Newton Stewart Walking Festival celebrates 20 years

To mark this milestone, the week-long festival, which runs from 10th to 16th May, will include two multi day challenges.

The first, branded “The Ring of Fire” explores the three distinctive ranges which make up the Galloway Hills: the Minnigaff Hills; the Rhinns of Kells and the Awful Hand Range, over three days.

The second covers the westernmost 45 miles of the Southern Upland Way over 4 days from Portpatrick to Glentrool. The 212 mile long distance path is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2024 and so an evening talk on the story of the Southern Upland Way from route ranger Tom Henry has been included in the schedule.

The festival programme of thirty walks showcases the full range of walking opportunities that Galloway has to offer, including coastal walks, forest trails and plenty of hill tops. There is even the chance for a wild swim in Loch Trool, a late evening walk on Cairnsmore of Fleet to enjoy the sunset, and a fascinating exploration of the archaeology of the area north of Newton Stewart.

Bookings have been flooding in, and several walks are already fully booked, but there are still opportunities to be part of this long-running and popular celebration of Galloway’s landscape and heritage.

This year’s festival has been possible due to the generous support of Kilgallioch Community Fund, Stewart R Cunningham Outdoor Centre and The Belted Galloway Visitor Centre. The festival is one of only a handful of events certified as supporting the principles of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. Newton Stewart is one of only four places in Scotland designated as a Walkers Are Welcome town, so a warm welcome is assured.

The full festival programme is available on the festival’s website www.walkfestnewtonstewart.com. Bookings can be made online via the website. You can also keep up to date via the festival’s Facebook page.