Walk Gradings


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 1-3 - Cally Woods Gatehouse

This easy, level walk through the lovely Cally Woods at Gatehouse of Fleet in the company of a local expert offers a gentle start to Walkfest.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

Walk 7-3 - Blooming Gardens and Puzzled Monkeys: Castle Kennedy Gardens

This walk begins on the shores of Loch Ryan. It crosses the old military railway and climbs through farmland to the entrance of Lochinch estate.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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 **

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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 **

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

Walk 7-1 - Mossdale into the Hills

This route follows one of the most remote sections of the old railway line to Stranraer.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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 **

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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 **

Distance
Grade
Ascent

Walk 1-1 - Cairnsmore of Fleet

Walkfest 2017 starts and finishes with "Newton Stewart's Hill" - Cairnsmore of Fleet.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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 **

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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 **

Distance
Grade
Ascent

Walk 4-2 - The Merrick

No Walkfest could take place without one ascent of the highest point in southern Scotland. ** Walk fully booked **

Distance
Grade
Ascent

Walk 5-1 - The Clachan of Dalry

This route explores the attractive Glenkens landscape around St. John's Town of Dalry.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

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.

Distance
Grade
Ascent

May 2018


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Funding received from:
S R Cunningham
 
 
The Belted Galloway
 
 
Dumfries & Galloway Council