New festival ready to step forward as walkers sign up from far and wide

St Abbs from the costal path
St Abbs from the costal path

Hundreds of pairs of boots are at the ready to step out for the first ever Berwick-upon-Tweed Walking Festival which takes place this weekend.

More than 250 walkers have booked onto this year’s festival, which has already exceeded all expectations without a step being taken.

Over 50 per cent of those taking part are coming into the region for the festival from as far away as Dorset, with all these walkers making it a short stay in Berwick and the surrounding area.

Speaking on behalf of the festival organising group Jon Monks, from Rothbury-based Shepherds Walk, said: “We have exceeded all expectations in this our first year of running the Berwick Walking Festival, and it is great to speak to people who are coming from all over the country for this new event in the calendar.”

Jon believes the popularity of the first event means there is scope to extend the festival in the future. “It gives us all a good footing to grow the festival in length over the coming year, and with so many people being drawn to the superb qualities Berwick has, we know all these people will not be disappointed,” he said.

Some of the linear walks along the coastline, both north and south of Berwick, have proved hugely popular with extra buses having to be added to accommodate the demand.

Two walks have been so popular that organisers have had to provide a second guide so the group can be split into two groups of 20 walkers.

A walking festival for Berwick was first mooted last year. With its great transport links, beauty and hospitality, it was felt the town could prove a popular destination.

A group of interested parties got together to plan the brand new walking festival for 2014 after gaining the support of Berwick Town Council.

The aim was to offer a programme of activities in the spring, complementing the food and film festivals taking place in the autumn.

This weekend’s Berwick Walking Festival will take place over three days, but it is hoped to grow in future to keep pace with demand.

The festival consists of everything from a walk that will teach you the basics of navigating in the countryside, to walks - led by a local historian - that look at the history and heritage of the local area and surroundings.

Nordic walks and Nordic walking taster sessions are also on the programme.

The walking festival starts on Saturday, and even though a number of activities and walks are fully booked, there are some places left on some others.