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 20km (12 miles) or more and 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 15km (9 miles) to 20km (12 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 vary, but are typically around 15km (9 miles) with several hundred metres of ascent.
Moderate - Generally on lower land across farmland, through forests or on the coast, usually on paths. Distances are around 10km (6 miles) to 14km (9 miles) with a few hundred metres of ascent. 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 distances typically of up to 10km (6 miles).
Walk 1-3 - The Papa Ha Trail
There are many small paths through the forest around Kirroughtree and this easy afternoon walk explores some of them.
Walk 2-7 - Galloway Untamed: Craigdistant to Auchenleck
This easy route, using forest tracks, gives you the chance to feel as if you are in the Galloway Hills without the climbing.
Walk 3-7 - The old railway line: Creetown to Kirroughtree
This gentle afternoon route follows the old Paddy Line, the railway between Dumfries and Stranraer which closed in 1965 as one of Dr Beeching's cuts but which has found a new lease of life as a walking and cycling path.
Walk 5-3 - Supper walk: Monreith to Port William
This short late afternoon walk provides the opportunity to work up an appetite for an evening meal in the Clansman restaurant overlooking the square in Port William
Walk 6-2 - A morning stroll: Innerwell to Garlieston
This morning walk explores the coastal woodland paths around the attractive harbour village of Garlieston and finishes with lunch at a local inn
Walk 1-2 - Discovering the Drystane Dykes of the Cally Woods
This route explores one of the often over looked man-made wonders of the Galloway landscape - drystane dykes.
Walk 2-3 - Seeking the source: Corrafekloch to House O'Hill
Walk 2-5 - Solway Smugglers: Gull Craig to Brighouse
This is a captivating coastal walk along the shore of the Solway with its history of smuggling, shipwrecks, murder and mystery.
Walk 3-3 - Every name tells a story: St Ninans Cave to Isle of Whithorn
Discover the stories behind the coastline between St Ninian’s Cave and the Isle of Whithorn, where the rugged coast-line of Burrow Head provides spectacular views, and the meaning of place names reveal stories of lucky escapes and pilgrimages or mark good fishing spots and the haunts of seabirds.
Walk 3-4 - The old military road: Gatehouse to Creetown
This inland route, using country roads, travels through a variety of habitats.
Walk 4-3 - Gatehouse by the back door
This new route into the Fleet Scenic Area offers an unchallenging moderate walk on forest roads and woodland paths.
Walk 7-1 - Southern Upland Way: The Luce to Castle Kennedy
This walk follows the Southern upland Way from the moors above New Luce to the manicured gardens of Castle Kennedy.
Walk 7-3 - Take the High Road: Laggan to Carsluith
This walk offers a bit of everything – a section on tarred road, farm tracks, a short steepish cross-country section, historic interest and spectacular views throughout
Walk 2-2 - The Shire Moors: Cairnryan to New Luce
This route over the moors east of Loch Ryan goes from the hustle and bustle of the ferry port of Cairnryan to finish in the tranquil village of New Luce
Walk 2-6 - Newton Stewart to Drannandow: Archaeology walk
This walk has been designed by and is accompanied by our local and very knowledgeable archaeologist and discovers the archeology interest around Minnigaff
Walk 3-2 - Mourne's View
A coastal route with views over to the Mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland
Walk 3-6 - Cairnharrow's Neolithic past
Despite being quite short, this route includes rough ground and a steep climb up Cairnharrow but you are rewarded with some fascinating history and some great views.
Walk 4-2 - Manxman's Rock: Geology walk
This walk from Knockbrex to Brighouse has geological and historical interest all along the route and a geologist will highlight the main features.
Walk 5-2 - A Smugglers’ Coast: Dundrennan to Balcary Bay
An attractive coastal route with plenty of wildlife and historic interest
Walk 1-1 - Cairnsmore of Fleet northerly
A popular walk to the summit of Cairnmore of fleet, with the route north giving a different aspect and wonderful northerly views.
Walk 3-1 - Curleywee: Galloway's Highland Peak
This route climbs one of Galloway's most distinctive peaks, Curleywee, with its craggy top.
Walk 3-5 - Gentle Merrick
This route climbs the south of Scotland's highest hill, Merrick, but at a gentle pace and with plenty of help and support along with way.
Walk 4-1 - Deil's Boolin' Green
This walk explores the very heart of the Galloway Hills, with some fascinating natural features along the way.
Walk 5-1 - The southern Rhinns of Kells
The Rhinns of Kells can always be relied upon to provide an exhilarating hill walk and this year's route along this popular ridge takes in the major tops of Corserine and Meikle Millyea, with Millfire, Milldown and Meikle Lump all crossed along the way
Walk 6-1 - Across the Hand
This strenuous route takes in some of the wildest parts of Galloway, and with a northerly direction provides a whole different set of views compared to the more commonly walked route south.
Walk 7-2 - Billy Marshall's cave
This route over Cairnsmore of Fleet reveals more about a colourful Galloway character - Billy Marshall
Walk 2-1 - Walkfest Challenge
This year’s WalkFest Challenge covers a route combining most of the Awfu Hand Range with the Dungeon Range and will provide a day that will last long in the memory. Only those with considerable hill experience and high levels of fitness should consider this walk.