A HUGELY popular South Lakes festival that attracts thousands of people to the area annually returns in its traditional format today.

Kendal Mountain Festival allows the public to delve into the world of outdoor adventure through film, literature, special guest speakers and more.

The event was forced online last year amid the coronavirus pandemic but this year's event, which runs until Sunday, will once again see the town's streets buzzing with visitors.

Basecamp, the 'social hub' of the event, will be spread out across two locations. The Shackleton Tent will be in its familiar place outside the Brewery Arts Centre, off Highgate, but there will also be a new, larger space set up at Abbot Hall Park.

Among the star names to be involved in events at this year's festival are Olympic climber Shauna Coxsey and TV adventurer Aldo Kane.

Coxsey said: "Every time I come to Kendal Mountain Festival I am blown away by all the amazing speakers who are sharing their stories and adventures from all over the world across different sports so it is a privilege that I can be involved in a small way.

"This year was obviously the culmination of a long journey for me to the Tokyo Olympics and I am looking forward to sharing my story with the festival."

Cllr Doug Rathbone, the mayor of Kendal, emphasised the significance of Kendal Mountain Festival to the town.

"I'm going to a couple of things starting on the Thursday, and then a couple of events over the weekend," he said.

"It's important to the town because it opens up the whole world to it really.

"It's important for local businesses because it brings a lot of people in, and it's a great showcase for the town."

He also commended the efforts of festival organisers in creating a 'hybrid' event that will allow people to watch much of the content digitally.

"It's now blended, some are online, and some are back to where we want to be, which is face to face," he said.

"You could almost say it's bigger and better than it was."

Tickets are still available for many of the sessions and can be purchased by visiting kendalmountainfestival.com