Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music & Dance Festival

Box Office
01671 404924
07762 064 298

Sponsored by:

Belhaven Brewery Logo
Merrick Real Estate
Creebridge House Hotel
Montpelier Chartered Accountants

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

The Barrstools @ Crafty Distillery

Join fabulous South Ayrshire group The Barrstools at Crafty Distillery, Newton Stewart, on Saturday 7th July 2018 from 6:00pm as part of this year's festival programme. Superb local gin, good tunes, good songs and the best of craic' - the perfect way to start your Saturday night festival.


25 May 18
Nathon Jones

New Sponsor - Merrick Group

Fantastic support from Mark Norris and everyone at Merrick Group who we welcome as the first Highland Dancing Ambassadors for this year's festival. The Scottish Highland Dancing competitions take place on the Saturday of the festival, the 7th July, and will feature over 150 dancers aged from 5-25+.


17 May 18
Billie Jones

New Sponsor - Stables Guest House

Huge thanks to Jacqui at Stables Guest House in Newton Stewart who we welcome as an official sponsor for this year's festival. The backing of local businesses and the local community is vital to the continued success of the event so it's hugely encouraging when we receive such generous support.


17 May 18
Billie Jones

Venue changed to Portpatrick

Just to update you that the Play For The Festival tour date on 30th June 2018 has changed venue to the Waterfront Hotel, Portpatrick.


16 May 18
Nathon Jones

Get along to Moniaive this weekend!

Make sure you get along to Moniaive this weekend for the 17th Moniaive Folk Festival which takes place over the 10th-13th May and features, among many others, the Jarlath Henderson Band, Ross Ainslie & the Sanctuary Band and Moishe’s Bagel.


7 May 18
Nathon Jones

5th Anniversary Year Celebrations!

2018 sees the 5th anniversary of Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music & Dance Festival and we're pulling out all the stops to deliver another outstanding event in Wigtownshire. This year sees us host officially registered Scottish Highland Dancing competitions and, as ever, some of the biggest names in traditional music who will be performing over the 3 days. We have the bubbly on ice and can't wait to see you all again in Galloway. The tunes last year were just mighty!

Subscribe to Newsletter

* indicates required