Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Dundee Mountain Film Festival: From midnight mountaineering to taking Brian Blessed up Everest

Celebrated mountaineer Alan Hinkes took actor Brian Blessed up Everest - and enjoys hanging out in ice caves!
Celebrated mountaineer Alan Hinkes took actor Brian Blessed up Everest - and enjoys hanging out in ice caves!

The UK’s longest-running mountain film festival kicks off in Dundee on November 24 and promises a packed programme of inspiring, edge-of-seat adventure.

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

So said Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest, alongside Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

Lovers of the hills are in for a treat this week when Dundee Mountain Film Festival returns to the city for the 38th time, and after a two-year hiatus thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The festival is the UK’s longest running film festival, featuring a fantastic three-day programme of international speakers, award-winning films, art, photography and exhibitions.

Mick Tighe

It kicks off on Thursday with former Lochaber Mountain Rescue guide, Royal Marine and rock climber Mick Tighe presenting a selection of archival films from his Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection, accompanied by live music and “diddling” from Steven Gellatly and Denis Shepherd.

Mick Tighe.

Mick, who was the national training officer to all of Scotland’s Mountain Rescue Teams for ten years in the 1990s and early 2000s, as well as a mountain and arctic warfare instructor, boasts perhaps the largest collection of mountain artefacts, equipment, literature, photographs and memorabilia in the UK.

Pauline Sanderson

Friday evening’s speaker is barrister-turned-outdoor-instructor and adventurer Pauline Sanderson, the first person in the world to tackle the world’s longest climb, from the Dead Sea to the summit of Everest, resulting in a Guinness World Record.

Pauline Sanderson.

It was while scaling Everest that Pauline experienced the scariest moment of the six-month trip – when her oxygen tank stopped working. Luckily, it kicked into action after a minute and she survived to tell the tale!

Alan Rowan

Alan Rowan has the honour of giving the prestigious Irvine Butterfield Lecture on Saturday morning in a talk titled Mountains at Night: Three Decades of Chasing the Moon.

Alan, who writes The Courier’s weekly Walk this Way column, will reflect on why climbing Scotland’s mountains at night has become so addictive for him, highlighting the good nights as well as the bad, along with tales of both the bizarre and beautiful sides of mountaineering.

Munro Moonwalker, aka Alan Rowan.

Known as the “Midnight Mountaineer”, Alan, who lives in Carnoustie, has written three books about his journeys – Moonwalker: Adventures of a Midnight Mountaineer, A Mountain for Breakfast, and Mountains of the Moon.

The first two books were historic records of Alan’s night walking, and the third one charts his journey to bag a Munro on every full moon in 2018.

Alan started night climbing when he was sports editor for a daily newspaper and didn’t finish work until midnight.

The job was high-pressure and with his mind buzzing, he found it impossible to head home and fall asleep.

Alan Rowan enjoying a midnight moonwalk.

For 15 years, from 1994 to 2009, he regularly climbed Scotland’s mountains in the middle of the night, getting through the best part of two rounds of Munros and one round of Corbetts.

Having taken early retirement in 2009, Alan now works as a freelance writer, author and journalist.

He still enjoys the odd night walk, although his emphasis is more often on aiming for sunrises and sunsets.

“It’s a huge honour to be presenting the Irvine Butterfield lecture,” says Alan.

“His book, The High Mountains of Britain and Ireland: A Guide for Mountain Walkers, was the book I grew up with.

“It gave you two or three routes up every Munro, and also all the 3000ft peaks around England, Ireland and Wales.”

Alan Rowan paddling over Loch Etive for the Sturgeon Moon walk.

Alan’s talk will be interspersed with photos and videos of his expeditions, as well as a short film showcasing stunning night skies and cloud inversions.

“I’ve been offered a free dog to go on the stage with me!” he reveals.

“There’s a story at the end – it’s very lighthearted and is about all the things that can go wrong when you go on a walk. It’s about a dog and a train.

“I’ll say no more but hopefully by that time the audience will have bought into the idea that this is not a totally serious lecture!”

Helen Mort

The Saturday afternoon speaker is Lake District-based poet, writer and outdoor enthusiast, Helen Mort.

Helen has a particular interest in mountaineering and womanhood, the subjects of her latest book, A Line Above the Sky.

Helen Mort.

Alan Hinkes

The festival will be brought to a close on Saturday evening with a talk from celebrated mountaineer Alan Hinkes, the first and only Briton to climb through the death zone to reach the world’s 14 highest peaks.

Alan, who was awarded an OBE in 2006, will enthuse about his adventures and extreme exploits.

Celebrated mountaineer Alan Hinkes took actor Brian Blessed up Everest – and enjoys hanging out in ice caves!

Brought up in the shadow of the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales, Alan has been climbing all over the world for more than 50 years and now lives in the Lakes.

It took him 27 attempts to conquer all the world’s peaks over 8,000m, including Everest and K2 but every expedition in his eyes was a success – because he came back alive when many of his peers didn’t.

His other claim to fame is that he accompanied actor Brian Blessed on his attempt top scale Everest.

Brian Blessed attempted Everest three times.

Longest-running film festival

Dundee-based Alfie Ingram has been involved with the festival since it launched back in 1983.

“It was first held to raise funds for the reconstruction of the bridge at Bachnagairn at the head of Glen Clova, in memory of our friend Roy Tait, a member of the Grampian Club and Tayside Mountain Rescue Team,” he says.

“Roy suffered a fatal fall on Lochnagar, and Bachnagairn was a favourite place of his.

“The 1983 festival successfully achieved its purpose, but everyone thought it was a great event, so why not hold another the following year, and the following year… and the following year.”

Run by vounteers

Alfie says 2022 would’ve been the festival’s 40th year but thanks to Covid “lay off”, it is the 38th.

“It’s run entirely by a small committee of unpaid volunteers and while the roots of the festival are of course Dundee, it has proved to be an excellent location, having good transport and road links, and it regularly attracts audiences from all over Scotland,” he says.

“This year’s festival features five separate programmes presenting an eclectic mix of films and speakers covering a wide range of mountain and outdoor activities.

“It’s for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors, whether physically or from an armchair.”

As well as a series of films from Vancouver International Film Festival World Tour, there are more local ones from Scotland, including Ardverikie Wall: Free Solo, by Dave MacLeod who filmed himself “soloing” the Scottish classic near Loch Laggan using a body cam and drone.

There’s also Across the Sound, which follows hill runner Louis MacMillan as he speeds through the rugged wilderness of Jura.

Meanwhile, 10 in a Weekend is about a Scottish ski mountaineering challenge to hike, ride and showcase the 10 highest mountains in the UK – in a weekend.

And the film Explore Your Boundaries follows round-the-world cyclists Mark Beaumont, Jenny Graham and Markus Stitz as they cycle the 500-mile boundary of Argyll and the Isles.

The screening of Myrtle Simple: A Life On Ice, will be honoured by a personal appearance of 92-year-old Scottish skier Myrtle, who is the 10th person to receive the Polar Medal.

Myrtle Simpson.

Fondly nicknamed the “mother of Scottish skiing”, Myrtle was the first woman to ski across Greenland on an unsupported expedition. She was president of the Scottish Ski Club in the 1970s and has written several books.

The film explores how Myrtle blazed her own unique trail from the North Pole to Peru.

In essence, if you’re passionate about the outdoors and keen to be inspired, you’ll absolutely love all that the festival has to offer!

  • Dundee Mountain Film Festival runs from November 24 to 26 with events staged in the Steps Theatre, Central Library, and Bonar Halls. For tickets and more information see