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On foot, on wheels, on water: Why CowalFest 2016 offers something for everyone!

On foot, on wheels, on water: Why CowalFest 2016 offers something for everyone!
The Cowal Peninsula is an unbeatable outdoor playground. With magnificent mountains, fantastic forests, sensational sea lochs and miles and miles of coastline, there are endless opportunities for walking, cycling and watersports. So no wonder it’s home to CowalFest Argyll, a terrific ten-day walking and outdoor festival that has something for everyone. Grab your boots, your bike or your paddle and get ready for an outdoor adventure at CowalFest 2016!

On foot
Walkers of all abilities will love Cowalfest. There’s a wealth of wonderful walks on offer for all ages and interests. Whether you're a hardy hill walker, a heritage buff, a family group, a wildlife fan or someone who likes to be busy on holiday, you’ll find plenty to choose from. Most of the walks are led by local guides, so it’s a brilliant way to delve deeper and discover more about the area, as well as reach those off-the-beaten-track locations. It’s also a great way to conquer the 57-mile Cowal Way, which is broken down into two sections, each led by a knowledgeable guide. There are lots of opportunities to learn new skills too. How about trying Nordic Walking or giving Chi Walking a go?

Over 60 walks were on offer at CowalFest 2015, with highlights including a night-time woodland wander in Glenbranter Forest, a hike up Beinn Mhor – the highest peak in the area – and a ramble from Benmore Botanic Garden to Ardentinny taking in Loch Eck and Loch Long. Wildlife fans were treated to a Fungal Foray in Puck’s Glen and bird watching at Holy Loch, while history fans enjoyed a number of heritage walks and visits to ruins and ancient sites.

The programme for 2016 will be announced soon, with some exciting new additional routes. This year will also see the introduction of the Dunoon 50K Ultra Marathon and the official opening of CowalFest on 8th October. Starting out from Benmore Botanical Garden, the run will take you through some of the area’s top beauty spots, including magical Pucks Glen, Loch Eck, Glenbranter Forest and Bishop’s Glen. It finishes at the newly renovated Dunoon Pier. There’s the option to do it as a relay in teams of three.

On wheels
Cowal & Dunoon has some of Scotland’s best mountain biking, and CowalFest is a great way to discover the local trails and enjoy some top-class riding. Last year members of the Cowal Mountain Bike Club led a night-time ride in Bishop’s Glen and over to the Camel’s Hump. The Dunoon Camp Enduro, a weekend of mountain bike training and racing for all abilities, also took place in Bishop’s Glen as part of CowalFest 2015.

On water
Flanked by Loch Long and Loch Fyne, and with myriad sea and freshwater lochs, the Cowal Peninsula is a magnet for watersports enthusiasts. Sailors, kayakers and divers all flock to the region to explore these wonderful waters. At last year’s CowalFest, Argyll Voyageur Canoes led an all-day canoeing event on beautiful Loch Goil, stopping for lunch at a remote beach and visiting a seal colony. How much fun does that sound?

CowalFest isn’t just about getting active in the outdoors. There are also art and cultural events and activities and lots of opportunities to sample and celebrate local food and drink. We hear that this year there will be an Autumn Harvest Fair at the Glenfinnart Walled Garden and a Beer Festival. Cheers to that!

CowalFest 2016 takes place from 7th to 16 October.

Find out more about things to see and do in Dunoon & Cowal.
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