Preview: Peebles Outdoor Film Festival

Katy Winton, photograph by Ian Linton photography
Katy Winton, photograph by Ian Linton photography
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Outdoor adventurers of all ages have much to enjoy later this month when the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival (January 22-24) returns with a feast of adventure films, inspiring speakers and hands-on sessions covering everything from mountain biking and trail running to climbing, skiing, film-making, wildlife photography and more.

One of the star turns at this year’s festival is global adventurer Mark Beaumont – now a household name following his various record-breaking exploits. Mark will share his journey, from the boy who pedalled across Scotland and went on to cycle around the world, to capsizing while 
rowing across the Atlantic and exploring the high Arctic.

Growing up in rural Perthshire, Mark’s life as an adventurer started early. “I had a wild start as I was home-schooled and spent most of my time working and playing on the farm and in the forests and hills,” he explains. “When I was 11 years old I read about a chap who cycled from John O’ Groats to Land’s End. I was inspired and set out to cycle across Scotland. After that, the journeys just got bigger and bigger!”

Mark shot to fame almost a decade ago when he smashed the then around-the-world cycling record and has achieved plenty of firsts since – including a record-breaking cycle through Africa last year. “The Cairo to Cape Town World Record is the hardest I have pushed myself mentally and physically,” he recalls. “Believe me, riding 160 miles a day for 41 days through the Sahara, the Ethiopian Highlands and the great savannahs of southern Africa is tough going!”

Although fiercely driven to push his limits while exploring the world, Mark says the best part is often what comes after. “I love coming home, sharing the stories and hearing how they encourage others to take on their big ambitions in life.”

Festival audiences in Peebles will be treated to unseen footage from Mark’s recent Africa Solo expedition, as well as hearing stories from his journeys around the Commonwealth.

Another presenter who will reveal how she pushes herself to greater heights is Katy Winton – the Tweed Valley’s own rising star of enduro mountain bike racing. At just 22, and with a solid season of results under her belt in 2015, including becoming Scottish Enduro Series Champion for the first time, Katy is looking forward to a busy racing year. “I think 2016 is shaping up to be the best year yet, with the Enduro World Series starting in Chile and Argentina,” she explains. “It’s going to be an amazing experience.”

An inspiration for many young riders locally, Katy will provide an engaging insight into life as a pro rider. “I’ll be telling my story of going from the lung-burning discipline of cross country mountain biking to the long adrenaline days of racing the Enduro World Series, and from being a self-supported racer to a full-time professional,” she explains. “I’ll have some exciting news to share by then too, so make sure you come along!”

The Peebles Outdoor 
Film Festival takes place at the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles from 22-24 January. Mark Beaumont will appear at 7.30pm, Fri January 22, while Katy Winton will speak at 5pm on the same day. Tickets and hard copies of the full programme are available from the Eastgate Theatre Box Office, or online at www.eastgatearts.com/content/peebles-outdoor-film-fest-2016

Look out for special day passes (£25 adult, £15 child) that include all films and speaker presentations on each of the three days.