Meet the thrill seekers

There are no prizes for discovering a new climbing route, a first ski descent or for surfing a remote cold-water wave in Iceland. Adventurers risk everything in pursuit of their sport and the satisfaction of achieving a first.

Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 3:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 3:27 pm
Speed-flyer Willis Morris in action

The danger faced, is very much worth the risk, they believe. That’s the message from the 14th Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, which comes to The George Square Lecture Theatre next month.

You’ve probably never heard of the sport called Speed-flying- a revved up, more dangerous version of paragliding, where you fly as low to the ground as you dare, at high-speed, perhaps pulling off tricks such as barrel-rolls - basically a loop-the-loop on a parachute.

Willis Morris, a Scottish adrenaline-junkie has been taking on extreme sports since he was a kid.

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He found speed-flying by chance and set about learning with such ferocious enthusiasm, that he alarmed many of his peers with his flights.

Hit The Ground Running by Euan Ryan documents the progress of Willis as he goes from complete novice flyer to someone already pushing the limits.

The film starts off as a bit of fun but shows how serious the risks are as things threaten to go wrong.

That’s just one of the films featured this year. Another, contrasting yet just as extreme in its own way, introduces Finnish free diver Johanna Nordblad.

Following a serious injury in a downhill biking accident, Johanna was exposed to cold-water treatment.

She found the cold strangely compelling and is now one of the few free divers in the world who dare to venture under frozen lakes.

British film-maker Ian Derry captures her taking a plunge under the Arctic ice in a magical and beautiful short film, Johanna Under The Ice.

Just two of the highlights of this year’s event which runs 4-5 February. For the full programme of films and tickets (£7-£14) go to