LANGHOLM is to host a new outdoors festival this spring.
The Muckle Toon Adventure Festival (MTAF) in May is being organised by volunteers and is set to boost the town’s under-threat walking festival.
MTAF chairperson Dawn Lamb said: “The purpose of the festival is to provide a not-for-profit, high quality, multi-activity outdoor sports festival for all to showcase the natural beauty of the Langholm landscape.”
The enthusiasts launched the new event last Tuesday. And the programme so far includes guided walks, a 10km and half-marathon trail run, along with mountain bike and road cycling events.
Round-the-world cyclist, adventurer and documentary maker Mark Beaumont will headline the event, giving a talk and hosting a question-and-answer session in the town’s Buccleuch Centre.
The 12-member committee convened in August last year and have teamed up with Evans Cycles to hold one of the bike shop chain’s national Ride It! outings on Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19.
On the Saturday, mountain bikers will have the choice of a 15 or 25-mile route among the hills around Langholm.
On the Sunday, there will be a choice of 30, 60 and 90-mile cycle sportive road routes variously taking in the Eskdale valley, Gretna Green, over the border to Kershope Forest and back up to Newcastleton.
Committee secretary Eve Johnson explained how the new festival came about: “There’s been a very successful walking festival in Langholm for the past 11 years, but it was at risk of not going ahead because the chairman was stepping down and nobody wanted to take over the running of it.
“There was a separate group of people who have an interest in mountain biking, running and road cycling and they got together and decided to widen the festival.
“We felt Langholm is a great location for all these activities. And one of the unique things about the mountain biking is that riders will be out on the open hill for part of the ride.
“We want to raise the profile of Langholm as a destination for outdoor activities, increase tourism numbers and provide a boost for local businesses and we want to encourage people to get involved and support us – it’s all done through volunteers. It’s a not-for-profit event, so any money we make will be hopefully used to host another successful event next year.”
The organisers will be making a donation to Moffat Mountain Rescue Team, who will provide support.
The group has been meeting with established local organisations such as the previous walking festival committee, the rugby club –which will play “base camp” to the festival – and the High Street Regeneration Committee. And it plans to apply for funding for the new event.
The festival runs from May 17 to 19. For more information, visit www.muckletoonadventurefestival.co.uk