Moray Walking & Outdoor Festival kicks off on Friday

The eighth Moray Walking & Outdoor Festival kicks off on Friday 15 June with ten days of events across Moray, for all ages, abilities and interests. Scotland’s Midsummer outdoor festival started from modest beginnings in 2011, but last year the Telegraph named the festival as “one of the top 10 walking events in the UK.”  Managed by the Moray Way Association, the festival has 58 events with a mix of old favourites and 28 new activities ranging from long distance walks, cycle rides, talks, water sports, and storytelling and heritage ambles.

The programme brings together 27 Moray based local community groups, businesses, government bodies, non-profit organisations and individuals, all with specialist knowledge of Moray’s historical, archaeological, architectural, natural and landscape heritage of Moray.

Highlights this year include events celebrating women and the outdoors, including:

Skills 4 the Hills by Heather Morning – Main talk from Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Advisor of Mountaineering Scotland and ex Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team for 16 years.

Nan Shepherd – Women in the Mountains with Simone Kenyon, dancer and choreographer, hosts an evening focused on Nan Shepherd, Scottish hill walker, writer and poet and featured on the Royal Bank of Scotland’s £5 note.

Pilgrimage Workshop – Claudia Zeiske undertook a 90 day/1800km pilgrimage walking from her home in Huntly, to visit her mother at her childhood home near Munich. Talking about her own personal pilgrimage she will lead a pathmaking workshop on how to make your own pilgrimage: long or short, religious or atheist, art pilgrimage, political or spiritual.

There will also be more unusual events like:

A Polar Expedition – The Two to One Outsiders, invite you to join them for a stroll, some chat and a short live performance during which we offer you a glimpse at the world from a Bi-Polar perspective. We’ll also offer you tea and cake! There will be ups, and there will be downs… and we’re not necessarily talking topography here! Whacky! Enlightening! Smiles guaranteed!

Seaweed and Eat It! – Wild Things! will teach you how to identify some of our common seaweeds, as well as how they have been and are currently used by humans in creating a variety of products and food. Around the campfire at the end of the day, you’ll cook up some of the seaweed collected, giving you a chance to sample some of the delights of the shore.

Drawing Waters – Dr George S. Jaramillo, researcher/ lecturer of The Glasgow School of Art ‘s Forres campus,  will lead you on this meander along the tail end of the Findhorn River, as it flows into the sea; explore the everyday aspects of our landscape, as we walk and draw along the way. Don’t worry if you think that you can’t draw as this drawing/walking exploration is interested in the ways that you see your landscape on the page rather than a pretty picture.

Back again this year is the Moray Way Five Day Challenge, in which participants walk the 95 miles of the Moray Way over five days. The walk, which includes the Dava Way, Moray Coastal Trail and the Speyside Way, provides participants with a ‘park and ride’ service to make it easier to complete the long-distance walk, with options to just walk sections of the route. For those who are looking for adrenalin rush then Ace Adventures are running their water sports events at special reduced prices. Other water sports include surfing with Kevin Anderson and taster sailing workshops with Cullen Sea School.

But you don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to enjoy the Festival, there are many easy and moderate level activities which can all be found on a brand new website which allows searches by day, type of event and level of difficulty. So enjoy Midsummer Moray with the Moray Walking & Outdoor Festival this year!

The whole programme and more information are available online at https://www.themorayway.org.uk/festival/