Langholm gears up for first adventure festival

Muckle Toon Adventure Festival committee member Paul Gardner on a mountain bike trail at Langholm
Muckle Toon Adventure Festival committee member Paul Gardner on a mountain bike trail at Langholm
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One walk is sold out and the trail run and half marathon are booking up fast in Langholm’s first outdoors festival next month.

The Muckle Toon Adventure Festival (MTAF) has been organised by volunteers and features walking, running, mountain biking, road cycling and children’s activities over three days from May 17.

Muckle Toon Adventure Festival Muckle Toon Adventure Festival committee member David Yarrow on a trail run at Langholm

Muckle Toon Adventure Festival Muckle Toon Adventure Festival committee member David Yarrow on a trail run at Langholm

Secretary Eve Johnson said: “Community groups and the high street traders are all being really supportive. There have been strong early ticket sales across all events.

“We have got entries from all over – Wales, Edinburgh, Glasgow – as well as the Borders and quite a few people from the north east.

“The highlights will be the atmosphere and buzz around the events village (at “basecamp” at the town’s rugby club), with the cyclists coming in and out, the runners, walkers, families with kids taking part in the activities.

“We are over the moon to have[(round the world cyclist, author and broadcaster] Mark Beaumont coming on the Saturday; his talk in the Buccleuch Centre will be fantastic.”

The festival organising committee of 12 teamed up with Evans Cycles to hold some of the bike shop chain’s national Ride It! outings.

The Friday evening will see a one-mile uphill time trial for road cyclists to win the King and Queen of the Mountain title.

Saturday brings 15-and 25-mile mountain bike marathons on trails around Langholm.

The booked-out Meikeldale Loop also leaves Saturday morning and another guide later in the morning will take walkers on the Thomas Telford Trail to the birthplace of the influential engineer.

Dr Cat Barlow of the Langholm Moor Project will lead the River Esk exploration for children on Saturday morning.

The off-road Muckle Toon Trail half marathon and 10km runs leave basecamp at 1pm on Saturday. Later that afternoon, children have the chance to go on a one-and-a-half-hour nature trail and there’s a guided walk along the Esk to the historic Roon House

Mark’s presentation, covering his major expeditions, takes place at 7.30pm that night.

Sunday brings the Evans Cycles Ride It! 90-, 60- and 30-mile sportives, taking in the Eskdale valley, Gretna Green, over the border to Kershope Forest and back up to Newcastleton. Meanwhile, walkers will be out on the Whita Nature Trail with Cat, discovering the moorland.

Eve said: “The Whita Nature walk is a fantastic opportunity to take in the distinctive moorland landscape of the Langholm and Newcastleton hills and spot some of our resident hen harriers, buzzards, kestrels and merlins.”

Others have the chance to enjoy the Langfauld and ­Castle Hill walk, and interested children will be taking part in the mini mountain bike race. There is also a heritage walk around the town and riverside at noon on Sunday and, in the afternoon, a mini trail run for children.

Eve added: “The events village will welcome visitors with food, drink, cycle demos, promotional merchandise, children’s activities, nature talks, bike maintenance tents and of course the body maintenance tent to help sooth all our participants aches and pains.”

For more information and anyone wanting to help at the event should contact the organisers through the website, www.muckletoonadventurefestival.co.uk or via facebook.