Tag Archives: Scotland

WALKING FESTIVALS 2010

Want to walk in Europe this year, but don’t want to organise it yourself or spend big bucks on a guiding company? Try joining a walking festival.

There’s been an encouraging surge in interest in my report on last year’s West Cork Walking Festival, so I thought I’d go for a tramp around cyberspace to see what’s on offer for 2010.

Walking festivals are a brilliant idea – locals get together to organise walks for a few days, set up some routes to showcase the best hikes in their area, ranging from easy strolls to challenging adventures, engage knowledgeable guides, charge a modest fee to cover costs, post details on a website and see who turns up.

West Cork attracted groups of 25-50 for each event, a good number, I thought – enough for everyone to meet a few people, but not so many that it was ever overwhelming. I arrived on my own and left having made some friends I’m still in contact with. Thanks to the guides I learned a lot about the area’s history and characters and thanks to the craik in the Irish pubs at the end of each day, a foine toim was had indeed.

These are some festivals I found coming up:

May 1-8 Caithness and Sutherland (Scottish Highlands)
www.walkcaithness.com

May 7-13 Newton-Stewart Walking Festival (Galloway Hills, Southern Scotland.)
www.newtonstewartwalkfest.co.uk

May 22-June 6 Lincolnshire Wolds (Lincolnshire, England)
www.woldswalkingfestival.co.uk

June 25-27. Mourne International Walking Festival. (County Down, Northern Ireland).
www.mournewalking.co.uk

July 1-4 Castlebar Walking Festival (Ireland’s wild west)
www.castlebar4dayswalks.com

Tuscany is advertising the Tuscan Coast and Islands Walking Festival from April 2 – October 10. That’s a long time to stay festive, but there’s a lot to see under the Tuscan sun. www.tuscanywalkingfestival.it

If you can add interesting festivals to this short list, please let me know about them in the comments box below.

Finally a word of warning.  On the web I found publicity for some  ‘festivals’ which were being run by commercial tour guiding companies. I have no reason to think they’re not interesting and  good value, but they were considerably more expensive than walking festivals run by local volunteers.

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Filed under Budget travel, England, Hiking, Ireland, Travel, Travel- Europe