A Paralympic gold medallist, two esteemed arctic explorers, and more than 30 films are on the bill for this year'sPeebles Outdoor Film Festival.
The 3-day event features awe-inspiring talks, screenings, and even some adventure-based activities around the Tweed Valley organised by local groups.
Now in it’s 6th year, the festival which is held at Peebles’ Eastgate Theatre, is expected to draw in around 1500 visitors to the Borders.
Sharing tales of skiing solo to the south pole and kayaking the length of Alaska are husband and wife team Luke and Hazel Robertson.
They are Explorers in Residence for the Royal Scottish Geographical Society as well as arctic guides for The Polar Academy, a charity which transforms the lives of young people.
“These expeditions became a lot more about encouraging and inspiring others to achieve things they might have never thought possible”
“The Polar Academy takes young people who are struggling with anxiety, low self-esteem, often bullying,” says Luke.
“And takes them on an 11-month training programme where they learn everything from camping skills to cooking skills, navigational skills, everything you need to be able to lead an arctic expedition and then ultimately we take them up to Greenland where they lead an expedition with us.”
“It’s amazing watching their transformation over the time we spend with them,” adds Hazel.
“What they have which they don’t realise is this amazing resilience that’s built in because they’ve had to deal with these really tough times but we can see that, and just help them unlock it.”
For Luke, his adventures took on a whole new meaning after he suffered a series of health complications at a young age. In his early 20’s he was fitted with a pacemaker, and shortly after underwent brain surgery. But he hasn’t let that stop him.
“These expeditions became a lot more about encouraging and inspiring others to achieve things they might have never thought possible,” he said, “We can do amazing things if we push ourselves.”
And it seems to be women adventurers taking centre stage this year. The programme includes Karen Darke, the hand cycling Paralympic gold medallist, natural history presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff, and world record breaking cyclist Jenny Graham.There’s also the chance to participate in cycles, yoga, and camping around theTweed Valley over the weekend.
Organiser Rich Rowe believes the local heroes are as important as the big names, “It’s about stories people can relate to,” he said.
”I think it’s very important that it’s not just chest beating, adrenaline type stuff. We don’t want a bunch of elite athletes watching a bunch of elite athletes, it’s much better have real people in the audience listening to real people.
“There’s an element of inspiration, we hope people come away thinking I could do something like that. But then other films are so out there you’re just watching in pure awe.”