I think I’ve stumbled across the perfect festival for inspiration, adrenaline and overall experience. The Keswick mountain festival. This festival I attended the other weekend and walked away having completed a 10k trail run, but also inspired to take on what will become one of my biggest challenges to date.

Keswick mountain festival race

What is the Keswick mountain festival about?

The Keswick mountain festival has been running for 13 years. Hosted in the Lake District village of Keswick, the festival takes place with a backdrop of rolling hills and views that would capture your gaze for hours. But don’t worry whilst you still get that tranquil bliss of epic Cumbrian views, you’re only a short walk from the village centre. There were stalls with a variety of food outlets, places to grab your morning coffee, spots to buy all your outdoor adventure kit and of course, a bar for the evening music. Oh, yes I forgot to mention, this festival not only provides activities, but it also has music too. Essentially this festival is activities and inspirational talks through the day, with the option to let your hair down post-race in the evening. That to me is quite genius.


There is camping available if you don’t fancy staying in a local B&B. The campsite was very well run, with clean toilets and showers, plus I think due to many people racing, it was quite chilled and quiet. There was parking on site, which was handy and if you were ever peckish and didn’t want to cook for yourself, there was Annie’s cafe a 2-minute walk away.

The activities

As someone who loves to be active, I was very excited about visiting the Lake District to take part in things I’d not had a chance to do yet. There were numerous races happening throughout the weekend, with some people doing just one and others taking part in many. We’d chosen to do the Adidas Terrex 10k trail run and the 1.5k open water swim. I’d never run that distance as a trail run, so this was a new challenge for me, and the swim would be my first swim in a year, so it was purely to ease myself back in.

Unfortunately, all swims were canceled due to blue-green algae. If you don’t know about blue-green algae, if exposed to it, it can make you poorly, so race organisers felt it was best to cancel. This was a little frustrating, but I’d have rather been healthy than poorly from a swim. It did have a knock-on effect as there were obviously many people coming for the big 5k swim and to do the triathlon, (which both Nick and I contemplated doing). They made the triathlon a duathlon and as far as I’m aware, they refunded those who were due to swim. It is what it is, it’s nature and the events team handled the situation very well.

Other activities

As mentioned there are a number of stalls in this field, either selling kit, food, drink, or promoting something. It was a great way to discover new things and get the chance to ask an expert. Alongside the stalls, a number of them were hosting activities, for example, Vivobarefoot (in the VVagon) were there and providing free yoga sessions and talks about plastic-free life. They also offered free foot examinations to determine the kind of trainers you might be needed to best support your feet. Great -right?

Children and adults alike seemed to be loving the skills from the mountain bikers. Just think of something similar to Danny Macaskill style on beams. The showcase from the riders got everyone oooing and ahhhing! There was also a slack line you could get yourself involved with, should you wish, or you could just sit back, relax and watch the spontaneous demonstration from a team of aerobatics! So, plenty going on whilst you were waiting for loved ones to finish a challenge or if you were looking for something new to have a go at.

Adidas Terrex 10k trail run

Back to my 10k run! Well, I was excited! I’d heard great things about this run from previous years, and because they had waves for the races and not too many people were running, it made for a very pleasant time! The course was what the deemed as ‘moderate’, which I would agree with. This wasn’t an easy trail run, not like just running over grass or along a canal path, this was uphill, along small pathways and downhill. It was both a physical and mental challenge, but in a good way because the views from the top were epic. I wasn’t chasing a time, neither was Nick, we wanted to ease into it and just enjoy the race, which I think we both did. I’ve previously done 10k road race in around an hour and this took me an hour 17, so for a new kind of race at a new distance, I was happy. A nice benchmark on where I am to go to next.

The talks

I went to a few talks but the two I enjoyed the most were the Graeme Obree one and the Outdoor Swimmer chat. I’m not a big cyclist but my husband is, but regardless hearing about Graeme’s story and his new mindset was very inspiring. Hearing about his incredible journey to where he is now after breaking the world record was certainly one I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. There was the option to watch the film about his life prior to the talk, which we didn’t do, but you had the choice should you have wanted.

I will say the talk I went to that had Ella Chloe and Gilly Mcarthur was the biggest inspiration for me. Both of these ladies are outdoor swimmers, with Ella being a contributing editor to the Outdoor Swimmer magazine and Gilly, being this either incredible or insane, ice swimmer! I got a chance to hear their stories and connection with swimming open water, as someone who lives and breathes swimming, I was in full fangirl awe of these two. It was a small intimate group attending the ‘chat’ making it easy to ask questions, and ultimately walking away feeling ready to tackle my next big swim.

The music

Whilst music isn’t the main focus of the festival, it is still a big offering for festival goers. On the first day, the main stage opened to the sounds of the parade marching through the field to entertain everyone. There were a number of acts but the big ones were, Peatbog Faeries, Big Country, (remember this 80’s band?) UK Blondie and to wrap things up on the final night, DJ Set from Bez (Happy Mondays) and Rowetta. It was so much fun, even with Bez shouting Cuummmbriaaa every few minutes during his set, but it all made for a great event

Keswick mountain festival 2020

It tends to take a while for a festival to announce dates for the next one, but they’ve already announced their 2020 get together! 15th-17th May 2020, you can head to the delightful surroundings of the Lake District and take part in this incredible festival. Nick and I plan to go, I’m evening looking at the 25k trail run as one of my 12 in 12! If you want to find out more about this festival click here or drop me a message.