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).
Note: The route descriptions below relate to the 2023 festival programme, and are included to give a flavour of the types of walks we offer - they do not detail the programme for WalkFest 2024 - this will be added in the spring of 2024
Walk 1-3 - Walk the Line to Threave Estate
This walk, in the company of an expert guide and National Trust for Scotland Rangers, offers the chance to experience the historic route of the Kirkcudbright branch railway line and the exciting landscape restoration project underway at Threave Estate near Castle Douglas.
Walk 2-7 - The Byways of Newton Stewart
This route will explore some of the hidden paths and forgotten back roads of Minnigaff and Newton Stewart while discussing the history and old stories of the area
Walk 3-6 - Stairhaven Cliffs
** SORRY THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This cliff top walk provides stunning views across Luce Bay throughout, and will be taken at a comfortable pace so we can enjoy our surroundings.
Walk 4-2 - Carrick and Cally
This popular walk in the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area includes costal views, bluebell woods and plenty of history.
Walk 6-4 - Supper walk: The Paddy Line to Castle Cary
This is the easier of the two supper walk routes we are offering 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 view
Walk 1-1 - Cruggleton Heughs
This coastal route links two of the area’s most picturesque harbour villages, the Isle of Whithorn and Garlieston, with plenty of wildlife and historical interest along the way.
Walk 2-5 - Southern Uplands Way: West from Bruce's Stone
This route includes one of the most popular stretches of the Southern Upland Way along the lovely south side of Loch Trool and then follows the Water of Trool to finish at the former forestry village of Glentrool.
Walk 2-6 - Glenkens Forest Trails
This route explores Loch Stroan, the mature conifer forests overlooking Loch Ken, and finishes in the attractive village of New Galloway.
Walk 3-3 - The Two Monuments
This interesting Stewartry route, covering a variety of terrain from moor to country lane and woodland, takes in two very different monuments – one commemorating Covenanters and the second commemorating the inventor of the hot blast furnace.
Walk 3-4 - Walk and Wild Swim Loch Trool
This walk and wild swim is a first for WalkFest. We are delighted to be working with Sarah Redman of “Swim the lochs” to provide the opportunity to experience picturesque Loch Trool from all angles.
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.
Walk 4-3 - The Papa Ha Trail
This pleasant walk explores some of the many paths through Kirroughtree Forest, including parts of the Papa Ha path, the Bruntis Lochs and the Lade Path.
Walk 5-3 - Whithorn's Pilgrim's Way
** SORRY THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This pleasant route through the rolling Machars countryside towards the ancient burgh of Whithorn, Ninian’s Candida Casa, follows in the footsteps of generations of pilgrims.
Walk 6-3 - A Woodland Route to Newton Stewart
This stroll into the heart of Newton Stewart starts at the Forest visitor centre at Kirroughtree and explores the woodlands to the west of the town.
Walk 7-3 - Rocks and Mines
This route will explore the geology and mining heritage of the area with our geology expert.
Walk 2-3 - Kirkmabreck Trio
This route takes in three of the peaks of the Kirkmabreck Parish (Cambret, Larg and Knockeans), with a day exploring the area inland from the coastal village of Creetown.
Walk 2-4 - An Ancient Landscape: Monreith to Port William
This route explores the rich archaeology of the south east Machars, accompanied by the Regional Archaeologist.
Walk 3-5 - The Fleet Valley: A Scenic Delight
This route winds down through the picturesque Fleet Valley, taking in rushing uplands burns, bluebell woodlands and a good sprinking of history.
Walk 5-2 - Southern Upland Way: East from Bruce's Stone
**SORRY - THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This route follows a 20km section of the Southern Upland Way from Bruce’s Stone, overlooking Loch Trool, to Clatteringshaws.
Walk 6-2 - Glenkens Villages
This exploration of the Glenkens, in the company of a leader with a wealth of local knowledge offers a real Insight into the diverse landscapes of the Glenkens – a part of Galloway with a particularly strong sense of local identity.
Walk 7-2 - North Rhins Coastal Path
** SORRY - THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This coastal route takes in the northern most section of the Rhins Coastal path – an 83 mile circular route which circumnavigates the Rhins peninsular.
Walk 1-2 - The Black Gutter
This route is a great way to explore the Galloway Hills, including a dramatic ascent of Merrick, the highest point in the south west of Scotland.
Walk 2-2 - Corserine
The Rhinns of Kells can always be relied upon to provide an exhilarating hill-walk and this route includes a ‘good leg stretch’ along this popular ridge. Taking in the major tops of Corserine and Meikle Millyea, Millfire, Milldown and Meikle Lump are all also crossed.
Walk 3-2 - Haggis Hill
This South Ayrshire route is in a remote and largely uninhabited areas to the east of Barr village. Although surrounded by the vast Carrick Forest, the route itself is tree free, meaning that great views can be enjoyed throughout.
Walk 4-1 - A Day in the Minnigaff Hills
** SORRY THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This route explores the wild uplands to the south of Loch Trool, taking in the summits of Mulldonoch, Lamanchan, Larg and Garlick Hills
Walk 5-1 - Cairnsmore of Fleet: A Wild Place
** SORRY - THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This route explores one of south west Scotland’s wildest landscapes, and a WalkFest favourite, Cairnsmore of Fleet
Walk 6-1 - Curleywee
This route explores Curleywee, one of the most distinctive peaks in the Galloway Hills.
Walk 7-1 - 5@Dalry
This route explores the ring of modest hills which surround St John’s Town of Dalry.
Walk 2-1 - Walkfest Challenge: Devil's Granite Gateway
** SORRY - THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This challenging walk will provide spectacular scenery and views over the Galloway countryside and will show the true meaning of walking in the Galloway tussocks.
Walk 3-1 - Awful Hand
This challenging route uses the Awfu’ Hand to capture no fewer than two Corbetts and five Donalds in a day and will provide a day that will last long in the memory.