‘Epic’ walking festival will have something for every taste

A WALKING FESTIVAL is offering the chance for people to take part in what organisers are calling a ‘Moray Adventure’.

The national Midsummer Walking Festival taking place next month has been expanded to run over 11 days – and to provide even more scenic walks from the Cairngorms to the region’s award-winning coastline.

A spokesman said: “The Moray Walking Festival programme is perfect way to enjoy long summer days exploring coastal, hill, forest, river and town walks.

“Our Guest speaker this year is adventurer, blogger, author and Micro-adventurer founder, Alastair Humphreys.

“The President of the Royal Geographical Society said of Humphreys that with the possible exception of Sir David Attenborough, he provided the best lecture with the longest applause that he had heard in the past 15 years.”

Alastair Humphries added: “I’m looking forward to speaking at the Elgin Town Hall in June.

“Events like the Moray Walking Festival are so important to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get out and enjoy some of the beautiful natural landscapes around us. I have cycled around the world, walked across the Empty Quarter and rowed the Atlantic but adventure is always possible closer to home, of course.

“I think ‘micro-adventures’ have grown in popularity recently because they are inexpensive, quick, and often family-friendly. I look forward to sharing some of my adventures at the Festival – both large and small – and learning more about this beautiful part of the world.”

Councillor Fiona Murdoch commented that the Festival was “growing every year”.

One of the board members of the Moray Way Association, Councillor Murdoch added: “There’s something for all abilities of walker from mountain survival skills training to a gentle stroll around historic Burghead. And this year there are a growing number of water-based activities on offer making this festival a celebration of all the great outdoor opportunities available in Moray.”

Jim Thomson, Chair of the Moray Way Association said: “The Moray Walking Festival is a partnership of Moray organisations, both business and voluntary, who facilitate access to the many different assets that Moray has to offer.

“We want to promote active, outdoor and healthy activities for the benefit of everyone, both residents and visitors. The events in the programme are designed to attract those who enjoy walking, in the company of others and keen to experience something different.”

As in previous years the Moray Way Association, a voluntary organisation, has brought together community groups, landowners, businesses and walking and environmental organisations to create a Moray wide events programme.

The festival gives community groups an opportunity to promote their organisation’s activities. The programme from 18 to 28 June has epic and micro-adventures:

The Ghost Walk
The 23 miles overnight walk from Grantown-on-Spey to Forres on the Dava Way path is back! Midnight hot drinks at Dava then a cooked breakfast at Dunphail will keep you moving

The Moray Way Five Day Challenge
An easy way to accomplish the region’s official long distance walking route by a ‘park & ride’ and baggage transfer system. Try over 5 days or options to just do sections!

The Mighty Drambuster
This is the inaugural year of the Mighty Moray Drambuster, a 24 hour Endurance Event created by Outfit Moray and only open to a limited number of 25 pairs! The event will use The Moray Way – 95 mile primarily off-road long distance route around the whole of Moray, comprising of The Dava Way, and the majority of The Speyside Way and The Moray Coastal Trail.

The FishWives Walk
Herring fishing in the 19th century brought about a whole industry to the Moray Firth. Distribution of the herring to local markets was done on foot by fishwives carrying about 40 lbs of fish on their backs with wicker baskets. One such route was the fishwives trail from Buckie to Keith. Follow in the footsteps of the Fishwives and discover the unique fishing heritage of this scenic area of the Moray

Walk & Talk with Heavy
A guided walk and talk led by ex RAF Mountain Rescue leader David Whalley MBE. BEM. and an opportunity to get to the summit of Ben Rinnes.

River Tube & Cliff Jumping @ Randolph’s Leap
River Tubing is a truly comical activity that suits all ages and ability. Armed with a smurf blue River Tube that resembles are large tyre inner tube and cladded in a quality thick neoprene wet suit the dark mysterious waters of Randolph’s Leap await.

More ‘gentle’ ambles

Dufftown Distilleries Walk
A relaxed walking tour around the past and present distillery sites of Dufftown. Drink in the history, surroundings & drams!

Maritime Markings – Art Walk
Easy and short walk with longer stops for observing and sketching Burghead Harbour and the sea. There is much to look at – boats, wrecks, buildings, lobster pots, seals, dolphins, other wildlife, rocks, the beach and the sea.

Dava Way from Dallas Dhu – Disabled Ramble
From Dallas Dhu Distillery along the Dava Way to Newtyle Forest, returning with delightful countryside views en-route with the Highland Disabled Ramblers.

Forres! Fab Facts, Famous folk…and the Fab Four!
A leisurely stroll through Forres and its amazing past.

Nature Detectives – Animal Tracks & Signs
Learning animal tracks and signs gives us a glimpse into the secret lives of the birds and animals around us

Thanks to sponsors Cotswold Outdoor, Aberdeen, participants who book an event before the 6 June will receive 15% off in Cotswold stores and online. The organisation has also been supported this year by Berry Burn Community Fund, TSI Moray – Change Fund and Voluntary Action Fund – Community Grant 2014.

Pre booking is essential for all events and some are booked out already so please don’t miss out. Further information can be found on www.moraywalkingfestival.co.uk or email info@moraywalkingfestival.co.uk.