TV personality and marine biologist Monty Halls, a former Royal Marines Officer who is famous for his televised escapades and adventures all over the planet, will be taking part in the first South West Outdoor Festival, at Heddon Valley in North Devon (23-25 September).
The festival is being supported by numerous well-known names from the outdoor world who either hail from the region originally, or have gravitated here because of the wealth of exciting adventure opportunities that exist in the area.
The Dartmouth-based TV presenter will be attending the festival as a speaker, film maker and self-confessed outdoor addict.
‘I’m really looking forward to camping out in Heddon Valley,’ Monty says. ‘I’ll be bringing my mountain bike and running shoes, and I can’t wait to get out on the trails. The kids will be coming along too, and the whole family is excited about the event.’
With organised trail running and mountain biking challenges taking place on both the Saturday and the Sunday, Monty won’t be disappointed, and his participation will provide other festival goers with an exciting opportunity to run and ride alongside a real outdoor legend.
After meeting Monty on the trails, people will be able to listen to the amazing story of how he went from serving in the army (where one of his deployments saw him working for Nelson Mandela during the peace process in post-Apartheid South Africa) to leading expeditions and becoming a TV presenter.
Monty is well known for his escapades and adventures all over the planet, which have been broadcast in several popular series on the BBC, Channel 5, Discovery Channel and National Geographic. Although he has roamed far and wide during his career, Monty believes he still has plenty to explore around the shores and across the moors and countryside of his locality.
‘Having travelled the globe for the last twenty years, there is a good reason why I finally settled in the South West,’ he says. ‘The region has it all – moors, hills, forests, a coastline that is globally renowned, and an adventure and outdoor infrastructure that caters for all ages and abilities. The South West has so much to offer for the outdoor fanatic of today – as well as lighting the blue touch paper for the young explorers of tomorrow. I can think of no better place to experience some of the best adventure experiences the South West has on offer than at the first South West Outdoor Festival’, said Monty.
Monty is now at the helm of his own production company called Seadog, which specialises in filming outdoor life and nature at its very wildest. As well as talking at the festival and enjoying the activities, Monty’s Seadog crew will be shooting all the action as it unfolds.
Rob Joules, National Trust General Manager said: ‘I’m so delighted Monty Halls will be with us for our first South West Outdoor Festival. We’re expecting his talks and the experiences he can share with everyone attending the event to be really popular. Just having him with us all weekend is terrific endorsement of our inaugural event.’
Cotswold Outdoor, who are in partnership with the National Trust, will be operating a knowledge centre throughout the weekend, offering a footwear clinic, bike health checks, camping stove demonstrations and rucksack fittings. They will also conduct a range of fascinating experiments, demonstrating the technology behind fabrics used for outdoor clothing and equipment.
Visitors can camp for the whole weekend in a riverside paddock, or just come and explore for a day. The weekend is packed with activities, from intro experiences to organised events for runners and bike riders. You can join group sessions in everything from kayaking and tree climbing to SUP and wild swimming, or enjoy gentler activities such as star gazing, wild food foraging, camp cooking and nature walks around the coast and through the valley.
Festival goers will also have the opportunity to hear inspirational tales of adventure and exploration from well-known personalities, including:
- Ocean rower, Everest sumiteer and world-circling cyclist James Ketchell
- Record-setting trail runner Damien Hall
- Former GB rower and global adventurer Anna McNuff
- International off-piste athlete Tobias Mews
- Wild camping author Phoebe Smith
- Slow adventurer and rapid raconteur Jasper Winn.
Places are limited so booking on to activities is essential.
For tickets and further details visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/swof