THE organisers of Newton Stewart Walking Festival have thanked those who supported their 10th anniversary event which finished last week.
Despite the somewhat mixed weather, hundreds of walkers from both near and far enjoyed exploring the hills, coastline and countryside of Galloway.
Pre-festival bookings for this year’s event proved very healthy, with a substantial increase on last year’s number of participants.
Chair of the festival committee Joan Mitchell said: “It’s testament to the great variety of walking opportunities in Galloway that visitors return to Newton Stewart Walking Festival year after year. Participating in the festival can also be a bit of an eye opener for local residents who gain a greater appreciation of the wonderful landscape we have on our doorstep. We were also delighted to welcome many walkers who have never visited the area before and who were so impressed with what Galloway has to offer that they have resolved to return again soon.”
Joan added: “The festival takes a lot of organising by a dedicated group of volunteers. I would like to pay tribute to them as well as everyone else who helps to make the event possible, including Galloway Mountain Rescue Team, WRDC Enterprise Trust, Stagecoach, the Belted Galloway Visitors Centre, our various expert guides and the ever-co-operative landowners whose ground we crossed. I would also like to thank the organisations and businesses who have supported this years’ walking festival financially, including the Dumfries and Galloway Leader programme, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Stewart R Cunningham Outdoor Centres. Finally thanks to the people of Newton Stewart for supporting the festival and making our walkers feel welcome.”
“We’re busy reviewing all the comments received from participants to find out what they enjoyed most and what they would like to see added or changed for next year’s festival.”
The dates for next year’s Newton Stewart Walking Festival will be 10th to 16th May 2013. Full details will appear on the festival website www.newtonstewartwalkfest.com in due course. Those interested in knowing more about the 2013 event as soon as it becomes available are encouraged to sign up to the free electronic newsletter via the festival website.
Meanwhile, Newton Stewart’s status as the Gateway to the Galloway Hills will be boosted when the walking festival and walkers are welcome initiative are showcased at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh in June. Organisers are working with other Dumfries and Galloway based outdoor activity groups to promote what the region has to offer to visitors to Scotland’s largest agricultural and countryside show.