Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Devil Wears Berghaus

Just because we're not hiking a fell this weekend doesn't mean we can't do outdoorsy stuff, which is why we headed off to the Kendal Mountain Festival on Saturday.  These sorts of events fascinate me in many ways as the fashion stakes are so high - not that anyone would ever admit that as many people attending these things have made a fashion out of being anti-fashion, if that makes sense.

So, what to wear? Well I needed to go for a look that said "I'm serious about the outdoors" but not in a "I've just slept on a park bench" kind of way.  Whilst there seemed little point in me donning full hiking gear for an afternoon in Kendal, I could justify my walking boots as I'd be on my feet all day, so feet sorted, but what about the rest of me?  Well, for once there was no rain forecast so I wouldn't be needing my waterproof jacket or my fashionably taped up over trousers, which gave me a little more freedom with my wardrobe.  In my mind I went to the mountains for inspiration and asked myself this question: "What do mountain dwellers look like?" There'd be a number of big mountaineering names lurking around the festival so I wanted to get it right.  After much consideration I settled on a look that emulated that most elusive and sought after mountain dweller, the Yeti.

The top I'm modelling in the photo has been knitted from the softest underbelly fur of the rare Himalayan Yeti and is 100% genuinely synthetic (dry clean only) and it's fair to say I attracted a little attention with it.  While some people simply stood and stared in wonder other's shared their joy at seeing such a rare and unusual clothing item by laughing out loud. A few female passersby asked where I found such a wondrous thing but their husbands looked at me with eyes that begged me not to tell.  At one point, when I was stood in the main marquee admiring some photos, I looked down to find a small child standing next to me gently stroking my arm. At least the assistant in Mountain Warehouse had asked before they stroked me.  Any moment now I thought someone might offer me a saucer of milk.

I remain unrepentant as the top is by far the warmest item of clothing I own and I feel I won the "anti fashion" competition hands down as everyone else had opted for the rather more predictable hiking trousers/ fleecy top combo.

So, fashion attire sorted, what of the Kendal Mountain Festival?  Well, as many of you know, we are potless at the moment so much as we would have loved to see many of the fantastic films and speakers they had lined up we simply couldn't afford to.  We took a stroll and found a drum group in full swing brightening things up no end in downtown Kendal but other than that the only other place to visit was the large marquee in the Brewery Arts Centre car park.  Based on the assumption that you can roughly judge the priorities of the target audience according to the proportion of space taken up by the main sellers, it's clear that the two main things mountain types are interested in are clothing and whisky as planetFear dominated one half of the marquee and Bowmore whisky the other half.  Committed to the cause I strove to divide my time equally between the two and found a lovely pair of cheap Bergahus walking trousers to replace the ones I wrecked on Wetherlam and I availed myself of a couple of the free samples those nice chaps at Bowmore had laid out.

During the course of the afternoon we also joined the RSPB a fabulous cause and only £3 per month), spent time chatting with a nice man, who wasn't Pete, about spikes on the Poguspikes stand, and generally had a good rootle through everything else that was there including photos, head torches, very sweet mountaineering food and some interesting outdoors courses from those lovely chaps at Dallam Outdoors which we'd love to have a go at but maybe next year when we're (hopefully) a little richer.

We had an interesting afternoon and even though we couldn't make the most of everything that was on offer it was still well worth going along to, though I am half expecting to appear in next week's Westmorland Gazette as the hunt for the elusive Yeti of Old Kendal Town hots up.