Cowal’s annual festival of walking and the arts – Cowalfest – running from 2nd to 11th October – kicked off yesterday as pairs of walking boots headed for Portavadie, the Fyne Ales Brewery in Glen Fyne, the always fabulous Benmore Gardens north of the Holy Loch – and a Night Walk in Glenbranter.
It is entirely appropriate that the walks should be the star of the 2015 Cowalfest programme – with no fewer than 61 of them on the schedule and every one seizing the imagination.
Then there are two mountain biking events; one run, one canoe trip and sixteen cultural events.
These break down into:
- four property tours: two of Ardkinglas House at Cairndow – Robert Lorimer’s greatest architectural achievement and an intrinsically playful place; one of Ballimore House at Otter Ferry – an early 19th century house in a fabulous location; and one of Dunans Castle in Glendaruel, with its unique and lovely Telford Bridge and its restoration programme;
- four themed walks: two of them ghost walks; one food foraging expedition; and one ‘interactive’ meditation trail;
- one harvest fair – at the timeless Ardentinny in east Cowal;
- one skills course – on dry stone dyking;
- four music and dance events;
- one quiz.
As you can see from this summary of what’s in store over the next nine days, a lot of it involves your feet – walking, dancing and touring around.
What next year’s programme obviously needs is a parallel menu of therapists’ sessions – and with Glendaruel something of a therapy valley, there are plenty of the necessary skills around to sooth and restore bodies and minds.