Debut festival a hit as thrill seekers head for Peebles

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Some of the world’s top adventure film makers joined endurance athletes in Peebles over the weekend for a celebration of the great outdoors.

The inaugural Peebles Outdoor Film Festival, held at the Eastgate Theatre, included a wide variety of talks and screenings, covering everything from distance running to kayaking, mountain climbing to trail biking.

Visitors to the festival were also given a glimpse of some of the world’s most rugged landscapes, while through the expertise of the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue they had the chance to learn more about what the Peebleshire countryside had to offer and how best to prepare for a day in the hills. Two men who had travelled further than most to be in Peebles were Dr Andrew Murray and his fellow ultramarathon runner Donnie Campbell, who produced an interesting and varied talk about their most recent challenge (see pages 38 and 39).

“I’m delighted to be back in the Borders. I’m shattered and I’ve a lot less skin on my feet that I had when we set off, but it’s great to share some of our experiences with people here in Peebles today.”

Cycling featured prominently during the three days with a variety of films screened over the weekend.

Dunvegan-born trials cyclist Danny MacAskill was the subject of Stu Thomson’s film, The Ridge.

Filmed on his home island, the Isle of Skye, the film shows Danny tackling a never-ridden-before ridge on a full suspension mountain bike.

Borders photographer Jason Baxter’s film Tweed Valley was one of four films exploring new territories, with Alone on a River following a team of paddlers in the Dolpo region of Napal as they undertake one of the most rewarding expeditions in kayaking history.

The film festival is the most recent addition to the Eastgate’s growing list of events.

General manager Caroline Adam was delighted the interest it has generated.

She told The Southern: “This is a good time of year to have something that’s a bit different, something that reflects the nature of this part of Tweeddale.

“There’s a lot of interest in outdoor activities from running, cycling, canoeing, and it just seemed like a good idea to put together a long weekend with the right mixture of both films and speakers, covering a whole range of different activities, get people in, inspire them with some of the things they can do and then hopefully a couple of months later they’ll be out there doing it themselves”.

The festival concluded on Sunday night with the screening of Wild Women, a series of films following the fortunes of endurance athletes, including adventurer Karen Darke and mountain biker Hannah Barnes.