Fourteenth WalkFest starts this week

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The fourteenth Newton Stewart Walking Festival kicks off this coming Friday.

Organisers are confident the town will live up to its “Walkers Are Welcome” status and give walkers from both near and far a great week of rambling around Galloway’s hills, countryside and along its coast.

Joan Mitchell, chair of the group of volunteers who organise the event said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming back many friends and are also hearted at the number of people who are coming to WalkFest for the first time. We are also excited to be welcoming a big group of French visitors from Newton Stewart’s twin town of Marcoussis.”

Joan added: “This will be our fourteenth Walking Festival and each year we do our very best to come up with new and exciting routes. This year we are offering, for the first time, an overnight walk which, weather permitting, will be a great chance to see Galloway’s world famous dark skies. Safely in the hands of members of Galloway Mountain Rescue Team and will an expert astronomer on hand to provide a unique insight, walkers have the option of starting with an evening talk on Galloway’s dark skies (which is open to all) before heading out into the Dark Skies Park itself. The eight mile route from Craiencallie to Loch Trool will take us into the darkest corners of the park and should finish as the sun rises over Loch Trool.”

“It is testament to the sheer variety of walking routes in Galloway that it is possible to come up with something new each year. Another exciting new route for us is a lovely walk from Glengap on the Clyde coast to the attractive Luce valley. The route joins the old drove road from Ayrshire to Galloway and provides great views in all directions.”

“A second completely new route is one which follows the beautiful River Cree north of Bargrennan. Starting at the tiny hamlet to Knowe on the Southern Uplands Way, the route heads north away from the long distance path to Loch Mayberry, source of the River Bladnoch before heading east towards the Three Counties Pool. It then follows the River Cree, with its picturesque tumbling waterfalls, to finish at the House O’Hill at Bargrennan.”

WalkFest runs from Friday 6th to Thursday 12th May. The full festival programme, which features over 30 walks and other events, is available on the festival website at www.newtonstewartwalkfest.com. In addition, booklets are available in a selection of outlets throughout the region or you can call the booking line on 01671 404500.