Newton Stewart Waling Festival programme launched

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THE full programme for the 2013 Newton Stewart Walking Festival has now been launched and organisers have been hearted by the large number of early bookings.

The festival runs from 10th to 16th May and 2013 marks the event’s 11th anniversary. Once again walkers from all over the country will be able to experience the many and varied walking opportunities on offer in Galloway. 29 guided walks are being offered as part of the festival as well as an expanded selection of evening entertainment.

It is also the second year that organisers have teamed with promoters of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere to allow both local walkers and visitors the opportunity to learn more about what makes Galloway’s landscape so special and why last year UNESCO designated Galloway their first Biosphere Reserve in Scotland.

2013 is also being promoted as “The Year of Natural Scotland” – a celebration of Scotland’s wildlife and landscapes. The festival will be highlighting to a national audience some of Galloway’s best known landscapes as well as other, lesser known, corners of the region.

Joan Mitchell, chair of the organising committee said: “This year’s festival programme covers many of Galloway’s most iconic places. We’ll be visiting Scotland’s most southerly point – the Mull of Galloway, the highest hill in the south of Scotland – The Merrick, Galloway’s most photographed loch - Loch Trool and even Scotland’s National Booktown – Wigtown.”

“However, we will also be visiting some lesser known parts of the region – including many places the festival has never visited in its eleven year history. I’m always amazed that we manage to keep coming up with new routes and this year is no exception. We’ll be exploring new parts of the Machars moorland, discovering the coastal splendour of the Rhins and climbing some of the remote hills of the northern Glenkens. We sometimes describe Galloway as Scotland’s best kept secret but even for those who have lived here all their life there are new places to sample, secrets to uncover.”

“In addition, by using our team of experts in areas such as wildlife, archaeology and history we can really bring our routes to life and if you choose a route into the high hills of Galloway you know you will be in the safe hands of members of the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team.”

The festival’s fully refreshed website is now live at www.newtonstewartwalkfest.com. Bookings can be made online via the site, by calling the festival booking office on 01671 404500, or by calling in personally to the WRDC Business Centre in Queen Street, Newton Stewart. Brochures are now available in a selection of local outlets including libraries, tourist information centres and the Stewart R Cunningham Outdoor Centre in Newton Stewart.