Stunning lineup for Moray Festival is led by Paralympic hero

A PARALYMPIC GOLD medal hero who has very close links with Moray is to return to the region as a guest speaker at the invitation of the Moray Walking and Outdoor Festival.

Steve Bate MBE worked in Moray when employed by the Lossiemouth-based Outfit Moray – he ultimately moved away to follow what turned out to be a very successful Paralympic dream in Rio last year.

With his guide cyclist Adam Duggleby, Steve clinched double Paralympic gold medals – as well as a bronze and a world record in the 4km individual pursuit.

New Zealander Steve’s remarkable journey is far from over and he is delighted to be coming ‘home’ to Moray and share his future plans: “I’m very excited to be returning home to Moray, to share my adventures with the people who have supported me from the outset of my visual impairment diagnosis.

“The Moray Walking and Outdoor Festival is a fantastic event and one I’m very proud to be associated with, I hope the fantastic local community come out and support it in numbers.”

Chairperson of the Moray Way Association, who organise the annual festival, said: “We are thrilled to have Steve as part of the programme this year and we are sure that this talk will be inspiring to all ages and abilities.”

The festival this year will run from June 16 until 25 and boasts over 50 events over its 10 days, taking in the entire Moray region. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund the event has a ‘heritage’ theme with more events than ever exploring Moray’s built and natural landscape.

Highlights of the programme include two events by Moray based historian and writer of The Making of a Scottish Landscape, Dr John Barrett. There will also be ‘Ghost Towns’ – deserted settlements in Strathavon, where guests will be able to explore the remains of a lost culture.

A Royal Burgh looks at the making of Medieval Forres in a walk tracing the origins and development of the town.

Back again this year is Moray Way Five Day Challenge, in which participants walk the 95 miles of the Moray Way over five days. The walk, which includes the Dava Way, Moray Coastal Trail and the Speyside Way, provides participants with a ‘park and ride’ service to make it easier to complete the long distance walk, with options to just walk sections of the route.

Also, returning this year is the famous Dava Way Ghost Train Walk, the Secrets of Pluscarden and Secrets of Spynie which participants rated as excellent last year.

And for those who are looking for adrenalin rush, Ace Adventures are running their water sports events every day of the festival at special reduced prices. That means guests can see the River Findhorn from a different view with cliff jumping, canyoning and white water rafting. They are also running their growing activity ‘Disc Golf’.

For much more on these and many other events visit the Festival Website.