Cowalfest cancelled due to extreme weather

09/10/2023
Cowalfest walking festival was to be returning after a 3 year hiatus

ORGANISERS of the Cowalfest walking festival, due to be held October 12th to 16th, have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event due to unprecedented rainfall on Saturday 7th October. The effects of this sadly led to mass flooding, landslides and inevitable damage to trails which will take time to remedy. 

The re-establishment of Cowalfest, widely recognised as one of Scotland’s biggest walking festivals, has been the best part of a year in planning and organisers have  decided that they would like to still hold the ceilidh in the hope that this will in some way celebrate the effort made to bring the event back. It will take place at Innellan Village Hall on Saturday 14th October and features music from well-known ceilidh band ‘Canned Haggis’.

All bookings made so far for each of the festival’s fifty plus walks and activities will be refunded in full over the coming days and weeks.

Cowalfest chair Agnes Harvey explained: “The decision to cancel the festival was a   unanimous one within our committee, all of whom are volunteers and have spent     hundreds of hours working on the event over the past 12 months.  The decision takes into account the extensive damage to the Cowal landscape caused by flooding and the resulting health and safety risks to walkers and walk guides.

“Our hearts go out to those people whose homes and land have been affected by this destructive rainfall event. 

“Our objective had been to put together a programme of walks and events that would encourage visitors and locals to enjoy the great outdoors across this wonderful corner of Argyll and our programme provided an excellent opportunity to achieve that.

“Bookings were on a par with past years with almost 200 having secured their places. 

“We would like to thank everyone who has taken an interest in the event including local and national   media and reassure all those who have booked that they will receive a full refund on tickets booked,” added Agnes.

The first Cowalfest took place 20 years ago in 2003 and, despite a three-year hiatus due to covid, it was hoped that this year’s festival would be one of the biggest and best yet with a focus on targeted activities for families and Young Scot adventurers as well as a number of special interest walks.  

Agnes concluded: “We will go ahead with the evening ceilidh as planned next Saturday at Innellan Village Hall. This will be a celebration of the past 20 years and fundraiser for the future. It is hoped that local  people will support this event which could provide us with a boost as we look to the future.” 

Tickets for the ceilidh are available to purchase at Purdies, Dunoon and the Lido in Innellan. 

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