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Inverness Festival of Walking and Wheeling set to return later this month

By Rachel Smart

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Grace Nicol & Karen Bartke at Friar's Place.
Grace Nicol & Karen Bartke at Friar's Place.

The Inverness Festival of Walking and Wheeling is returning to the city for a second year this month and the organisers say they’re not resting on their laurels after last year’s event scooped the prize as Scotland’s Active Travel Project of the Year.

The nine day ‘wawfest’ has a packed programme of walking, wheeling and cycling activities including events for bird-watchers, nature foragers, art-lovers, history buffs and ghost-hunters, activities for children and families.

A special interactive route will also offer walkers and cyclists stunning aerial views of twenty different locations stretching from the city centre and out as far as Cradlehall.

Map for The Inverness Loop of Health, History and Hope.
Map for The Inverness Loop of Health, History and Hope.

The ‘Inverness Loop of Health, History and Hope’ includes map illustrations by childrens’ author and artist Laura Jackson which link to smart-phone accessible videos fronted by radio stars Karen Bartke and Grace Nicholl who are seen circling the city pursued by an overhead drone.

A big theme of this year’s festival will be to bring peace between walkers and cyclists by promoting better awareness of each other on the growing network of active travel paths. To that end children at 25 local primary schools have been invited to design posters encouraging the use of bicycle bells – and hundreds of such bells have been distributed to those schools in advance of this year’s festival.

Festival organiser Jayne Preece says: “This year our festival is bigger and better! We have nearly 30 different events through the week, involving 27 partners, and we’re determined to put Inverness on the map as one of the best cities for walking, wheeling and cycling.”

The Festival is organised by Inverness charity Partnerships for Wellbeing which celebrates it’s 20th birthday later this year.

Artist Laura Jackson working on the Loop Map.
Artist Laura Jackson working on the Loop Map.

The charity’s boss, Jeff Zycinski said: “Creating the new map with 20 digital waypoints is our way of marking our 20th year as a volunteer-led service which offers Health Walks, Community Transport, Friendships Groups. We’re proud to be working with so many like-minded organisations in our beautiful city.”

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