Friends of FINDRA - Faye Latham from Kendal Mountain Festival

Friends of FINDRA - Faye Latham from Kendal Mountain Festival

 Hi, please tell everyone where you are based and what you do!

Hey! I’m Faye and I live in the Lake District, but am originally from North Wales. I’m a poet and writer and lover of all things outdoors. In 2022 I published my debut poetry collection, British Mountaineers (Little Peak Press), a collection featuring over 60 erasure poems which explore the history of mountaineering.

A couple of years ago I probably would have said I’m a climber. I still am, but I’m now much more comfortable with the ‘jack of all trades, master of, well…not much’ motto. As long as it’s something that will tire me out I’m happy, especially if there’s a chance for a long chat and a cuppa at the end.

Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?

The outdoors have always been a part of my life, and my first memory is of climbing a boulder when I was three with my dad. My dad was an avid climber back in the ‘80s, but when I was about 9 he developed Dupuytren's contracture, making it impossible for him to climb.

After a long break, I started climbing again when I went to university in Bristol. When I came back home to North Wales for the summer holidays, I took my dad out on his first rock route in years. It was a really special moment to enable that experience and to give him something back after all those years he spent looking after me in the mountains! 

As well as being generally an awesome guy, my dad is also the kindest person in the world. He instilled in me a love for the outdoors and a way of being outside that prioritises having fun and being safe. Whilst it’s great to push yourself and see what your body is capable of, it’s my dad who has taught me that the best day spent outside is one where the final stop is home.

What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?

That’s so hard! Any outdoor related adventure is great, but I am happiest when adventure is integrated into my day to day life. After living in cities for a number of years, I moved back to the countryside just over a year ago and having the outdoors on tap is beyond incredible.

Being able to climb after work in the summer (when the weather is good, it often isn’t!) or having fun in the snow during the winter is something I will never take for granted.


How do you manage to find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities, such as work or family?

Family and friends always come first for me - it’s never just about the trip or the challenge, but about the connections I make and the conversations I have along the way.

Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?

The outdoors are a vital part of maintaining my wellbeing, and regular bursts of outdoor time keep me happy.  Having said that, I don’t think that nature is the cure for everything. If we rely completely on the outdoors to make us feel better, that’s a lot of pressure we’re putting on ourselves and on the planet.

For a lot of people, getting battered by the wind and the rain can work as a kind of serotonin-shortcut - but that doesn’t mean it’s a bullet proof method for feeling better and it certainly doesn’t work for everyone. When I’m feeling down, going on an epic adventure isn’t always the best thing to do. Fundamentally, I believe that people need people. It’s okay to prioritise rest and to move slowly through a landscape, and talking to friends can do wonders.

You work for the Kendal Mountain Festival, what is it about your role that you particularly enjoy?

Kendal Mountain Festival is all about connection - to the outdoors and to people. My favourite thing about working for Kendal is meeting people, whether that be the authors, activists and adventurers joining us on stage, or the incredible people who attend our events. Talking to people and learning about the different ways that the outdoors has changed their lives is endlessly inspiring.

Why should our audience consider a trip to Kendal Mountain Festival this year?

Whether you’re a hard core mountaineer or a beginner looking to meet  like minded people, Kendal is a place for all. With film screenings, talks, art exhibitions, free family events and activities for all levels as well as ceilidhs and parties, Kendal really does have something for everyone. 

Has there been one particular event or exhibitor that stands out to you as being especially inspirational?

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing author, adventurer and former BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin on Tour in Caernarfon this year. We talked about her book, Fearless, where she travels the world in search of extraordinary women and undertakes some epic challenges including freediving under the ice in the dark in Finland and cycling across Argentina. Oh, and the best part - we got to speak about her epic six year battle for equal pay with the BBC - which she won!

Louise has recently joined Kendal as a Patron, and I couldn’t think of a better and more inspiring person to be our ambassador.

When did you discover FINDRA?

I discovered FINDRA last year whilst working for the Festival, where  Kendal collaborated with FINDRA on the incredible ‘Women On The Move’  session, featuring cycling legend Lee Craigie, Aneela McKenna of Mor Diversity, Alice Lemkes, Philippa Battye of The Adventure Syndicate and researcher Kat Jungnickel. 

Through a film and panel discussion, the event reimagined the fun women would have had in the 19th-century, pushing boundaries by transforming socially acceptable clothing into radical sports and activewear. 

The events Kendal and FINDRA have collaborated on are centred around women’s experiences in the outdoors and wellbeing. I can’t wait to see what we come up with for 2024!

You are a poet, is your work inspired by nature and the outdoors?

A lot of my work is inspired by the outdoors as well as the history of mountaineering. My debut poetry collection, British Mountaineers, is made using a process called erasure. Taking F. S. Smythe’s book of the same title written in 1942, I have used tippex, paint and thread to remove words on the page to reveal new poems.

In my collection, I work both with and against Smythe to tell a new story - one which puts vulnerability front and centre - and uses erasure as a means to turn the male-dominated history of mountaineering on its head. 

What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?

This isn’t really advice, but a friend once told me that kindness is the highest form of intelligence. I always try my best to remember that.

On writing this blog, what do you feel is the key motivational or inspirational message that you would like to highlight to our followers that would inspire them to get outdoors more?

Kindness is key - let’s spend time outside in a way that prioritises looking after both people and the planet.


Sunday Inspiration

Faye shares her inspiration, favourite poem, podcast, book and to finish, a song!  Enjoy!

Favourite Poem 

The Wild Iris by Louise Glück

Favourite Podcast

Uncanny by Danny Robins

Favourite Book

Drive your Plow over the Bones of The Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Favourite Song

Telegraph Road by Dire Straits


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