Peebles Outdoor Film Festival returns

Mark Beaumont


Global adventurer Mark Beaumont will be one of many star attractions as the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival returns to the Eastgate Theatre later this month (22-24 Jan) with an outstanding line-up of speakers, adventure films and hands-on activities.

Following a successful inaugural festival last February, the 2016 event sees an expanded programme of speakers, shorts and feature-length films covering everything from adventure film-making, cycling and trail running to climbing, skiing, wildlife photography and more.

Appropriately enough for a bike-mad area like the Tweed Valley, the opening day of the festival (Fri 22 Jan) is all about life on two wheels. The day sees some wonderful films – including The Program, Stephen Frear’s new film about the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong – plus presentations by elite Scottish mountain bike rider Lee Craigie, the Tweed Valley’s own rising star of world enduro racing Katy Winton, and global adventurer Mark Beaumont.

Now very much a household name, Mark will share his journey, from the boy who pedalled across Scotland and went on to cycle around the world, to capsizing while rowing across the Atlantic and exploring the high Arctic.

Earlier on the Friday, there will be a chance to find out what some of the kids from Peebles High School really get up to in their spare time – in this case heading into the hills to build mountain bike trails, often with tools hand-made for the job. These young trail blazers will tell all together with Tweed Valley trail-building legend Pete Laing. 

The programme for Saturday begins with the first of two early bird adventures: a chance for energetic dog lovers to try their hand at canicross and bikejor under the expert guidance of the team from Cani-Fit. Later on the same day, Cani-Fit’s Lindsay Johnson will present on the joys of running, cycling and scootering with our four-legged friends – sports that have seen a huge rise in popularity across Scotland.

Also on Saturday, charted forester and mountaineer James Ogilvie will talk about summiting Mount Vinson in Antarctica, so completing his 20-year journey to climb the fabled Seven Summits (the seven highest peaks on each continent); plus there will be a window into the world of the multiple-award-winning Jen Randall, one of the rising young stars of adventure film-making in Scotland. The day is rounded off by National Geo Wild TV presenter, explorer and conservationist Niall McCann who will share stories of his many adventures from around the world.

The third and final day begins early again with an opportunity to join celebrated wildlife photographer Laurie Campbell on a fieldcraft master-class as he walks the banks of the Tweed in search of otter tracks, trails and signs. Born and raised in Berwick, Laurie has delighted in the return of otters to the River Tweed – the subject of his beautifully-illustrated talk later on the same day.

Also on Sunday, local triathlete Scott Noble will tell an entertaining tale of how he caught the triathlon bug; Glasgow-based ultra-runner Elspeth Luke will recount the highs and lows of a remarkable 34-day, 680-mile run along the watershed of Scotland; and Stu Thomson from award-winning production company Cut Media will talk about how he came to work with renowned athletes such as Danny Macaskill (including on the phenomenal viral hit The Ridge) and his plans for future projects.

Each day, the talks will be complemented by a series of short film sessions themed around the joy of riding bikes (Friday), extremes of human endeavour and endurance (Saturday), and worldwide adventure and exploration (Sunday), as well as feature-length presentations.

“We’ve got an exceptional mix of films from around the world covering everything from cycling and fell running to climbing, skiing and some very wild swimming,” explained Rich Rowe, a member of the festival team. “Between them, they will make people laugh, cry, possibly wince a bit and, we hope, also inspire a few outdoor adventures of their own.”

This year, the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival has also launched a new competition for short films that capture the excitement, adventure, or just sheer natural beauty of the outdoors. The winners of the Outdoor Shorts competition will be chosen both by a panel of expert judges and by public vote during the festival, with the winning entries shown on the big screen at the Eastgate as part of the final short film session on the Sunday.

The second Peebles Outdoor Film Festival runs from 22–24 January 2016. Hard copies of the programme are available from the Eastgate Theatre Box Office, or can be viewed online at

Tickets are available now from Box Office on 01721 725777, or online. Look out for special day passes (£25 adult, £15 child) that include all films and speaker presentations on each of the three days. 


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