Argyll walking festival makes tracks for future

13/02/2024

THE Cowalfest walking festival held its AGM recently at the Queens Hall in Dunoon and unveiled details about this year’s rearranged festival as well as plans to put the event on a more sustainable footing from 2025 onwards.

Last held in 2019 prior to the pandemic, extreme weather led to the unfortunate cancellation of last year’s festival with a ‘reboot’ scheduled to take place later this year from September 12th to 16th.

A committee was appointed at the AGM to oversee delivery of the 2024 event comprising of Andy Armstrong (chair), Mary Price, Leonie Fitzgerald, Gerena Sumen and Rob Wilkinson.

Andy explained: “A big thank you to everyone who made it to the AGM where a lot of issues were discussed. Thank you also to former chair Agnes Harvey whose hard work last year has created the foundations for the future and Ciorsdan Fagan whose marketing knowledge and proactive spirit contributed enormously.

“We would also like to express our gratitude to everyone who kindly donated their walk fees in 2023. This has gone a long way to making the 2024 event a reality.

“Our new committee was appointed at the AGM with Leonie, Mary, Gerena, Rob and myself taking the event forward helped by some wise, strategic assistance from local businessman Tom Morton and other individuals. 

“The programme of walking routes and events has almost been finalised and will include specialist walks around geology, nature, history, foraging and art with some very experienced guides on board to share their knowledge. Watch this space as they say!

“Looking ahead it’s vital that we create a sustainable future for what had become one of Scotland’s biggest walking festivals up until the pandemic. Not only did the event bring in keen walkers from across Argyll, Scotland and the UK but it also showcased the spectacular scenery we have across the Cowal peninsula, arguably some of the finest landscapes in the UK.

“We took a big hit last year with the bad weather putting paid to the event and we need to seek out new funding streams and more community collaboration in order to get Cowalfest back on track so we have a twin pronged approach going forward.

“We are also involved in a fledgeling networking group of walking festivals across Scotland that is seeking to share best practices and ideas.

“From a physical health and mental wellbeing perspective, Cowalfest has an important role to play in getting people out and engaging with the nature around here and we look forward to rebooting the event this September,” added Andy.

The Cowalfest booking website will be launched later this year in partnership with Wild About Argyll. For more details and the latest updates please follow the event on Facebook, Instagram and X (Twitter).

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