The organisers of the 15th Newton Stewart Walking festival have hailed last week’s event a great success.
The excellent weather providing the perfect opportunity to showcase the many and varied walking opportunities to be found in the south west.
Ken McCubbin, vice chairman of the group of volunteers who organise the event, said: “The near wall-to-wall sunshine we enjoyed during this year’s festival made all our hand work worthwhile, with over 200 individuals taking part in over 400 walks.
“The event, which is now one of the longest running walking festivals in Scotland, would not take place without a huge amount of volunteer time, not least from the WalkFest committee themselves. We’re also very grateful for the help we receive each year from members of Galloway Mountain Rescue Team and from members of Wigtownshire Ramblers who guide many of our walks, as well as the staff at WRDC, the Belted Galloway, Cunninghams and our drivers. We are also lucky to be able to call on the help of many experts in the fields of geology, archaeology, flaura and fauna as well as history and astronomy from a range of local organisations who help transform many of our walks into learning experiences. This year we also launched a brand new website to promote the festival and made more extensive use of social media.
“We could not run the event in its current format without financial support and we thank those who backed the festival financially this year, including Dumfries and Galloway Council, Stewart R Cunningham Outdoor Stores, the Belted Galloway Visitor Centre and Scottish Power Renewables. Their generous support allows us not only to run the festival itself but also to publicise Newton Stewart as a “Walkers are Welcome” town.
“This year more than ever, we have tried to include routes which finish in other towns and villages and we were delighted to receive a warm welcome at the pubs and cafes we visited. Finally, and by no means least, we must thank the many landowners whose land we cross during the festival, and who each year not only welcome us onto their properties, but frequently help us find even more interesting routes through them.”
Ken added: “Planning will soon start for next year’s festival, and dates for the 16th Newton Stewart Walking Festival will be announced soon. You can keep up to date by signing up to our occasional electronic newsletter via our new website www.walkfestnewtonstewart.com or we welcome your comments via our website at any time.” The week-long festival included a programme of 29 walks which explored many areas of Galloway and crossed into southern Ayrshire on several occasions.