Organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival are delighted to announce that Mikayla Parton, 23-year-old Scottish elite downhill mountain bike racer from Fort William, is the sixth recipient of The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture, sponsored by West Highland College UHI.
The festival’s youth ambassador award, established in 2015, celebrates adventurous young people, the landscapes they choose to explore and the outdoor pursuits in which they excel. The young winner needs to have shown resilience and determination to succeed within their chosen area of expertise, shown results through their own efforts and ideas, given back to their community, whilst being thought of as an example of excellence by others.
Mikayla Parton epitomises these winning principles perfectly. Her meteoric rise to the top of the international downhill mountain bike race scene, from riding her first trail bike in 2015 to placing fifth at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships 2020, in just five years can be attributed to an obvious raw talent, constant hard work, dedicated training, motivation, focus and a dogged determination for success.
Mikayla Parton said: “I am pretty shocked and very grateful to receive this fantastic award. It’s pretty cool to have my name alongside the likes of Shauna Coxsey . It was very unexpected and still is! Thank you so much to the Mountain Festival.”
Mikayla was late to the sport of mountain bike racing. She got her first downhill bike, aged about 17, competing in her first race at Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders just a week later. From that moment on she was addicted – the adrenaline, the tracks, the people, the noticeable progression.
Her first downhill race win came at Nevis Range in May 2017. After multiple wins over the next year and a half in the Senior Women’s category she made the giant leap to the Elite racing circuit. In 2019 Mikayla was not only crowned Scottish Downhill Champion, she also grabbed her first Elite podium finish, 2nd place, in the final round of the UK National Downhill Series. She competed in her first race overseas and in her first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup races.
Despite the pandemic in 2020 Mikayla had a fantastic race season. She was Great Britain’s highest placed Women’s Elite finisher at her first UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, at Leogang, Austria, in an impressive fifth place, with two top ten results on the World Cup circuit.
Lydia Rohmer, Principal and Chief Executive, West Highland College UHI, said: “West Highland College UHI continue to be privileged to sponsor The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture. We are delighted that this year’s recipient is not only an Alumni from our School of Adventure Studies, but that Mikayla remains committed to her sport and her own development; it’s what this award is all about. The qualities of resilience and determination are what we endeavour to instil in all our students. We wish to send our congratulations to Mikayla and wish her every success in her future career.”
Mikayla Parton is an extremely talented professional downhill racer, known on the international racing circuit as a ‘Privateer’. She doesn’t have the backing and benefits of a factory racing team, rather she has the support of a few loyal sponsors including Greenpower, Nevis Range, Trek Bikes, and Endura. She foots the bills for her pro-racing career herself, making her own travel plans and logistics arrangements and keeping her own bike race-ready, whilst calling in favours wherever she can.
Chris O’Brien, CEO of Nevis Range, said: “We are delighted to see Mikayla Parton being honoured with such a fantastic award. Having achieved so much at the highest level of Downhill Mountain Biking in such a short period of time, it is thoroughly deserved.
“With such hard work and determination, we are excited to see Mikayla progress even further in the next few years. We are very proud to have her as part of the Nevis Range family, a true inspiration to the Mountain Biking Community of Fort William!”
In order to make ends meet she is a soap scientist, handmaking soap and skincare products for The Highland Soap Company. She has also been part of the Nevis Range Ski School team for many years, working as an instructor in the winter months.
Paddy Cuthbert | Littlehouse Media | E: [email protected]
M: +44 (0)7913 951717
Images attached: Mikayla Parton. Please Credit Dave MacLeod
For hi-res downloadable images go to https://www.dropbox.com/sh/x0mhqnga4r74qs9/AACWE63yO7dnaVhA3VIzoKEDa?dl=0 Please credit Dave MacLeod
Notes to Editors:
The Fort William Mountain Festival on digital:
Festival programme – https://mountainfestival.co.uk/tickets/events/
Festival Showreel 2021 – https://vimeo.com/ondemand/fwmf/
Website – https://mountainfestival.co.uk
Mountain Culture Awards – https://mountainfestival.co.uk/culture-awards/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mountainfestival/
Vimeo – https://vimeo.com/fwmf
Hashtag – #fwmf2021
The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture
The prestigious Scottish Awards for Excellence in Mountain Culture recognise the achievements and accomplishments of inspiring individuals and their outstanding contributions to Scotland’s outdoor culture; encompassing sport, theatre, art, photography, film and literature.
The award was set up in 2008 by the Highland Mountain Culture Association Ltd, organisers of the Fort William Mountain Festival. The 2020 Award is sponsored by JAHAMA Highland Estates. The Youth Award, established in 2015, is sponsored by West Highland College UHI (School of Adventure Studies).
Previous Recipients of The Scottish Youth Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture are:
2020 – Tim Miller
2019 –Rob Cochrane
2018 – Shauna Coxsey
2017 – Robert Mackenzie
2016 – Natalie Berry
2015 – Zeki Basan
Recipients of The Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture are:
2021 – Dave Morris
2020 – Colin Prior
2019 – Noel Williams
2018 – Cameron McNeish
2017 – Dr Hamish Brown MBE
2016 – Mick Tighe
2015 – Robin Campbell
2014 – Andy Nisbet
2013 – Myrtle Simpson
2012 – Dr Adam Watson
2011 – Ian Sykes
2010 – Jimmy Marshall
2009 – Richard Else
2008 – Dr Hamish MacInnes
The Fort William Mountain Festival 2021 runs on-line from Wednesday 19 to Sunday 25 February 2021 – https://mountainfestival.co.uk
Ticket pricing and viewing terms and conditions:
£10 per selected film category
£60 – Full Festival Pass: Includes all categories except for the BANFF Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour
£10 – BANFF Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour
Online Viewing terms and conditions
Tickets on sale, (on-line), from 0.00hrs (GMT) 19 February to 24.00hrs (GMT) 25 February 2021
Viewing period for selections, except BANFF Mountain Film Festival World Tour, is 30 days from time of purchase
BANFF Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour is NOT included in the Festival Pass
BANFF Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour conditions:
Tickets for sale (on-line) from 19th February to 25th February 2021
Viewing Period for BANFF Mountain Film Festival World Tour – 48 hours from time of purchase
Sponsors and supporters
The Fort William Mountain Festival 2021 programme is sponsored by Ellis Brigham, Patagonia, University of the Highlands and Islands, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, JAHAMA Highland Estates and The John Muir Trust.
The Festival is also supported by the Nevis Landscape Partnership, The Outdoor Capital UK, the Highland Council. Rare Breed Productions, Abacus Mountain Guides, Nevis Range, Lamont Design, The Highland Cinema and the Highland Bookshop
The Highland Mountain Culture Association Limited
Festival organisers, The Highland Mountain Culture Association Limited, is a not-for-profit organisation, whose aim is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the world’s mountain places and people, by creating opportunities for people of all ages to share their mountain experiences, ideas and visions. To showcase these ideals, it stages annually a programme of events within the Lochaber area, called The Fort William Mountain Festival.
The Outdoor Capital of the UK
The Outdoor Capital of the UK is Lochaber Chamber of Commerce’s tourism brand, promoting adventure for all! The Chamber publicises, sponsors and promotes Fort William and Lochaber as the best place in the UK for everyone to experience the outdoors; with a view to developing local jobs and wealth and encouraging sustainable economic growth. This is done through a range of collaborative marketing initiatives and activities. The organisation currently has a wide range of member businesses ranging from accommodation, food and drink and activity providers to non-tourism focused businesses who support the aims of the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and acknowledge that tourism is crucial to the local economy. Many of these businesses are SMEs and by pulling resources and working as a team the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce achieves the positive results that individually the members couldn’t otherwise reach. The Chamber also produces the Outdoor Capital of the UK website, the go to site for local events, outdoor activities and visitor accommodation in the area. www.outdoorcapital.co.uk / www.lochaberchamber.co.uk.