For many people Ballater Walking Festival has become an important fixture on their calendar as it is friendly and well establishedcatering for a wide range of walking abilities. Many people return year after to year to try new walks, meet up with old friends and make new ones. People come to experience the joy of walking in the fantastic scenery of Royal Deeside, part of the magnificent Cairngorm National Park. 


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warm welcome is guaranteed, and every participant will find walks matched to their level of fitness. Making the most of the magnificent vistas and interesting locations, the three daily walks – easy, medium and strenuous – are led by knowledgeable local residents, full-time rangers from the estates and professional mountain guides.  

Fun is the theme of the week. There is plenty of time to walk during the day and socialise in the evening with old and new friends. An evening entertainment programme will include a quiz night, a talk, Festival Gathering and a Ceilidh. Nonwalking partners are most welcome to attend. 


Ballater is a great base offering high standard accommodation including a hostel, bed and breakfasts, hotels, guest houses and selfcatering properties. All are supported by local shops, restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlour and bars to while away a few hours.


The Ballater Walking Festival started when the then 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 their partners putting together a walks programme, reception supper, entertainment, local history talks, film shows and 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. Now we use professional guides, and the internet and online booking have taken centre stage, but the family feeling still runs through the event. This was shown by the amazing generosity of our walkers in 2016 when we ran a free festival following Storm Frank with a much reduced programme only to find that they donated over £400 during the week to our village Flood Fund to help the residents. In 2020, the event was cancelled due to coravirus but our friends still donated to the Cambus O’May Bridge Appeal.