Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music Festival

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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

Emily Smith in Concert

Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music & Dance Festival are proud to present Emily Smith's annual Christmas show 'Songs For Christmas' live at Crafty Distillery, Newton Stewart, on Friday 22nd December 2017 from 7:30pm featuring Emily Smith, Jamie McClennan and Anna Massie. Book now!

20 Oct 17
Nathon Jones

Film review of 2016 & 2017

We are delighted to present to you a fantastic film which was made this year to showcase Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music & Dance Festival. If you've never visited the festival, we hope this will give you a taste of the activities, events and general craic' that takes place every year.

5 Oct 17
Nathon Jones

Dumfries & Galloway Life Awards

We'd really appreciate your support with a nomination for a DG Life Award this year; for the work that we've done to get the festival to the stage it's at and that we continue to do to further develop the event, promote our region and the fabulous, talented, people that live and work here.

4 Oct 17
Nathon Jones

Scots Trad Music Awards Nominations

The MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards are open for nominations and if you've enjoyed and/or benefitted from the Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music & Dance Festival we'd really appreciate your support with a nomination for Community Project of the Year and/or Event of the Year.

4 Oct 17
Nathon Jones

Old Blind Dogs headlining in 2018!

We are absolutely thrilled to have secured the fantastic Old Blind Dogs for Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music & Dance Festival 2018. The Dogs will perform at the finale concert on Saturday 7th July 2018 at the McMillan Hall, Newton Stewart. Early bird weekend passes on sale now!

20 Sep 17
Nathon Jones

Fantastic events 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.

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