In spring 2009 Paddy Bailie successfully persuaded her fellow members of the Castlerock Community
Association to organise a walking festival which took place in September of that year.
Ten years later the Castlerock WalkFest is an established Walking Festival on the Northern Ireland walks calendar.
Walkers come from Londonderry, Belfast, Donegal, Dublin and from England and Scotland and the organisers continue to welcome regular attenders from all over the local region. This year they have invaluable support from the National Trust who lead a walk and give access to a normally closed area and to the Downhill Demesne, from Translink who provide a bus to transport hill walkers to their start points, and also from the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT) who lead a walk and also help with transport.
The WalkFest takes place on Saturday, September 7.
Prime objectives for the WalkFest are that it offers ‘guided walks for all’, so all walks have an experienced leader and some support members and that the walks cater for the full range of walking capability from experienced hill walkers right through to toddlers.
This year there are several new walks, the 10,000 step walk for Fitbit users and others, the Defence Walk exploring local locations developed for various defensive reasons from early raiders to the World Wars and for the next generation of walkers, a Toddlers event.
There are 11 different walks in total. In addition to the three new walks already mentioned. There are three hill walks all with spectacular North Coast views, one from Bellarena across Binevenagh to Castlerock, one across Altikeeragh hill to Castlerock and one across and around Binevenagh.
The ever popular Grangemore Dunes walk explores the most ancient dunes in Ireland located alongside the Bann.
For more details about the walks and rules for the photo competition see the website www.castlerockwalkfest.co.uk or Facebook page castlerockwalkfest.
Turn up on September 7 at Castlerock’s Peter Thompson Hall from 9am and select your walk.