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21 Feb 2023

Trust sponsors awards-filled Fort William Mountain Festival

Ross Brannigan reports from the Fort William Mountain Festival, where we sponsored the Wild Places Film Award and talked about our work on Ben Nevis.Ryan's Story - FWMF

Locals and visitors to Fort William flocked to this year's Fort William Mountain Festival to see all the latest films and award-winning outdoor personalities.

As a long-term partner of the festival, the Trust was delighted to be back and speak to people about our work to protect our treasured wild places in the UK, including nearby Ben and Glen Nevis.

Sponsoring the International Film Awards Night, we were delighted to present the Wild Places Film Award to Ryan's Story - an inspiring film about Ryan's journey from homelessness as a teenager and his love of rock climbing.


"Ryan's Story really captivated us", said Alison Austin, Nevis Property Manager. "The film captures how vital wild places are as places of healing, and the power of nature to benefit people and communities."

Meanwhile, our former Nevis Seasonal Ranger Stephanie McKenna was awarded a prestigious Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture. She was presented with the Youth Award, alongside Mountain Rescue legend David 'Heavy' Whalley who received the Adult Award.

Steph McKenna

Steph (22) brought her passion for nature and engaging people with wild places to her Seasonal Ranger role at the Trust last summer. This, combined with her other community work, resulted in her being nominated for the award.

"It means a lot to know I'm doing good for my home. I'm so grateful to even be nominated let alone be the 2023 recipient!" said Steph. 

"I learned so much with the Trust and the land we care for. I am grateful that Nevis is looked after by wonderful people who do everything they can to ensure its protected and loved."

Steph's love for learning and connecting with people continues to drive her, as she works towards her Mountain Leader and level two Mountain Biking award. 

Throughout the festival, our Nevis Junior Rangers were putting their new-found knowledge of land management to the test as they engaged with people at our stall.

Telling the story of our recent peatland restoration project in Glen Nevis, the Junior Rangers continued to develop the skills they have already acquired.

"It has been brilliant to watch this latest crop of Junior Rangers continue to grow and develop," said Nevis Conservation Officer Nathan Berrie. "They were busy all weekend telling people about our work, and what they have been doing through the Junior Ranger programme.

"It is important to us to attend events like this, engaging with local people as well as visitors. There are always familiar faces, and it's such an amazing opportunity to tell people more about why wild places and our work are vital."