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 1-1 - Glenkens Pilgrims Way
**SORRY - THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED** This walk follows the route of an ancient trade route which has recently benefitted from a makeover thanks to a project led by the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership.
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 - A meander along the Waters of Trool, Minnoch and Black Burn
A leisurely afternoon walk along woodland paths in the heart of the Galloway Forest, with the sound of the burbling streams never far way.
Walk 3-5 - 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 4-2 - Walking the River Dee
** SORRY THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** This low level riverside walk offers both historical and natural history interest. It is mainly on paths with some paved surfaces and is almost all level.
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 7-3 - The changing face of the Galloway Uplands
The route explores the rapidly changing landscape of the Galloway Hills and the environment of a typical upland farm, its habitats and livestock, its business challenges and opportunities.
Walk 2-4 - Rhins coastal path: part 1
**SORRY - THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED** 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 2-5 - Newton Stewart by the Back Door: Shennanton to Newton Stewart
**SORRY THIS WALK IS NOT FULLY BOOKED ** This route offers a gentle walk through the moors and woods west of Newton Stewart, from the River Bladnoch to the River Cree, finishing in the centre of Newton Stewart.
Walk 3-6 - Kirkdale to Balloch Wood
The route explores the rolling farmland overlooking Wigtown Bay. There will be plenty of historical interest along the way.
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 Geology of Balcary Cliffs
** SORRY THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** - This coastal walk is full of interest and includes one of the most spectacular clifftop sections of the Galloway coast.
Walk 5-2 - The Jewel of the South: Drummore to Mull of Galloway
This day out explores the most southerly point in Scotland, the Mull of Galloway. You will have time to explore the various attractions at the Mull.
Walk 6-3 - Supper walk: Cairnsmore Viaduct to Castle Cary
This is the more challenging of the two supper walk routes, combining a great walk with an evening meal at the Lairds 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 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 2-6 - Knockfell
A route through the moors of the north Machars towards the coast, including a climb of one of the area’s most distinctive peaks, Knockfell.
Walk 3-2 - Rhins Coastal Path: Part 2
**SORRY - THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED** - Part two of our exploration of the Rhins Coastal Path walk starts off where walk 2-4 ended near Corsewall Lighthouse.
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 5-3 - A Tale of Two Rivers
** SORRY - THIS WALK IS FULLY BOOKED ** This route explores the watery, forested and remote areas around the border between Dumfries and Galloway and South Ayrshire.
Walk 6-2 - 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 7-1 - Beneraird
** SORRY - THIS WALK IS 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
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 - Striding over Benbrack
This strenuous 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 6-1 - Cairnsmore of Carsphairn
This route explores the highest of the Galloway Cairnsmores, and a Corbett to boot, Cairnsmore of Carsphairn.
Walk 7-2 - Cairnsmore of Fleet
**SORRY THIS WALK IS NOW FULLY BOOKED** 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
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.
Walk 4-1 - The Ridge of Cairnsmore of Fleet
** SORRY - THIS ROUTE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED ** A very strenuous route which approaches the summit of Cairnsmore of Fleet from the north provides for a challenging, but rewarding day out.