Please read these notes carefully as they provide helpful information about talking part in our festival and enjoying your stay in our area.These guidelines are published to ensure your safety and enjoyment and we ask that you respect them at all times.
We have prepared a participant information pack which contains a downloadable and printable version of our guidance for walkers along with times for registration.
What you should know about our walks
Booking is essential and our preferred method is that you book and pay online via our website. You can make payment online using your credit or debit card - please note you do not need a Paypal account to make a booking. Telephone bookings and payment by cheque can still be accepted.
A full refund will be made if you cancel your booking up to and including 21st April 2022. No refunds will be made for cancellations made after 21st April 2022, but you are free to transfer the full value of your payment to other walks and events during the festival if there are spaces available (see special cancellation rules below if you have a positive Covid infection). If you are unable to attend a booked walk, please leave a message on the booking line on 07421 312 056 as early as possible so that your space can be offered to another walker.
We will run the festival in compliance with the Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time for the protection of all our participants and volunteers. Please bear in mind that the rules in Scotland may be different from those elsewhere and so we may ask you to comply with rules or guidance which are not currently in force in your home country. The current guidance from Scottish Government is available here.
In addition, for the added safety of participants and our volunteers we will ask you to wear a mask while travelling on our buses. Masks will not need to be worn while on the walks.
If you test positive for Covid-19 immediately prior to the festival, please do not attend the event and instead contact us as soon as possible prior to the start of the walk or event you have booked. This will allow us to offer you a full refund (even if this is after the cut off date for refunds mentioned above (21st April 2022)), and will enable us to offer you space to another walker.
You must register before joining your walk. Please ensure you arrive in good time to complete the registration process. This includes completion of the attached registration form. Registration for each walk opens around 30 minutes before the walk is due to depart.
Registration for walks on Saturday 7th May will take place at The Belted Galloway Visitor Centre, Riverside View, Newton Stewart, DG8 6NQ . Registration for walks on all other days (including Sunday 8th May) will take place at McMillan Hall, Dashwood Square, Newton Stewart, DG8 6EQ.
Please note that costs indicated for all walks include coach transfer from Riverside View Car Park (Saturday) or Dashwood Square, Newton Stewart (other days) to the walk start point and return. Our registration staff will guide you to the correct bus. Buses will leave promptly and for the enjoyment of others we can't wait for those arriving late. To ensure the smooth running of the festival, we cannot normally accommodate requests by walkers to join the walk at the starting point of the route.
Clothing and footwear
On the hill walks you must wear proper walking boots and clothing and carry your own waterproofs and sufficient food for the duration of the walk. On other walks you are advised to wear walking boots and be prepared for all kinds of weather. All walks will include a lunch stop and/or other breaks so please bring a supply of food and drink with you.
For a detailed weather forecast visit the Mountain Weather Information Service at www.mwis.org.uk and select the Southern Uplands weather forecast.
Walkers aged under 16
Walkers under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
All walks will be led by experienced leaders. On the more demanding walks, the walk leaders will be members of the Galloway Mountain Rescue Team. On the shorter walks the guides may be local historians, wildlife rangers or enthusiasts who will discuss the history, wildlife etc of the area as you walk.
Walk leader discretion
In the interests of safety, walk leaders reserve the right to decline to take walkers whom they consider to be inadequately equipped or who they have reason to believe may not be able to complete the route. Walkers' safety is our priority at all times. If you are unsure about your suitability for a particular walk, do not hesitate to contact us and one of our experienced guides will contact you to discuss.
When you are out walking, please observe the Country Code and respect the life and work of the countryside.
Sorry, but please note that dogs are not allowed on any WalkFest walks. This is in line with policy elsewhere.
Whilst Newton Stewart Walking Festival has public liability insurance it will not be responsible for any injury, illness, death or claim of any description whatsoever which results from any of the following:
1. The act(s) and/or omission(s) of any walker
2. The act(s) and/or omission(s) of a third party not connected with Newton Stewart Walking Festival and which were unforeseeable or unavoidable
All walkers are strongly advised to obtain adequate medical insurance to cover them in the event of an accident or illness.
Changes to the festival programme
The organisers retain the right to alter walk routes and/or withdraw routes from the programme without notice. Watch the website or Facebook page or sign up for our Newsletter to keep up to date.
Making the most of your visit to our area
There is a wide range of accommodation available in the Newton Stewart area. Details can be found on local and national tourist accommodation websites such as www.visitsouthwestscotland.com or www.visitscotland.com and on a range of well known accommodation sites such as www.booking.com
Travel and transport
The festival is based in Newton Stewart and all walks start and finish in the town (using our own transport where requried) and all evening events take place in Newton Stewart. It is quite possible to take part in our festival without access to your own transport. If you plan to use public transport to arrive in the area, or use while here, times of all buses in the region can be found on the Dumfries and Galloway Council website at www.dumgal.gov.uk/timetables. Accommodation within Newton Stewart is within walking distance of the registration point. If you decide to stay further field, then neighbouring villages such as Wigtown, Creetown, Kirkcowan and Bargrennan are all with 5 to 10 miles of Newton Stewart and have bus services into Newton Stewart. However, if you are relying on public transport, we would advise that you take account of possible early starts and note that bus services are much less frequent on Sundays than other days of the week.