We are hoping that the Ballater Walking Festival 2021 may take place from the 15th to the 21st of May. However this is very dependent on the situation with the pandemic, and the government guidelines then in place, and no such decision can be taken yet. We will be unable to confirm this until February. So stay safe, keep fit and walking wherever you are, and we hope to see you here in May.

Unfortunately the Ballater Walking Festival from 16th – 22nd May 2020, has now been cancelled due to the corona virus. We are sad to make this announcement, but we have considered the govenment guidelines, and more importantly the health of our participants including our leaders and walkers. We have no choice but to cancel it. All walkers will be contacted shortly by email and refunded.

However we shall be running the Ballater Walking Festival in 2021. The dates will be the 15th to the 21st of May, and we hope to see you all there. Please take good care of yourselves.

The festival caters for a wide range of walking abilities and features many walks throughout the Cairngorms in addition to social events. On this website you will find this year’s walking programme and loads of photos and general information. Book ONLINE or download the BOOKING FORM, and contact the festival’s organisers. Welcome to Royal Deeside in the Scottish Highlands!

The Ballater Walking Festival is now in its 22nd Year and started when the Chairman of Ballater (RD) Ltd and the CEO of Scottish Enterprise discussed a community engagement tied to our natural tourist resource – namely hills and walking.

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It was a case then of all hands to the wheel, with landowners, volunteers, Board Members and wives putting together a program, reception supper, entertainment, local history talks, film shows and educational Map Reading lessons. Everything was done on a voluntary basis from supply of food to time given and this foundation stone has been constant throughout the 21 years.

Today we have the sophistication of professional guides, the internet and booking processes, but the family feeling still runs through the event. This was shown by the amazing generosity of our walkers (friends) in 2016 when we ran a free festival following Storm Frank on a much reduced programme only find that they donated over £400 during the week to our village Flood Fund to help the residents.

Explore The Natural Beauty Of The Cairngorms

The Cairngorms National Park is a living, working landscape with wild land at its heart. Larger than the Lake District and twice the size of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, the park contains some of the best wildlife habitats in the UK and its ancient pine forests, arctic mountain tops, lochs, rivers and moorlands are home to a quarter of the nation’s threatened species.

Nowhere else in the British Isles can visitors enjoy such a collection of outstanding environments in one place in such a variety of different ways. Regardless of age or interest the park and its communities offer something for everybody.

Ballater Walking Festival - Clais Fhernaig
Clais Fhernaig (a new walk introduced this year)

So the 2020 Ballater Walking Festival will feature many walks, including some new ones (never easy when you think we have identified 221 different walks since 2002). Here’s the Online Brochure for 2020.

Take a look at the photo gallery of recent walks.

Fun is the theme of the week whether that be walking, catching up with old friends or making new friends during the week. There is a full schedule of entertainment and Ballater offers a mix of hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars to while away the evenings regaling the events of the day.

An evening entertainment programme starts with the formal registration and welcome reception on the Saturday where you mix with other walkers, along with the leaders and local residents who will accompany you on the walks.

Other highlights include a quiz night, a talk by a Scottish author, a two course meal with all the other walkers at ‘The Festival Gathering’ (included in the price of Wednesday’s walks) and remember to save some energy for the popular traditional Ceilidh on the Friday.