If you are looking for inspiration or motivation to get out and do more walking, why not book into one of the many walking festivals that take place in Scotland each year? I picked eight of the best for spring and summer 2017. Read the column or the copy below.
Scottish walking festivals
What is it?: A walking festival is an organised event that celebrates a variety of walks in a particular area or region.
Most festivals run for a weekend or a week during the spring or summer.
The events cater for a range of walkers, from newcomers to the more experienced, with guided and self-guided walking routes.
As well as a walking programme, many festivals offer social get-togethers, films and practical workshops.
Tell me more: Scotland is home to more than a dozen walking festivals, from the Borders to Highlands and Argyll to Fife.
If you are new to an area, the guided walks will allow you to explore in safety with a local guide.
For those who are already familiar with the location of the festival, the guided walks offer a chance to discover more about history or wildlife.
It could be that a walk will take you to a place where you would not normally have the confidence to venture, such as a high ridge.
If you are a less experienced walker, a guided walking group has so many advantages.
You can enjoy the walking while the guide leads the way and saves you from worrying about getting lost.
You’ll also meet like-minded people and enjoy the sociable side of walking with others.
Anything else to know?: Look out for festivals that offer added extras such as navigation workshops or survival courses.
Many organise adventure films and guest speakers, so you can extend you day’s waling with evening entertainment.
Some festivals take place in the winter, with the aim of teaching outdoors fans how to enjoy the great outdoors in safety when its snowy or icy.
8 of the best Scottish walking festivals
April 9 to 14
The west coast “whisky” island of Islay is a lovely place to walk. The festival offers a guided walk every day, which you can choose to join or you can head off on your own to explore.
Galashiels Walking Festival
April 28 to 30
The festival takes place in and around the Borers town of Galashiels. There are three different walks over two days, as well as an introductory evening walk and pub quiz on the first evening.
Arran Mountain Film Festival
May 19 to 22
Take a ferry to the Island of Arran for a festival of outdoors fun. There is a full programme of daily walks and night-time hikes, graded from easy to challenging.
Ballater Walking Festival
May 20 to 26
Explore the beautiful landscape of the Cairngorms, in and around the town of Ballater, though a variety of guided walks. All ages and levels are welcome, plus there is a full social programme.
Angus Glens Walking Festival
June 1 to 4
The four-day festival programme is packed with 20 walks to suit a range of experience and aspirations. The walks are led by mountain leaders and countryside rangers.
Moray Walking Festival
June 16 to 25
Take advantage of long midsummer days to explore Moray’s sandy coastline, hills and forests on foot. There’s something for everyone at this festival with guided walks, talks and events alongside outdoor activities and walking challenges.
Scottish Borders Walking Festival
September 2 to 9
The 23rd Scottish Borders Walking Festival will be based at Peebles with a varied programme of walks that utilises an great network of old drove roads, rights of way, forest and hill trails, as well as the John Buchan Way and sections of the Southern Upland Way.