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 - War Memories: Baldoon to Wigtown
This is an easy walk along flat tracks around the coast and explores the old airfield at Baldoon
Walk 2-7 - The Back Road to Creetown
This easy afternoon walk combines a visit to the Cambret Hill with a woodland walk through Balloch wood to finish for refreshments in Creetown.
Walk 3-5 - The Path to Kindness
This route offers a leisurely walk along the beautiful Water of Trool, through the village of Glentrool and along the ‘kindness path’ to finish at a local pub.
Walk 3-6 - Salmon conservation on the Penkiln
This is a walk with a difference as the highlight is a visit to the salmon hatchery on the Penkiln Burn where we will learn about the work under way to improve salmon stocks on the local river system. After the visit we will enjoy a short walk meandering down into Newton Stewart
Walk 4-3 - Walking the River Dee
This low level riverside walk along the River Dee around Kirkcudbright offers both historical and natural history interest. The walk will be accompanied by a local history expert and is mainly on paths with some paved surfaces and is almost all level, so is suitable for a wide range of people.
Walk 5-4 - Supper walk: The Paddy Line to Castle Cary
This is the easier of the two supper walk routes we are offering (the other being walk 5-3), combining a great walk with an evening meal at the Laird’s Inn, Creetown (supper not included in price). This route is for those who like a more leisurely pace, without hills, but still with fine views.
Walk 7-3 - Manxman's Lake
This new route on the outskirts of Kirkcudbright provides a mix of lovely woodland paths, coastal trails with views out to sea and inland tracks. It is on paved surfaces or well marked paths and so is suitable for a wide range of abilities.
Walk 2-4 - Rhins coastal path: part 1
This is the first of two routes exploring what will become the northern most section of the Rhins Coastal Path. It explores the rugged north west coast of the Rhins finishing at the iconic Corsewell Lighthouse
Walk 3-7 - The Romany Bridge
This is a delightful low level walk which follows the Southern Upland Way from Bargrennan to Stroan Bridge, via a rather distinctive bridge. There should be bird song to enjoy along the entire route and with the Waters of Minnoch never far away, it is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Walk 4-1 - The Geology of Balcary Cliffs
This coastal walk is full of interest and includes one of the most spectacular clifftop sections of the Galloway coast. We will be accompanied by a local geologist, who will help us to understand the dramatic rock formations and teach us more about how man has used the valuable resources of the area
Walk 5-3 - Supper walk: Cairnsmore Viaduct to Castle Cary
This is the more challenging of the two supper walk routes (the other being walk 5-4), combining a great walk with an evening meal at the Laird’s Inn, Creetown (supper not included in price). This route offers fine views over the Cree Estuary and a good leg stretch to work up an appetite.
Walk 6-2 - The Jewel of the South: Drummore to the Mull of Galloway
This walk gives us the chance to explore the most southerly point in Scotland , the Mull of Galloway, with it's many attractions
Walk 1-1 - Bennan
This is a new walk over farmland and moor with few paths, and it will give a good stretch of the legs at the beginning of Walkfest.The two tops of Bennan and Fell of Eschoncan provide views of many of the tops to be tackled later in the week.
Walk 2-2 - Fell O'Fleet
This route explores some wild areas in the heart of Galloway, but also links two striking man made features – Clatteringshaws Dam and the Big Water of Fleet Viaduct.
Walk 2-5 - Waterfalls and Bluebells: The Fleet Valley
This is a lovely walk through the lower Fleet Valley National Scenic Area, with its spectacular views over Fleet Bay, finishing in the attractive town of Gatehouse of Fleet.
Walk 2-6 - Wood of Cree and Loch Middle
This route, which featured in a night walk a couple of years ago, passes through the RSPB’s Wood of Cree reserve, and onto the higher ground behind uses forest roads, making it easy walking, and giving us frequent opportunities to appreciate the constantly changing aspects and views.
Walk 3-2 - Rhins Coastal Path: Part 2
Part two of our exploration of the Rhins Coastal Path walk starts off where walk 2-4 ended near Corsewall Lighthouse. It is a delightful walk around the northern tip of the Rhins peninsula and provides continuous sea views out to sea, including the North Channel, Clyde Estuary and the hills beyond.
Walk 3-3 - Crossing the Border
This route along the eastern side of Loch Ryan is steeped in history, and provides some great views of the busy ferry port below.
Walk 4-2 - A Cree Valley Conga
This route of contrasts meanders downstream through the woods and fields of the Cree Valley to finish in Newton Stewart.
Walk 5-2 - The Waters of Fleet
This route gives us the chance to discover some of Galloway’s diverse wildlife and enjoy the spectacle of the bluebell carpeted oak woods before heading up the valley of the Little Water of Fleet and over the Doon of Culreoch with fine views below.
Walk 6-3 - A Tale of Two Rivers
This route explores the watery, forested and remote areas around the border between Dumfries and Galloway and South Ayrshire.
Walk 7-1 - Beneraird
** SORRY- THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This is a new route to Walkfest, taking in parts of South Ayrshire and Wigtownshire with the top of Beneraid right on the border. It is a remote and rarely visited top but at 439 metres it is worth the effort.
Walk 1-2 - Millfore
This route across Millfore explores the Minnigaff Hills – an often overlooked area when visiting Galloway, which is unfortunate as they offer a different experience where wilderness and solitude are key features.
Walk 2-3 - The Drover's Road
This route follows in the footsteps of our ancestors who took their animals annually to the market in Ayr, so is an area rich in history.
Walk 3-1 - Mochrum Fell and Barwhillanty
This route explores an area completely new for WalkFest and provides an exciting linear route encompassing a variety of different landscapes including open fields, lochside, standing and clear-felled forest and open moorland.
Walk 3-4 - The Merrick
** SORRY - THIS WALK IS FULLY BOOKED ** No Walkfest would be complete without at least one ascent of the highest top in the South of Scotland, the Merrick. This route has the Merrick as the only summit, and from its location, the panoramic views are unsurpassed.
Walk 5-1 - Cairnsmore of Carsphairn and ‘Blue Peter’ Spitfire crash site
** SORRY - THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This route explores the highest of the Galloway Cairnsmores, and a Corbett to boot, Cairnsmore of Carsphairn.
Walk 6-1 - Striding over Benbrack
** SORRY- THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This route takes us to some of the wildest and highest countryside featured along the route of the Southern Upland Way. The Striding Arch, a sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy on the summit of Benbrack is a highlight, and indeed the high point of this walk.
Walk 7-2 - Cairnsmore of Fleet
Our route up Cairnsmore of Fleet this year avoids the well known tourist path in favour of a more challenging ascent and a steep descent to finish at Talnotry.
Walk 2-1 - Walkfest Challenge: The Three Corbetts
** SORRY - THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This is one of the classic big walks in Galloway covering three ranges in one day. However, due to the distance, terrain and ascent of 5 separate tops over 700 metres only supremely fit walkers should consider choosing this challenge.