Langholm festival set to be even more Muckle than last year

Organisers have increased the number of places available on the festival runs
Organisers have increased the number of places available on the festival runs

Entries are up for the second Muckle Toon Adventure Festival (MTAF) at Langholm next weekend from May 15-18, following the success of last year’s inaugural outdoors activities event.

Headlining this year is record-breaking cyclist Graeme Obree who is giving a talk on the Saturday (May 17) and a film on him, The Flying Scotsman, will be shown next Thursday (May 15) evening in the town’s Buccleuch Centre.

One of the organisers, Eve Johnson said: “Entries are about 10 per cent up on last year, but there is still space on the walks.

“The highlights will be the talk by Graeme Obree on the Saturday night and the sight of around 300 runners going through the town and up the hill where the horses go during the Common Riding.”

New this year is the family geocaching afternoon.

Eve said: “The committee came up with the (geocaching) idea. We’re doing a simplified version for the whole family. We were aware of geocashing all around the country and we wanted to do something that was fun for families and younger children, which they can do on a lovely scenic route. It should only take them an hour or two to do.”

She highlighted, too, the chance to learn more about the moor above Langholm: “The walk early on the Sunday morning is a real opportunity to have some insight into what’s happening on the moorland with Dr Cat Barlow (educationalist and ecologist with the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project, investigating marrying conservation and shooting interests).”

Last year’s runs for 200 people sold out so the team have upped numbers to 300 this year and expect to fill the places.

The first festival attracted more than 800 participants for the mountain biking, road cycling, running and walking events. And as well as more participants, organisers also expect more visitors.

And they hope the new family geocaching will compliment the other children’s activities including a bike skills course, a fancy dress bike competition, stream dipping, running races and games.

Speaker Obree is regarded as one Scotland’s greatest cyclists, an ‘underdog’ who built his own bike from washing machine parts, trained without technology and went on to break one of the most prestigious records in cycling, for the longest distance cycled in an hour, twice.

Festival chairperson, Dawn Lamb said: “The inaugural festival in 2013 was an overwhelming success in terms of the number of participants, the visitors that were attracted to the town, and the fantastic support we received from our Muckle Maker volunteers and local community.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to Buccleuch Estates and Langholm Initiative for their continued help and support in delivering what will hopefully be another successful festival.”

Festival events include an uphill time trial for the King and Queen of the Mountain titles, mountain bike marathons of 25 and 15 miles and 30, 60, and 90-mile sportives.

There are six guided walks of varying degrees of difficulty; the runs are a half-marathon and 10km, on off-road trails, and Sunday morning’s moorland nature trail leaves at 7am

For more information or to book visit www.muckletoonadventurefestival.co.uk