Dundee Mountain Film Festival

After a crowded train ride down to Dundee, a bite to eat in the town centre and a wander along to Bonar Hall I was finally in attendance at my first Dundee Mountain Film Festival.

An excellent day for the Dundee Mountain Film Festival

The four films in the evening session were an interesting mix. The two Himalayan themed films in particular were interesting with Keeper of the Mountains profiling Elizabeth Hawley who has maintained records of hundreds of Himalayan ascents from her home in Kathmandu and featuring interviews with well known people like Alan Arnette, whilst High Tension showed some of the events surrounding the controversial incident involving Ueli Steck and a group of angry Sherpas at Camp 2 on Everest in 2013.

The evening’s talk was by Martin Moran, a mountaineer and guide who lives in Lochcarron and does guiding and teaching all across Scotland, the Alps and the Himalaya. He shared an extraordinary series of tales accompanied by the most beautiful photos including Torridon in winter, the Lofoten islands, and unclimbed peaks in the Indian Himalaya.

I had a quiet night at a hotel on the west side of the town and then wandered through a damp and misty Dundee for a delicious breakfast at the Parlour Cafe before heading to Bonar Hall for the Saturday morning session.

Breakfast time before the morning session at the Dundee Mountain Film Festival

Again there was a good selection of films, this time with a distinctly Scottish theme. Meall a' Bhuiridh - Hill of the Bellowing was a beautiful short film about a project to document the historic ski centre in Glencoe with evocative photos and a soundtrack taken from a piece commissioned for the project. We also saw the premiere of Joe Beaumont’s film In The Frame about his cathartic ride from Cambridgeshire to Fort William marking his comeback from a horrific climbing fall that resulted in every bone in one leg breaking.

The morning’s lecture was given by Richard Else and was in memorial of Irvine Butterfield, the first president of The Munro Society and a celebrated hillwalker and writer. As an outdoor and mountain filmaker Richard showed clips and shared stories of how some of his favourite films came about including recreating the first winter ascent of Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis, and the high stakes of filming Dave Macleod on Hell’s Lum in the Cairngorms. It was another excellent and insightful talk with lots of photos and footage.

Richard Else at the Dundee Mountain Film Festival

After a last look around the exhibition hall I left the festival and with an hour to kill before my train home popped into Dundee Contemporary Arts centre. There I had a good chat with Alan Rowan, the Munro Moonwalker who was off to do a reading from his book, and took in the wonderful exhibition of Jim Campbell’s light installations - absolutely magical.

Jim Campbell, Indirect Imaging

The festival organisers have put together a list of links to films where available online.