Enjoy the high life at Mountain Film Festival

Ultra runner and adventurer Dr Andrew Murray. Picture: Toby Williams
Ultra runner and adventurer Dr Andrew Murray. Picture: Toby Williams
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Between them they have scaled the world’s highest mountains, risked life and limb, and have achieved the unachievable.

And now some of the world’s most intrepid mountaineers and adventurers will share their heart-stopping experiences with eager audiences at the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival (EMFF).

Now in its 11th year, the three-day festival will be bringing some of the best known adventurers to Edinburgh, including The Swiss Machine Ueli Steck, who is famous for his speed records on the North Face trilogy in the Alps and his involvement in last year’s notorious altercation with Sherpas at Everest Base Camp.

Other speakers include Alastair Humphreys, who was named National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year in 2012, climber Nick Bullock who quit his job in a prison to become a full-time climber and has lived out of the back of his van ever since, and Edinburgh’s own ultra-runner and adventurer, Dr Andrew Murray.

Dr Murray, Scotland’s sports champion, will be recounting tales from his recent adventures in East Africa, and is looking forward to being a part of the festival for the first time.

“I’m really excited about it,” the 33-year-old endurance runner says. “There will be a number of fantastic speakers there. But the beauty of the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival is that as well as being able to engage with all these speakers, you also get to watch these fantastic films showing amazing adventures from Scotland.

“There’s nowhere greater than Scotland to go for a climb, and I will be talking about that.

“However, in the last year I had an expedition to East Africa to find out what makes athletes from there the best in the world.

“I also did some running myself – I ran up Kilimanjaro in seven hours and 16 minutes and I also did Mount Kenya.

“I will share some adventures about the various things I have done over the last year, and also talk about the phenomenal sporting events taking place in Scotland this year.”

For the first time, the EMFF will be held in February, instead of its usual October slot, and will take place over Valentine’s weekend, from February 14 to 16.

There will be six sessions over the course of the three-day festival at George Square Lecture Theatre, which will each involve a mixture of films and guest speakers.

Ueli Steck fans will flock to see High Tension, a film which tells the story of the Everest incident and which captured the assault on camera.

Five Months (pictured above) is a story of last year’s Scottish ski season, as told by extreme skier Peter MacKenzie and his friends as they throw themselves down sheer faces far away from the ski centres.

But amidst all of the action and excitement, there are some more mellow gems, including Britain’s Last Wilderness – A Week Without Food which sees some friends attempt to live off the land while exploring Knoydart.

Festival director Stevie Christie first started the event in 2003 after being inspired by a similar film festival in Canada.

“I was working abroad and stumbled across it one night and was absolutely blown away by the experience and wanted to do the same thing when I came back to Scotland.

“It’s really popular. The first one was small scale as I didn’t know what kind of reaction it would get but it sold out and it’s grown since then. “Over the last ten years there’s been a real boom in adventure film-making both internationally and with Scottish film-makers.

“I’ve always got local film-makers involved. Our audience really react to small, low-budget films as they find that they get inspired and think that maybe it’s something they could try too. The fact that these films are about climbing or skiing is almost secondary to the story of it all,” he adds. “As long as you like a good story, you will enjoy the films.”

Tickets cost between £7 and £14 and are available now from www.emff.co.uk or on the door.