Climbing fans meet the stars at Otley festival

A young girl tries out the climbing wall

A young girl tries out the climbing wall

First published in Local news Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Climbing fans got to try out their skills and meet some heroes at the inaugural Otley Mini Mountain Fest.

The two-day Otley Courthouse-based event, which began with a sold-out lecture by Doug Scott CBE last Friday, proved a hit with visitors of all ages. Those lucky enough to hear Doug – the first British climber to conquer Everest – speak were entranced by stories, and photographs, of some of his amazing adventures across the world.

Then the next day the festival attractions widened out to include a climbing wall in the Courtyard, free abseiling and bouldering trips to Otley Chevin, climbing films, art workshops and more.

Chairman of the Courthouse's Board of Trustees, Dave Robson, was pleased with the turnout and is now gauging feedback to see if the festival should become a regular event.

He said: “On the Friday Doug Scott enthralled a packed audience with tales and pictures of his many years at the forefront of Big Wall climbing - including his epic Ogre trip where he had to retreat from the mountain with two broken legs.

“He also explained the work of his charity, Community Action Nepal, and raised hundreds of pounds for them over the course of the evening.

“We then had a huge range of activities on offer throughout Saturday afternoon, and there was an enthusiastic response to the free rock skills and abseiling on the Chevin.

“We also got a good response to the 'Build a Volcano' workshop, the photo exhibition (which is still on display), the quizzes and treasure hunt and the climbing wall.

“And the talks from experts in a number of outdoor-related areas proved popular too, as did the information stalls and a screening of the Kendal Film Festival audience favourite, Driven to Despair.

“The festival ended on Saturday night with another packed house as Andy Turner introduced the award-winning film about the epic climb of The Long Hope on St John's Head, Orkney - the highest sea cliff in the UK.

“Andy climbed this with Dave McLeod in a single day last year, and after the film he fielded questions from an obviously impressed audience.”

Anyone who took part is asked to e-mail comments about their experience to

The Courthouse would also like to hear ideas about any other activities Otley might celebrate with a festival.

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