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Walking festival
Walking festival

Walkers from across the country will be descending on Galloway from this weekend for the12th Newton Stewart Walking Festival.

The award-winning event, which runs from today (Friday) until next Thursday, has once again attracted walkers from both near and far with its mix of walks and evening social events.

The festival features more than 30 guided walks and evening talks exploring the hills, countryside and coast of Galloway. Routes featured this year include several which take in the highest top in the south of Scotland, the Merrick.

Scotland’s most southerly point, the Mull of Galloway, will also be visited while the festival ventures into South Ayrshire for the first time.

It will be the first annual event since the festival was awarded the Best Natural Based Experience award in South West and Central Scotland at Scotland’s tourism Oscars, the Scottish Thistle Awards, in autumn last year.

This year’s evening events programme includes a welcome dinner and a talk on Galloway’s historic places by local historian Lawrie Johnstonas well as a presentation from Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods on the many edible plants and fungi to be found in our countryside .

Joan Mitchell, chair of the group of volunteers who organise the festival said: “We are looking forward to welcoming many old friends back to Newton Stewart for what will be our twelfth festival.

“We are also delighted to be welcoming walkers to the area for the first time. With the temporary closure of the McMillan Hall, The Belted Galloway Visitor Centre , Newton Stewart will act as our main base for this year’s festival.

“We have put together what we believe is another varied programme, with many brand new routes and some old favourites.”

Registration for walks on Saturday and Sunday will take place at The Belted Galloway. On all other days registration will take place at WRDC Business Centre, 6-8 Queen Street, Newton Stewart.

McCullochs Coaches have teamed up with the WalkFest to provide transport. Details available on request.