We're are incredibly proud of our Festival patrons


The UK's best-known mountaineer started climbing at the age of 16, in 1951. It has been his passion ever since.

Chris' legendary climbing CV places him in a class of his own. He made the first British ascent of the North Wall of the Eiger, and led the expedition that made the first ascent of the South Face of Annapurna, the biggest and most difficult climb in the Himalaya at the time. He went on to lead the successful expedition making the first ascent of the South West Face of Everest in 1975, and then reached the summit of Everest himself in 1985 with a Norwegian expedition. He is still active in the mountains, climbing with the same enthusiasm as he had at the beginning. Chris has written 17 books, fronted numerous television programmes and has lectured to the public and corporate audiences all over the world. He received a knighthood in 1996 for services to mountaineering, was president of the Council for National Parks for 8 years and is currently Non-Executive Chairman of Berghaus. In 2015 Chris received one of the most prestigious awards in mountaineering; the Piolet d'Or lifetime achievement award, created to recognise mountaineers who have inspired generations of others.


A local to Kendal, Leo is one of the world's top climbers, mountaineers and explorers

Leo is a veteran of many epic ascents (including Everest in period 1920s dress), and specialises in climbing the most technical and remote peaks in the world. An articulate communicator, he has captivated and inspired audiences around the world with his exploits. Leo's TV résumé includes an infamous appearance on the BBC’s Top Gear, his own show on Virgin One Take Me To The Edge, and an IMAX movie The Wildest Dream retracing the last steps of Mallory and Irvine on their fateful Everest expedition in 1924. His trio of expedition movies made with filmmaker Alastair Lee - The Asgard Project, Autana and Ulvetanna, The Last Great Climb - placed him squarely in the centre of world-class mountain exploration. Leo has become an ambassador for the younger generation of climbers, and has been named one of Britain’s top ten adventurers by The Telegraph.

Robert MacFarlane

We are honoured to have Robert Macfarlane as Patron of our Mountain Literature Festival

We are delighted to share his introduction with you: "We are now in the mountains and they are in us – kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver", wrote John Muir in 1911. Over a century later, and mountains are even more deeply "in us" - drawing millions of people to them each year in search of adventure, enlightenment, beauty, wonder, wildness -- and nerve-quivering fear. As the virtual world consumes more of our time and attention, and as environmental crisis deepens around the globe, so our encounters with mountains and the natural world grow ever more vital. I am so proud to be a patron of the Kendal Mountain Literature Festival - a celebration and exploration of our stories of place. I love the Lake District, the mountains - and all that this Festival stands. Its great theme is that of connection's relationship with landscape -- and its great vision is to bring about participation by means of inspiration."