Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music Festival

Box Office
01671 404924
07762 064 298

Sponsored by:

Belhaven Brewery Logo
Crafty Scottish Distillers Ltd Logo

A great weekend with WalkFest

8 May 17
Nathon Jones


The 'Grey Man of Merrick'

As well as performing at Moniaive Folk Festival last weekend I also (somehow!) found time to enjoy a day with the terrific people at Newton Stewart Walking Festival to take on the "WalkFest Challenge: Mullwharcher" route, described by the festival as "Very Strenuous"...and indeed it was!

Celebrating it's 15th birthday this year, WalkFest: Newton Stewart Walking Festival is run by a group of fantastic volunteers who share an enthusiasm and love for Galloway and the great walking experiences it offers.  It is usually held in early May and lasts for a week with a choice of guided walks mainly in the Galloway Hills and Galloway Forest Park but also with some coastal and forest/woodland routes some of which venture into nearby South Ayrshire.

Having recently discovered a few of the Galloway Hills last year on my own - namely Drigmorn Hill, Millfore and Cairngarroch which are right on my doorstep so I couldn't ignore them forever! - I wanted to find out more about them, discover a few more walks and get out there again this year.  It's great therapy, it keeps you fit and Galloway is so beautiful, particularly the hills; I'd recommend it to anyone and it's the perfect accompaniment to a weekend of music too, by the way.  ;)

What better way to learn about the hills and discover some new walks than to join this year's WalkFest and their team of experienced walkers and guides, many of whom are also volunteers for the local Galloway Mountain Rescue.  So I signed up for, what I eventually discovered, was possibly the toughest walk this year; WalkFest Challenge: Mullwharcher on Saturday 6th May.

The WalkFest Challenge: Mullwharcher route is a circular route starting and finishing at Bruce's Stone which follows the Gairland Burn past Loch Valley, along the south side of Loch Neldricken to Craignaw.  It continues through the Deil's Boolin' Green, a stunning area of flat rock littered with boulders and rocks (hence the name), past the Nick of the Dungeon, Craignairny and on to Dungeon Hill. A descent to the east of Loch Enoch followed and then soon after by a steep 200 metres ascent to the top of Mullwharchar.

The return came by the west shore of Loch Enoch, past the Grey Man of the Merrick (pictured) which is beautiful natural sculpture in the rock that resembles a man's face, and along the undulating Buchan ridge finishing with a steep descent to the Buchan Bridge and the track back to Bruce's Stone.

The sun was beaming and so was my face by the end of it, and not just because of the sunburn.  We set off at 7:00am and didn't get back to Bruce's Stone until 5:30pm so it was a fair day's walk but presented the opportunity to walk a good section of the Galloway Hills with views, on the way, of Benyellary, Merrick, Litte Spear, Kirrieoch Hill, Tarfessock and Shalloch on Minnoch.

It was a terrific walk and I'd absolutely recommend you experience whilst you're visiting Newton Stewart & Minnigaff this year.  Many thanks to the organisers and guides from WalkFest who made the day so enjoyable.  We may have been late getting back but it was a wonderful experience and I look forward to using that to venture out myself and with the family over the summer.

WalkFest: Newton Stewart Walking Festival

Unbelievable weekend!

What an absolutely fantastic weekend. 6 concerts, 7 workshops, sessions all over the place all weekend, beautiful sunshine, fabulous musicians...there's so much to report back on, and we will do in due course, but some rest and relaxation is definitely needed for a few days.

10 Jul 17
Nathon Jones

Ross & Ali to perform on Saturday!

Absolutely chuffed to bits, and relieved as you like!, to have secured the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners for Best Duo 2017, Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton, who will perform at the finale concert tonight at the McMillan Hall. What a treat!

8 Jul 17
Nathon Jones

Programme Update - Tim Edey

Due to circumstances entirely beyond his control, we are sad to announce that Tim Edey is unable to be here today for the workshop or concert. We wish Tim's wife Isobel, and baby who is on the way, well and we will announce a rescheduled performance by Tim in due course.

8 Jul 17
Nathon Jones

Late availability Creebridge Hotel

If you're looking for accommodation for this weekend, there are still rooms available at Creebridge House Hotel on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th July.

7 Jul 17
Nathon Jones

Looking for sessions?

If you're looking for sessions, keep an eye out for the "Musicians Welcome" signs. You've no more than half a mile to walk though, which covers 9 different pubs, bars, hotels and the Festival Marquee! Join in where you like or get your own session under way in the bar of your choice.

7 Jul 17
Nathon Jones

Fantastic event in 2017

6 concerts, 7 workshops, sessions all over the place all weekend, beautiful sunshine, fabulous musicians...2017 was our best year yet with lots of new faces and, pleasingly, musicians as well as our regular visitors who we love to see back every year. We already have some announcements for 2018 which we'll be making in due course plus there'll be lots of new additions to the website over the coming months so please stay tuned for all the latest.

Subscribe to Newsletter

* indicates required