FINALISING preparations for the Kington Walking Festival, organisers went al fresco – meeting in the beautiful landscape that will host the annual celebration next month.
The committee took to the hills for a meeting last week, putting the finishing touches to plans for the festival’s 31 guided walks and two self-led walks.
The festival will run from September 18 to 21, and aims to offer something for everyone from seasoned walkers to those stepping out for the first time.
Festival organisers say the event provides an opportunity to take in some of the most sublime scenery, while there will also be strolls to ancient pubs, a chance to learn about the area’s history and the challenge of completing the "eight peaks challenge".
The challenge takes in peaks ranging from 303 to 426 metres in height, to the north and west of the town.
Participants can mark there card using a clipper at the top of each peak, with a recorded time given to those who complete the task by 6pm – although the walk can be done over one or two days.
The orienteering-style event, meanwhile, covers 15 miles and 972 metres of vertical, between the eight peaks of Bradnor, Hanter, Hergest, Herrock, Old Radnor, Rushock, Stanner and Worsell.
Nearly all of it is off-road, much of it is owned by the National Trust, and some of it is on the Offa’s Dyke Path and the Dyke itself.
The record – set in 2013 by Vince Playdon and Chris Howell of Hay Hot Footers stands at 3 hours, 29 minutes and eight seconds.
The 2014 festival also features a linear walk, which will run over three consecutive days, that gives ramblers an opportunity to walk the best 40 miles of the Offa's Dyke Path National Trail.
Starting in Hay-on-Wye, the walk will finish near the thirteenth-century castle at Clun.
Following the Eight Peaks Challenge on September 20, walkers or non-walkers there will be able to enjoy an interesting programme of events including a Goulash evening and a gig by the Remi Harris trio, a young contemporary gypsy jazz collective.
Entry to the Eight Peaks Challenge costs £7, and is limited to 500 competitors, although most festival walks are priced £5 for half a day and £7 for a longer walk.
For more information, or to book walks, visit www.kingtonwalks.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07585 055984.