THIS year’s Kendal Mountain Festival proved itself to be bigger and better than ever before.

Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts descended on the town for the prestigious four-day festival, with Sir Chris Bonington officially opening KMF 2012 at Thursday evening’s grand ceremony.

Sharing centre stage with a giant outdoor screen outside Kendal Town Hall, the noble knight of the climbing fraternity said KMF was one of the best festivals in the world and urged everyone to ‘give it a try’.

He added: “It is like a tribal gathering of mountaineers all mixing and rubbing shoulders with each other.”

The launch, which showed a 60-minute selection of short films, paved the way for the world class event, with festival-goers pouring into Kendal from across the UK and beyond.

Festival director Clive Allen said the event was the biggest and busiest ever.

“This was our most ambitious year yet, with the addition of a new Adventure Sports Village at the Dojo venue plus a speaker programme involving 40 outdoor personalities,” said Mr Allen.

“We were completely bowled over by the response. Headliners such as Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee meant we were full to bursting at times.

“I guess it underlines the fact that this festival is now very much the main event in the outdoor calendar, and a huge social event as well as the chance to see the latest films and lectures. We estimate that as many as 9,000 people joined us over the weekend so together with the satellite events we run this is really putting Kendal on the map. It definitely makes this the biggest mountain festival in the world.”

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