EXPLORERS, extreme athletes and a cave diver who helped rescue a Thai football team are among those speaking at an festival celebrating adventure.

Durham Adventure Festival, which starts on Friday, will welcome guests including mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington, Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover and Jason Mallinson, who was part of the team which rescued Thailand’s Wild Boars football team from a cave in 2018.

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Mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington

The festival, which is being put on by Durham County Council, features a number of talks and films about adventurous expeditions and feats, as well as a number of activities, including a climbing wall and demonstrations by the 3Sixty bike display team.

Jo Cundall, arts programme manager at the Gala Theatre, Durham, which is hosting the festival, said: “Durham Adventure Festival is all about encouraging people to explore the outdoors, try new things and embark on their own adventures. The base camp is such a big part of this and we are thrilled to offer even more free films, speakers, activities and goodies the whole family will enjoy this year.

“A lot of the base camp activities are inspired by people and places in the North East so it is the perfect opportunity to find out what is on offer. You can even bring your dog along as canine adventurers will be welcome in the Gala during the festival.”

Other adventurers to take part in the three-day event are internationally renowned climber Leo Houlding and wildlife cameraman Doug Allan, who has filmed for TV programmes including Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life, Human Planet, Ocean Giants and Frozen Planet.

The 2011 European Adventurer of the Year winner Ed Stafford will also be appearing. The former British Army caption holds the Guinness World Record for being the first person to walk the Amazon River and he inspired millions by blogging throughout his two-and-a-half year journey around the world.

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Durham Adventure Festival takes place at the Gala Theatre, Durham

Champion boulderer Shauna Coxsey, who is hoping to take part in Olympics in Tokyo, which will feature climbing for the first time, and mountain runner Jenny Tough, Scottish endurance cyclist Jenny Graham, adventurer Laura Bingham and explorer Ash Bhardwaj are also taking part.

The event will see the theatre in Millennium Place turned into an Everest-style base camp, which will feature a free climbing wall, pop-up book shop, freebies and the chance to speak to outdoor experts from Montane and Cotswold.

There is also a free stage with a host of speakers and film screenings, which are curated in partnership with East Coast Visions.

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Extreme runner Jenny Tough, who was in Durham recently to speak to school children in the city

Now in its second year, the event is presented in partnership with Kendal Mountain Festival and is part of Durham County Council's year of culture, which it has dubbed #Durham19.

To view the full festival programme and to book tickets, visit www.durhamadventurefestival.co.uk or call the Gala box office on 03000 266600.