after the presentation and a short chat with him later whilst enjoying a glass of red wine before I returned to my digs.

The following day I was up and enjoying a full English breakfast at 8.45am, Lisa who helps out at the guesthouse looked after me extremely well and I enjoyed a chat with her whilst relishing my black pudding and eggs.  It was then back into the Warrior and returning to Kendal, one comment I must make the parking in the town is horrendous, the town centre one-way system is almost parking free, some of the car parks close in the early evening, which isn’t too useful when you’re planning to be there late.  I’d prefer the town to have been car free and a park and ride system in place to be honest; it would have been a more satisfactory option than having to drive around in search a free space.  I eventually found a parking space in a church, which was pay and display!  I managed to find a space here every day from then on, and it’s only a short walk from the Brewery.......................bonus!

I’m not going to bore you with a day by day account of the festival, suffice to say my weekend consisted of watching a great many films, some really excellent ones and some not so good.

Looks better at night
  My personal favourites were a BASE jumping film about three guys dropping into a huge ‘cave’ in China called “Journey to the Centre” and a film called “Journey of a Red Fridge” which was about a Nepalese porter transporting a Coca Cola fridge on his back/head around the villages of the region.  Funny in places, his interaction with the people he meets along the way, many of which are family members and other porters is both amusing and poignant.  It was an intriguing insight into these tough, hard-working and likeable people and how they are exploited, some young children carrying loads in excess of 80kg around some beautiful but hazardous terrain.  There was also a short film called 'Bored Meeting' which was clever and quite amusing.  'Ice, Anarchy & The Pursuit Of Madness' was a film about three quite crazy climbers on the fist ascent of K7 West, true madness in the pursuit of mountaineering.  'Red Gold' was an extremely thought provoking documentary about a proposed plan to start mining for richest  reserves of gold and copper in the world in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska.

I also went to a number of presentations apart from the Rheinhold Messner one, which actually turned out not to be my favourite, he was a very inspirational speaker, with plenty of ‘Boy’s Own Moments’ to relate but it did tend to drag on a bit towards the end.  Andy Cave’s presentation “Mischief in Patagonia” was definitely my favourite though, extremely funny and entertaining with loads of true adventure mixed in with his mischief.  Most of the funny stories seemed to involve Leo Houlding, who seems to play the Costello to Andy’s Abbot, including one story about him falling up to his ears in human faeces whilst attempting to gate crash a club somewhere in the back of beyond. Though the one about the attempt to cross a glacial lake in a five pound single-man dinghy came a close second, my own question regarding Leo’s dress sense at the end raised a few laughs too.  Anybody interested in hearing more I’ll tell you about it over a coffee or something a little stronger sometime soon.  I also attended a presentation by another mountaineering legend Doug Scott on mountain photography. This appeared to bemuse Doug as he apparently doubts his theoretical knowledge as a photographer despite being credited for some fantastic alpine and Himalayan photographs, many of which sell well and make a great deal of money for his Nepalese Trust charity.  On Sunday I also bought a last-minute ticket for a more informal style presentation ‘in conversation’ with Jim Curran, hosted by Julie Sommers, the daughter of Sandy Irvine, with guest appearances from such luminaries of the sport as Chris Bonnington and Cathrine Destivelle.

I had a quiet night out in Bowness on Friday night in an attempt to return my eyes to their customary shape after staring at the screen for several hours at a time.  The road from Bowness to Kendal, which I travelled several times, usually in the dark is a winding little back road and takes a bit of care at the best of times, so I usually wanted to be back in Bowness before I was overly tired.  It required even greater care on Saturday morning when I awoke up to find myself in a winter wonderland covered in snow, “woohoo where’s my skis?” Ever the optimist, there was barely an inch on the ground, hardly enough to have the developers rethinking Bowness as a future ski resort.

It's getting busy here
  It was already thawing as well and by lunchtime there wasn’t any evidence it had ever been there at all.

Other highlights were the party on Saturday which was a lively affair, copious amounts of beer and other stronger booze was consumed, plenty of chatter and laughs.  The only problem with my accommodation being outside of Kendal was that I wasn’t able to drink, and had to leave relatively early, because speaking to a few people the next day with pretty hefty hangovers, it seems to have continued to long into the early hours.  I spent some money on some good books, which I’m sure I’ll read one day, some Nepalese beanies, and some outdoor kit, to which most people’s response was; “haven’t you got enough of them?”  I survived on fast food; takeaway Thai food, focaccia and pizza, and of course the substantial breakfast from the guesthouse.

Sunday evening was the award ceremony and I was pleased to see that “Journey of a Red Fridge” won the cultural film category.  The overall festival winner was a film called “On-Sight” a climbing film and probably the one film I hadn’t actually managed to see this weekend, but I did stay for the best of the festival screenings and did enjoy this film, though it didn’t change my own particular choice of favourites.

I was planning on finding a nice little scramble for Monday before I headed back home, but in the end conditions were not really suitable for this.  I had gotten up a little later to enjoy my breakfast at a more leisurely pace than I’d been able to on previous mornings.  Paid my dues, and bid farewell to my great hosts Marguerite and Malcolm and set off.  I quickly decided to follow a route over the Kirkstone Pass as I hadn’t been that way for some time, with a plan to have a look at ‘Striding Edge’ on Hellvellyn on the other side.

A pleasant drive later and I arrived at Patterdale, and one look at the famous scramble made it painfully obvious I wasn’t equipped to tackle it today.  The ridge was plastered in snow, and whilst it may not have been kitted out in its full winter regalia, it would have been a long walk up to find I really did need crampons and an ice axe.  So I settled in for a ‘road-trip’ around the popular areas of the Lakes, Patterdale, Glenridding, Ullswater, Blencathra, Keswick, Grasmere, Rydal Water (where I talk a short stroll) and finally Ambleside.

Along the way I bought myself some new Rohan pants in Keswick and in Ambleside stopped at my favourite snack eating place n the Lakes ‘The Apple Pie’ a little bakery and cafe serving some great pastries, sandwiches and coffees.  Eventually though I did have to start the drive back to Cheshire, although this time I hoped not to get caught by the hidden speed camera that had ensnared me on my trip to Scotland earlier this year!

I had a great time at the festival, though I was a little surprised I didn’t see any of my own circle of adventure seekers there.

Blencathra, looks great doesn't it?
   I still had a cool time, meeting new people and experiencing the festival, in that selfish way which allows you to take in whatever parts of the festival that you came to see, without having to compromise at all.  Next time I make an appearance I’ll probably choose to stay closer to the town itself, although it had been my choice to find accommodation outside of Kendal.  I probably would have stayed a bit later a few nights and attempted to drink a little more of my share of the 6,000 pints of beer that had been drunk by festival goers this year!

Roll on 2009 ...........................................

Real_PeaceWarrior says:
Thank you, thank you, most appreciated lovely lady ;)
Posted on: Apr 22, 2009
wanderlustbohemian says:
Good Blog! Great blog writer! Me liked! :D
Posted on: Apr 16, 2009
Real_PeaceWarrior says:
Thanks Wally, me too, although it wasn't mainstream films all were of course had a 'mountain' theme to them, was really cool though, I'll definately go back again when possible.
Posted on: Jan 31, 2009
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Doesnt look inspiring, but it get…
Doesn't look inspiring, but it ge…
Paaaaaaaaarty!
Paaaaaaaaarty!
Looks better at night
Looks better at night
Its getting busy here
It's getting busy here
Blencathra, looks great doesnt it?
Blencathra, looks great doesn't it?
I rest my case
I rest my case
From The Kirkstone
From The Kirkstone
Messing about on Ullswater
Messing about on Ullswater
Pretty little church
Pretty little church
You can just see the snow covered …
You can just see the snow covered…
12 km (7 miles) traveled
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photo by: Real_PeaceWarrior