Walkfest’s 13th programme ready for weekend launch

Last year's walkers atop the Merrick
Last year's walkers atop the Merrick

Next year’s Newton Stewart Walking Festival will be officially launched tomorrow (Saturday) in a joint event with Galloway Mountain Rescue Team.

The provisional walks programme for the 2015 event, which will mark the festival’s thirteenth anniversary, will be available from the Stewart R Cunningham Outdoor Centre in the town’s Victoria Street.

Walk leaders will also be on-hand in store to provide information and advice on next year’s festival.

The 2015 festival will run from 8th to 14th May and will feature a programme of 29 walks as well as evening events.

Chair of the organising committee, Joan Mitchell, said: “Once again we have enjoyed preparing a programme which combines new areas and routes with variations on old favourites.

“For instance, for the first time we will tackle the eastern Stewartry’s granite hill, Criffel, and visit picturesque and historic New Abbey.

“In response to feedback from our customers we are also offering a larger number of easy and moderate walks, so we hope that the festival has something for everyone.”

The schedule includes an exciting and varied mix of tough hill walks taking in the Minnigaff Hills, Awfu’ Hand range, Cairnsmore of Fleet and the Rhins of Kells. There are coastal walks, old and new, woodland walks, evening and themed walks focusing on wildlife, geology or history.

“Many will feature landscapes described by Galloway novelist, S.R Crockett, in recognition of the centenary of his death.

The detailed festival programme will be available online and in booklet form in the new year, when online and telephone bookings will also open.

To keep up to date with the 2015 Newton Stewart Walking Festival sign up for the free festival newsletter at www.newtonstewartwalkfest.com.

The festival won a Scottish Thistle in 2013 and has welcomed visitors from the UK and abroad.