The Ballater Walking Festival is now in its 27th 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.

It was a case then of all hands to the wheel, with landowners, volunteers, Board Members and partners putting together a programme, reception supper, entertainment,  and organising navigation and first aid courses. Most of the Leaders and all helpers are local volunteers, contributing to this amazing event out of love for the hills and the area. This foundation stone has been constant throughout the 26 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 to find that they donated over £400 during the week to our village Flood Fund to help the residents. The Ballater Walking Festival was cancelled due to covid lockdown, in 2020, and despite there still being many restrictions in place, the 2021 festival went ahead with all walks being free of charge. It was great for so many of our regulars to come back and enjoy the outdoors with us, but unfortunately, no indoor events were allowed.

2024 has a programme that is bigger than ever, with 6 days filled with walks from interesting strolls, special interest excursions, intermediate walks with stunning views,  to adventurous, off grid climbs for the strenuous walkers.

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 in 2019)

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 usually 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. We are delaying our evening programme until we have a better idea of what restrictions (if any) will be in place.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Ballater Walking Festival 2024 which runs from Saturday 18th – Friday 24th May.

Please join us and be part of our history! 

You can Visit the Ballater (RD) Ltd website here

Walkers at the 2018 Festival
Walkers at the 2018 Festival
previous arrow
next arrow