Cowalfest, the popular walking festival in Argyll and Bute, is set to make a comeback in September 2024 after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The festival, which started in 2003, will feature over 25 guided walks around the scenic Cowal peninsula, as well as some new additions to the programme, such as guided trail running and cycling.
A festival for all abilities and interests
The organisers of Cowalfest have designed the festival to cater to a wide range of abilities and interests, from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, and from historical tours to wildlife spotting. Some of the highlights of the festival include:
- A walk up Strone Hill, which offers panoramic views of the Holy Loch and the Firth of Clyde.
- A guided trail run along the Loch Eck Loop, a 13-mile route that follows the shoreline of the loch and passes through ancient woodlands and waterfalls.
- A cycle ride from Dunoon to Toward, passing by the historic Castle Toward and the picturesque Toward Point Lighthouse.
- A walk through the Ardnadam Heritage Trail, which explores the rich history and culture of the area, from the Bronze Age to the present day.
- A wildlife walk in the Glenbranter Forest, where participants can spot red squirrels, deer, otters, and various birds.
A boost for the local economy and community
The festival, which is supported by the Cowal Area Network, the Argyll and Bute Council, and the Scottish Forestry, aims to boost the local economy and community by attracting visitors and showcasing the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Cowal. The festival also provides opportunities for local businesses, such as accommodation providers, cafes, restaurants, and shops, to benefit from the increased footfall and spending.
The festival director, Jim Crowe, said: “We are delighted to bring back Cowalfest after such a long break. We have worked hard to create a programme that offers something for everyone, whether they are looking for a relaxing walk, a thrilling run, or a fun cycle. We hope that the festival will encourage people to discover the amazing landscapes and stories of Cowal, and to support the local economy and community.”
How to book and join the festival
The festival will run from September 12 to 16, 2024, and the booking system will open in July 2024. The prices for the walks, runs, and cycles range from £5 to £15, depending on the duration and difficulty of the activity. The festival also offers some free events, such as talks, exhibitions, and workshops.
To book and join the festival, participants can visit the festival website, where they can find the full programme, the booking form, and the terms and conditions. Alternatively, they can visit the festival office in Dunoon, which will be open from August 2024.
The festival organisers advise participants to book early, as some of the activities have limited places and may sell out quickly. They also remind participants to bring suitable clothing, footwear, and equipment for the activities, and to follow the Covid-19 guidelines and regulations at the time of the festival.