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What a load of rubbish!

With 2020 being the year that it is, Kendal Mountain Festival did an incredible job of adapting to change and putting together an incredible virtual event!

As well as all the awesome films and presentations, there were also some very cool activities taking place outside the recording studio. Earlier on in the festival we had our pro mountain bikers (including my very awesome pal Monet Adams) doing their bit for the ‘Trash Free Trails’ campaign, by collecting rubbish whilst out enjoying the local trails. The festival then finished off with the annual ‘Paddle Pickup’. Obviously things had to be a bit different this time around, so instead of a mass gathering on the River Kent, the aim was to encourage paddlers all over the country (and the world!) to get involved on their own local river!

A small number of paddlers involved with KMF (including myself) took to the River Kent, armed with our litter grabbers! Within only a mile-long stretch of the river, we found enough rubbish along the river banks and in the river itself, to fill a 6-person raft, a canoe and our kayaks!


As well as loads of drinks bottles, cans and plastic bags, we also found a surprising amount of shoes, clothes and old toys. Plus a total of 51 GOLF BALLS!!


Although it couldn’t be the big Paddle Pickup event it normally is, the message was still clear. We have a responsibility to look after our amazing outdoors and give back to the environments that have given us so much. We gain an amazing amount from being outside, so let’s make protecting it a priority.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re in to, please please please start doing your bit. If we can all do just do one small thing, we can make huge change. Maybe once a month, whether you’re on the river, on your bike or even out walking the dog, fill a bag with litter to throw away and recycle.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming thinking how to make a difference when the overall problem is dauntingly massive, but together we can do awesome things!

‘I’ve often wondered what I can do to look after the places I go to paddle, as I’ve regularly seen litter on the bank and in the river, but the scale of the challenge can seem pretty daunting.  I realise now that just doing a little bit and picking up just one thing and taking it away for proper disposal or recycling can make a real difference.  I’m going to make it my mission from now on to have a little bag with me any time I am on the river or out exploring on foot and to pick up at least one thing.  Whilst it might not feel like it makes much of a difference at the time, if all of us do a little something on the rivers and trails that we regularly go to it will really add up and we can have a positive impact on these places’

Chris Brain, Pyranah Kayaks Team Paddler and Whitewater Kayaker

‘Cleaning up our natural world is one of the simplest and most rewarding things we can do to give back to the places we play, and often time leads to a feeling of empowerment for people to further stand up against the destruction of our playgrounds’

Cal Major, Palm Team Paddler and Stand-Up Paddle Boarder

Kendal Mountain Festival Sal Montgomery Live Interview:

Kendal Mountain Festival Palm and Pyranha Paddlesports Session: