Kendal Mountain Festival with The North Face and Active Inclusion Network

Kendal Mountain Festival with The North Face and Active Inclusion Network

Kendal Mountain Festival with The North Face and Active Inclusion Network

Written By: SportsShoes

We look back on an incredible weekend at Kendal Mountain Festival 2023 with The North Face and Active Inclusion Network, working together to promote inclusivity and diversity in our outdoor spaces.

As part of an action-packed programme of activities, we invited 35 members of the Muslim Hikers to Kendal for the festival weekend.

First up was an introduction to fell running with SportsShoes' trail athlete Ben Mounsey.

Many of the invitees had travelled the length and breadth of the country to take part in this amazing experience and despite having to set an early alarm on Friday morning, they were treated to a glorious sunrise in wintry conditions. The 3-mile route climbed through Stagshaw gardens to Jenkin Crag, offering a wonderful view of Windermere and a rainbow which arched over the nearby fells. The activity was completed with running tips and advice from Ben, one of the most experienced trail runners in the UK.


Post-run, the group headed to Kendal for a prayer session, followed by coffee and cake with Strava and one of the biggest highlights of the weekend - an enlightening panel discussion entitled "Taking Steps to Get Outdoors: Different Voices and Different Perspectives" , exploring the journey to inclusivity and diversity in the outdoors.


Our esteemed panelists, Haroon Mota, Zahra Rose, and Belal Billali, each brought a wealth of experience and unique perspectives to the table. Hosted by athlete Ben Mounsey, the discussion challenged conventional norms and helped to inspire new ways of thinking about the great outdoors. From overcoming barriers and promoting community values to dispelling myths and setting new standards, the dialogue aimed to reshape how we understand, participate in, and benefit from outdoor activities.


After the panel discussion we were invited by The North Face, to a thrilling film trilogy featuring three inspiring events, starring ultra runner Elsey Davis, alpinist Fay Manners and Breakout Skier of the Year 2022 Dennis Ranalter.

About The Films:

A MIDWINTER BOB tracks Elsey Davis early in 2023 as she sets a new women's winter record for the legendary Bob Graham round, shaving nearly 1.5 hours off the previous time.

EMBRACING THE GRIM follows Piolets d’Or nominated alpinists Fay Manners and Line van den Berg to the ephemeral landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, on an ambitious mixed climbing mission beset by typically fickle weather. Tragically, since filming, Line lost her life in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps. The film was finished in her memory.

In DESCENDANCE dual heritage freeskier Dennis Ranalter explores the Black Austrian experience through the lens of his own childhood. In unreserved reflections, Dennis opens up about feelings of alienation and prejudice; while a reconnection with his father’s family helps him find faith in the possibility of a more multicultural future in the mountains.


The arrival of Saturday brought a whole new day of adventure and with it some 'challenging' Lakeland weather. But despite the rain, spirits weren't dampened as our hardy group of hikers headed out to conquer the fells. A 9-mile circular hike from Ambleside to the summit of Loughrigg, via Rydal Caves, was rewarded with stunning, panoramic views of Windermere and the surrounding peaks. For many, it was their first experience of hiking in the Lake District and what a day to remember. A big thanks to Peak Adventures UK for leading the hike and our friends at komoot for providing the maps to navigate.

Our hiking efforts were celebrated at The Waterside Cafe in Kendal, with an 'Eastern inspired' menu of halal food and live music by the talented Palestinian composer and oud player, Saied Silbak.


Over the weekend, we hiked, we ran, we talked and we swam. Most importantly, we shared some amazing moments together. A huge thanks to everyone that made it truly special!

Haroon Mota, founder of Active Inclusion Network shared his thoughts;

"I couldn't be more thrilled about the incredible partnership we've forged with SportsShoes and The North Face for Kendal Mountain Festival. This event holds a special place in my heart because, two years ago, I attended it for the first time and felt somewhat out of place. It became my dream to return one day with a community from our network, and I'm immensely grateful to SportsShoes and The North Face for making that dream a reality. This partnership goes beyond just an event; it's about addressing inequality in the outdoors, improving representation, and creating opportunities for communities like ours to connect with nature. We firmly believe that partnerships like this are integral for bringing diverse communities together, fostering a sense of belonging, and making the outdoors accessible to everyone. Kendal Mountain Festival 2023 was a true celebration of our partnership, our shared values, and our mission to make outdoor adventures inclusive. It's been an incredible experience, and we're proud of what we've achieved together. I look forward to more meaningful collaborations in the future, where we continue to inspire and empower individuals to explore the great outdoors".


Pictured: Haroon Mota


Muslim Hikers is a grass root initiative set up to help empower and inspire Muslim communities to get outdoors more. What started off as just an Instagram page for online community during lockdown has now rapidly grown into a massive global community with hundreds joining their hiking events across the UK. Muslim Hikers is part of the Active Inclusion Network, which also includes Muslim Cyclists and Muslim Runners.

Visit the Muslim Hikers website for more information and all other upcoming events.


We spoke to Raadia Imran, an active member of Muslim Hikers, about her experience of climbing Cadair Idris, as part of a previous Muslim Hikers group event.

You can read her article here


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