Fort William Mountain Festival Summary

📷Brian Sharp

At the end of last year I got invited to speak at the Fort William Mountain Festival. I couldn’t believe it as this was a dream come true. When I started running with Lochaber Athletic Club 10 years ago I heard about it for the first time, I dreamed about it. I just wanted to go and experience the amazing talks. I would never expect that my life decisions, hard work, persistence are going to take me to the Festival. Being there was one thing, but I was going to share my story with everyone. How cool is that?

Without any hesitation I said yes.

I was very nervous to actually public speak in front of so many people. At school I was terrified. I would call in sick and not show up. Later I would have to do it on my own with the teacher one to one which was less stressful.

Time and experience changed me. I was still very nervous but going against my fear was the best thing ever. I kept telling everyone, I’m ok, I’m ready. Inside I was shaking like a jellyfish.

Me and my wife Ashley arrived at the festival and we got to meet the organisers and other speakers for the night. The size of the screen completely blew me away. I knew this is going to be an amazing experience. I had this. I am just going to talk about my life and my running. It can’t be that hard, I thought..

Plan of action for the evening looked like this:

FWMF Tales From The Trails
19:00 Showreel/sponsor loop followed by a very short welcome and thank you from
a committee member and Frazer Coupland
19:15 Calum introduces the night
19:20 Photography Awards. 1st and 3 rd Prize will be there to collect.
19:25 Calum Introduces David Lintern
19:30 David Lintern
19:50 Calum introduces Jane
19:55 Jane McGeary
20:15 Calum/Jane introduces the Laurettes
20:17 Laurettes for a couple of tunes
Interval 20:30
21:00 Back into the theatre for raffle
21:05 Calum introduces Pawel
21:10 Pawel Cymbalista tells us about his FKT’s
21:30 Calum introduces Naomi and George together for an interview on stage.
Hopefully all can bounce off each other with stories and questions. Let me know if
you would like me to prepare any particular questions or if there are any topics that
we should avoid.
22:05 Any Q and A’s from the audience
22:15 Close

I made the brave decision to get an attached microphone so I can freely walk around. Standing in one place on the side was just not my thing. I really wanted to do it my way without looking at my notes. I am a different man now and I really have to do it without any regrets. I wanted to start my talk, I felt like before a race or a big FKT run again.

I had 20-25min to talk. My problem was that I could possibly take 2h if I wanted to… There is just so much to say! I don’t really know how long the talk lasted but I received a 13min video from my friend Rob Hamilton. This video is only part of my talk, but it’s very good!

You can watch it here:

The talk went really well. I made people laugh, which was my main goal. My runs were not always perfect, I encountered problems but I got over them one way or another always with a funny story to tell.

It was really nice to see guests taking photos of my photos and graphics on the screen behind me. Everyone enjoyed the short 5min video that was shown at the end as well.

You can watch it here:

The massive applause at the end melted me inside. Thank you so much everyone for listening to my story. I was really nervous but it all worked out. To be honest, I am ready to talk again and I know it will go even better than the first time.

Last part of the night was a really good Q&A from the public, led by Calum Maclean. I am going to answer one question here as I completely forgot to say it at the festival after hearing Naomi Freireich worst food experience on her adventures.

Rehydrating beef jerky with a can of coke for breakfast…

That was a bit too much to take…

But I can say that the worst food experience I had on my adventures was the Paddy Buckley Round VEG OXO Cubes. I was crunching and dissolving them in my mouth with water and lucozade.

How bad is that?

And officially we announced my next big adventure which will be a totally new experience. It will be an extreme expedition up North.

I am taking on the CAPE WRATH TRAIL FKT. Solo, unsupported. You will hear more about it in the next few days when I announce it on the social media. Preparation, food choices, plans, filming etc will be available on my website, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Thank you Fort William Mountain Festival for having me. Loved the experience.

Thank you to Ashley (my wife) for taking photos.

Thank you Brian Sharp Creates for photos.

Thank you Rob Hamilton for filming my talk!

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