Mark Beaumont at the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival

  • Mark Beaumont headlines the opening night of the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival - Fri, 22 Jan


Now very much a household name, global adventurer Mark Beaumont is one of the star turns at this year’s Peebles Outdoor Film Festival. We caught up with Mark ahead of his headline appearance at the festival this coming Friday evening (22 Jan)


You are best known for your two-wheel adventures and feats of endurance … why bikes, what got you started riding?

When I was 11 years old, I read in the Courier about a chap who cycled from John O’ Groats to Land’s End. I was inspired and set out to cycle across Scotland. After that, the journeys just got bigger and bigger!

You grew up in rural Perthshire … how important was your home patch in shaping your future life as an adventurer?

I had a rather wild start to life as I was home schooled and spent most of my time working and playing on the farm and in the forests and hills. So this freedom was definitely very formative.

Do you have a favourite adventure/expedition to date?

The World cycle will always have a special place because it was the first time I took on a dream on that scale. Leaving university in my early twenties, wide eyes, excited and seeing the world properly for the first time. You can never trump your first great journey.

Any particularly memorable moments that stand out?

I have travelled to about 125 countries in the last decade so I am spoilt for choice. One absolute highlight was rowing a boat 800 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the Nunavut Territory of Canada ... the vast ice fields, polar bears and beluga whales, the emptiness and the staggering beauty of the far north.

You’ve achieved plenty of firsts over the last decade … what feat are you most proud of?

The Cairo to Cape Town World Record is the hardest I have pushed myself mentally and physically, so as an athlete this has been my proudest achievement. 160 miles a day for 41 days through the Sahara, the Ethiopian Highlands and the great savannahs of southern Africa is tough going!

What do you love most about what you do?

I love the ability to push myself to my limits whilst exploring the world. I have never been a competition athlete, but have always been fiercely competitive with myself, wanting to smash World Records. The best part is then coming home, sharing the stories and hearing how they encourage others to take on their big ambitions in life. 

What is 2016 looking like for you … a busy schedule ahead?

There will be another addition to the Beaumont clan in the summer and so my grand adventures might be curtailed for a while! I can’t wait until my children are a bit older and to start to adventure with them. I am very much back on the bike after years of ocean rowing and other sports, so there will be some big rides in 2016, but as yet they are under wraps!

What advice would you give to aspiring young adventurers … youngsters who might like to follow in your footsteps?

The hardest part is getting to the start line. Everyone has dreams and it is so important to commit to making them happen. I would also encourage people to go on adventures for themselves, before trying to make a living from sharing them. It is a completely different experience living a journey through social media and cameras, than by yourself and for yourself. 

Finally, you’ll be speaking at the Peebles Outdoor Film Festival this coming Friday night. What can audiences expect from your chat?

I will be showing yet unseen footage from the Africa Solo expedition as well as telling stories from journeys around the Commonwealth. This will be sort of a fireside chat, with plenty of time to delve into the highs and lows of quite a few expeditions, bringing them to life through the photography. 


Further info

The Peebles Outdoor Film Festival 2016 runs from Fri 22 Jan to Sun 24 Jan. Mark Beaumont will present at 7.30pm, Fri 22 Jan. Festival tickets available now from the Eastgate Theatre Box Office on 01721 725777, or online. Look out for special day passes (£25 adult, £15 child) that include all films and speaker presentations on each of the three days. The full programme is available at

There is one speaker change, with adventure film-maker Jen Randall presenting on Saturday afternoon (in place of Sophie Radcliffe):

Jen Randall, Girls on Film, 2pm

A rising star in adventure film-making, Jen Randall talks about her distinctive approach to capturing compelling stories on screen, as well as showing several of her short films, including the wonderful Operation Moffat – a story of the wild life of Britain’s first female mountain guide, which won Best Climbing Film and the People’s Choice Award at the recent Kendal Mountain Festival. 


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