THE clocks have gone back, the dark nights are drawing in, and half-term has been and gone – as you would expect, all the entertainment is strictly indoors this month.
November always has one particular highlight – one that will appeal to people much farther afield than Cumbria. This year’s Kendal Mountain Festival is by far the biggest to date.
Taking place from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19, at venues across the South Lakes town, the festival centres around a spectacular array of adventure films and documentaries. There are screenings, award ceremonies, talks and workshops, with a guest-list headed by record-breaking round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont, mountaineering legend Chris Bonington, and Czech climbing superstar Adam Ondra.
But this year there is another addition, which gives the event an even wider-ranging appeal – the first-ever Kendal Mountain Literature Festival runs alongside the main event, again with some of the biggest names in adventure writing, journalism and poetry.
For a full programme, visit www.mountainfest.co.uk
Along similar lines, Rheged, near Penrith, welcomes the latest Reel Rock Film Tour on Friday 24. This annual, nationwide tour has visited Cumbria for a number of years now, showcasing another batch of the most stunning short and feature-length adventure movies.
This year’s list includes films featuring Margo Hayes, the first woman to climb 5.15; Brad Gobright, an up-and-coming free soloist with a doughnut addiction; the return of Chris Sharma to the deep-water soloing stage, and more.
Another highlight at Rheged this month is the opening of The Great Print Exhibition 2017, which will be on display at the visitors centre until February.
The exhibition is the largest of its kind in the UK, with more than 350 framed artworks on the wall by over 60 printmakers from up and down Britain. It’s an excellent chance to see and buy original art. Check it out from Friday 17 onwards.
The other significant annual event to look out for this month will be the ever-expanding Winter Craft Fair at Brantwood, in Coniston.
Taking place on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12, the event sees more than 40 craftspeople showcasing their work, demonstrating techniques and selling items that will make perfect Christmas gifts. This year’s stalls include jewellery, textiles, pottery, woodwork, original artworks, prints and cards, baskets, bowls, pots, and clocks as well as homemade Christmas puddings, cakes and preserves.
Some of the most exciting entries on this month’s calendar are visits of some impressive musical names: singing icon Lulu performs live at The Forum, in Barrow, on Saturday 4; fellow female singers Eddi Reader and Emily Barker play at the Brewery Arts Centre, in Kendal on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 respectively; pop opera favourites Collabro have one of their biggest Cumbrian shows to date, playing at the Sands Centre, in Carlisle, on Thursday 23; The Voice runner-up Jolan has an intimate show at the Florence Arts Centre, in Egremont, on Friday 24; and on the same day, singing sensation Betsy is the latest guest of the Get It Loud In Libraries programme, headlining a show at Kendal Library.
The month wraps up with ‘Madchester’ chart stars Happy Mondays, who are bringing their greatest hits tour to Carlisle’s Sands Centre on Thursday 30.
Other big shows at the Sands Centre in November are leading stand-up Greg Davies, who appears on Wednesday 8; the high-profile new tour of Hairspray: The Musical, which has a six-night run from Monday 13 to Saturday 18; and most popular with our younger readers, The Teletubbies are in town on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26.
By Karl Steele, Cumbrialive.com