There are a number of factors which influence how difficult a walk is, including underfoot conditions, distance and ascent.
The walk gradings we use are only a guide. You should bear in mind that unlike some more congested hill walking areas, most of the walking routes in Galloway do not follow well defined footpaths. For both your enjoyment and the enjoyment of others, please choose walks which fit with your level of fitness and capability. Should you have any queries after having read the descriptions, please call us to discuss.
The five walk categories we use during the festival have the following typical characteristics:
Very strenuous - A true mountain adventure, often with difficult walking underfoot in Galloway's wildest locations. Distances are typically at least 16km (10 miles) with an ascent of typically over 1,000 metres (but sometimes much more). Suitable only for those with a high level of fitness and hillwalking experience.
Strenuous - Open hillside with some steep sections. Distances typically 10km (7 miles) to 15km (9 miles) with between 500m and 1000m of ascent. Suitable only for those with a good level of fitness.
Moderate plus - Generally on lower land across farmland, through forests or on the coast, usually on paths, but with some difficult sections. Distances of around 10km (7 miles) with typically around 300m of ascent.
Moderate - Generally on lower land across farmland, through forests or on the coast, usually on paths. Distances are generally 7km (4 miles) to 10km (7 miles) with only minimal levels of ascent but may include some exposed sections. A number of these walks are led by experts with a particular interest and hence are taken at a slower pace to allow for discussion along the route.
Easy - Generally level walks on paths or paved surfaces with a range of distances.
Walk 1-2 - Exploring Lochnaw Estate: Galdenoch to Leswalt
This interesting walk takes us to a new part of the North Rhins and includes two castles, a moor, sea views and a wooded glen. ** Walk fully booked **
Walk 2-4 - The Jewel of the South: Drummore to Mull of Galloway
This is a beautiful walk along the coastal path from the little village of Drummore to the most southerly point in Scotland at the Mull of Galloway.
Walk 2-7 - The Bye-Ways of Kirkcowan
This low-level walk features the varied landscape north of the pretty village of Kirkcowan and is new territory for Walkfest.
Walk 3-5 - Old Edinburgh Road: Craigdistant to Clatteringshaws
The Old Edinburgh Road, the historic route from Galloway to the capital, is now part forestry track, which makes for easier walking, and part rougher path.
Walk 3-7 - Knockeans and the Fell
This delightful route provides a mixture of open hill and woodland with a variety of interesting features on the way.
Walk 4-1 - Knockfell: The Matterhorn of the Machars
Starting on the busy A75 this new route heads out into the peaceful moors of the northern Machars. ** Walk fully booked **
Walk 4-3 - Kirkandrews to Gatehouse of Fleet (Supper Walk)
The distinctive turreted and castellated Kirkandrews Church is the starting point of this route. It was built by James Brown who moved to Knockbrex in 1900 and created a little kingdom of architectural curiosities which can be viewed along the way.
Walk 5-2 - Through the Land of the Maxwells: Archaeological Walk
This new route is accompanied by an archaeologist who will give insight into the many interesting features along the way.
Walk 5-4 - Galloway's Dark Sky (Night Walk)
Accompanied by a local astronomer, this route gives an opportunity to appreciate Galloway Forest Park's internationally renowned dark skies.
Walk 6-1 - Stinchar and Duisk Valleys: Colmonell to Barrhill
This South Ayrshire walk follows the valley of the Stinchar up-stream from Colmonell to Pinwherry and then heads south-east along its tributary, the Duisk, to Barrhill.
Walk 7-1 - Mossdale into the Hills
This route follows one of the most remote sections of the old railway line to Stranraer.
Walk 2-5 - The High Route to Clatteringshaws
This route gives a taste of the wilder side of Galloway and includes a visit to the memorial of the Dragonfly air accident in 1937.
Walk 2-6 - The Twa Luces
This walk starts at the Cistercian Abbey of Glenluce, the magnificent ruins of which are some of the best preserved in Scotland.
Walk 3-3 - Best of the Ayrshire Coast: Glenapp to Ballantrae
This walk offers the chance to explore Ayrshire's volcanic coast in the company of geological experts.
Walk 3-6 - Waterfalls and Bluebells: Fleet Valley
This walk, through the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area, will be accompanied by the Fleet Scenic Area Officer and offers spectacular views over the Fleet Bay.
Walk 5-3 - Southern Upland Way: Portpatrick to Stranraer
This route takes in the most westerly section of the Southern Upland Way. The picture postcard village of Portpatrick is the starting point and the route combines rugged cliffs with rolling countryside. ** Walk fully booked **
Walk 6-2 - Skyreburn: The Head of the Glen
This new route covers interesting terrain and starts at the road end to the Cambret mast on the Corse of Slakes road. ** Walk fully booked **
Walk 1-1 - Cairnsmore of Fleet
Walkfest 2017 starts and finishes with "Newton Stewart's Hill" - Cairnsmore of Fleet.
Walk 2-2 - Rig O' the Jarkness
This popular route will suit those who want to experience wild Galloway, but without the need to walk long distances or climb large ascents. ** Walk fully booked **
Walk 2-3 - A Tale of Two Villages: Barrhill to Barr
This walk starts in the South Ayrshire village of Barrhill and climbs up the valley to the east through fields and woods until it joins the old route to Barr village.
Walk 3-1 - Secret South Ayrshire: Lendalfoot to Ballantrae
This route starts at the memorial to the Russian Cruiser, Varyag with its intriguing history, and then follows the coast to the village of Lendalfoot.
Walk 3-2 - Shalloch on Minnoch
This walk in the northern Awfu Hand range includes a Corbett and a couple of Donalds in an area of outstanding natural beauty. ** Walk cancelled **
Walk 4-2 - The Merrick
No Walkfest could take place without one ascent of the highest point in southern Scotland. ** Walk fully booked **
Walk 5-1 - The Clachan of Dalry
This route explores the attractive Glenkens landscape around St. John's Town of Dalry.
Walk 6-3 - Clints of Dromore
Cairnsmore of Fleet is a National Nature Reserve managed by Scottish National Heritage and this walk crosses it from our start point at Dromore, where there is a visitor centre.
Walk 7-2 - Cairnsmore of Fleet: Both Tops
WalkFest 2017 starts with a climb of Cairnsmore of Fleet and finishes with the same high point, but the routes are quite different and as each highlights different aspects of this area, it is worth doing both for the comparison. Arguably this route is the more demanding.
Walk 2-1 - Walkfest Challenge: Mullwharchar
This is one of the most challenging routes in the WalkFest 2017 programme as it tackles every aspect of the Galloway Hills and only fit and experienced walkers should consider it.
Walk 3-4 - The Lamachan Challenge
This is the second of the big walks in this year's programme and deserves its classification as much of the route is on steep and rough ground and should only be considered by experienced and fit hill walkers.