Kendal Mountain Film Festival

Last weekend was Kendal Mountain Film Festival and my uni managed to get hold of some tickets for Friday’s events. We trundled down in the minibus and arrived in Kendal for 9:30am. I’ve been to Hawkshead and Coniston, but Kendal was new to me. As it whizzed by out the window, I thought it looked really cutsey, and just the sort of place my parents would love to visit.

Upon arrival in Kendal, we had a look at the programme to see what we fancied watching. I was one of three Wildlife Media students there; the other six were from Adventure. The films were certainly more angled to them – there was a distinct lack of animals involved – but I was there more for the general experience.


One film I saw was called Headache, and followed a group of cold water surfers on a trip through Europe, in an attempt to find the best waves. Although I couldn’t get overly excited about the sport of cold water surfing, it was incredible to watch such a visually explosive documentary. The style of the film was similar to what I’ll be trying to replicate throughout my degree, so it was very inspiring to see what a truly groundbreaking film looked like.


There was such a buzz at Kendal that day. We had a look round the stalls and saw adventurers, both young and old, swapping stories and gazing awestruck at the kit for sale. It would be a lie if I said I was adventurous; at least, compared to the people around me I was far from ballsy. Put simply, I’d rather get the chairlift up a mountain than climb it.

It was fascinating to watch from the sidelines though, and the trip has inspired me in a slightly different way to most of the people there. I certainly don’t feel motivated to fling myself off a cliff any time soon, but it was really great being in such an enthusiastic and excited environment. Ultimately, I will be spending the majority of my career outside with a camera, so although I’ll pass on trying out the adrenaline sports, I still love the outdoors, same as the mountain climbers and bungee jumpers. In many ways, we are one and the same, adventure and wildlife enthusiasts.


Field trip to Derwentwater

As part of the module ‘Interpreting the Natural World for Media’, we visited Derwentwater, a beautiful body of water in the Lake District. Our assignment involves writing a report about the site, the geomorphology of how it was formed and the impact humans have had on its development.


Mallard - Close Up
Mallard – Close Up

It was such a serene location. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to walk around the whole circumference of the water, but hopefully I’ll go back before the assignment deadline so I can experience everything Derwentwater has to offer.

Silhouetted Rook in the Trees
Silhouetted Rook in the Trees
A Pair of Greylag Geese
A Pair of Greylag Geese

I saw a variety of species on my visit, including a nuthatch hopping through the trees and a large gaggle of Greylag geese bobbing in the shallows. They later took off and soared overhead, organising themselves seamlessly.


Getting Lost on High Rigg

Last week I embarked on a ‘Navigation Day’ as part of a module called ‘Operating in Diverse Locations’. This involved driving into the Lake District and then walking round and round in circles on High Rigg, a fell situated three miles from the town of Keswick.


In turn, our module leader gave us a speck on the map to go and find. Despite never having done navigation before in my life, I managed to successfully find the spot he assigned to me, but after seeing everyone else’s, I’m pretty sure he gave me an easy one.


It was a beautiful day – sunny until early evening with no rain, only a fairly strong breeze up on the hills. The Lake District is one of those places that I think has some kind of magic power, to look as incredible as it does. As much as I love living in Carlisle, I often wish my course was taught at the Ambleside campus of the university; we’d be surrounded by these views a lot more frequently.


I found the walking tough, which is rather depressing considering I’m going to the gym multiple times a week. However, when we’d stopped for lunch I felt like I’d been making a fuss over nothing when we watched a cyclist tackle (very successfully) the jagged peaks of High Rigg.


This navigation practical was a great way to bond with my course mates, both Wildlife and Adventure Media. We struggled up and down hills together and had a laugh when the wind nearly blew us right over.

Caitlin surveying the scene
Caitlin surveying the scene

Having done the practical, I’m still fairly certain I need more practice using a map and compass. I’m struggling to grasp how anyone can match up hills and cairns with minuscule dots and squiggles on a piece of paper, but I’m learning all the time!