It is with regret that due to the severe flooding in Ballater over the New Year, it has been decided to cancel the Walking Festival this May.
The decision has been made early to ensure that our valued supporters have the time to find and make alternative arrangements. We appreciate that your enjoyment of both our scenery and the Ballater community will be hard to replicate, but it is better that your memories of previous Walking Festivals are not tarnished by a less than exceptional experience this year.
There are two main reasons why this decision has been taken.
- Firstly, over 200 houses were badly damaged in the flood meaning that our present housing stock is being used to rehouse those families. Along with the damage to the Caravan Park, it means that accommodation in Ballater is very limited for the next few months.
- Secondly, several bridges on the walks have been damaged and it is not certain whether those bridges will be repaired in time. As you are aware, great care is taken to choose walks that provide a balanced set of walks ranging from easy to difficult which in turn lead to an outstanding festival. At the current time it is not certain whether some walks will be accessible. The Gordon Croll Memorial Walk is one such casualty due to the damage done to the recently refurbished Polhollick Bridge.
The option to postpone until later in the year was considered, but calendar clashes with other groups both in Ballater and the surrounding villages meant that it was not a viable option. As a result, the painful decision to cancel the 2016 Walking Festival was taken but the silver lining is that with all the work already carried out by the group to put in place walks and entertainment for this year, we are ahead for our program for 2017 and hope to see you then.
For those of you who have already booked and made payments we will be taking steps to refund monies in January and contact will also be made through letter and email to explain our decision so that friends who do not use the website can be fully updated. For those of you who utilise the website we will be giving updates on the progress taking place in the village.
There is immense pride in our little corner of Aberdeenshire and Ballater Walking Festival will return in 2017. Apologies for the cancellation and hope to see you next year