The Hawick Walking Festival Group was formed in January 2011 to organise and operate the 17th Scottish Borders Walking Festival to be held 4th – 10th September 2011. After receiving funding from various sources and with the involvement of the local community the Festival Group put together a programme of walks and evening events that proved to be very successful. Nearly 700 places on 21 walks were taken up. Of the walkers attending the Festival 61% came from out with the Scottish Borders and 12 came from as far afield as Denmark and Luxembourg.
The event was taken on to try and boost the local economy and to introduce walkers to a relatively unknown beautiful area with outstanding tracks, trails and established walks. Using feedback questionnaires 90% of those walkers from outwith the Scottish Borders said they intended to visit again. This, then, was the spur for the following years Hawick Walking Weekends.
Using a small cash surplus generated by the Walking Festival and the expertise gleaned during the planning and operating process for the Festival it was decided that economic benefit could accrue locally with the establishment of a Hawick Walking Weekend on an annual basis. Since 2011 the dates for our Walking Weekend have varied from year to year to avoid clashing with other Border town’s Walking Weekends which have also developed as a result of holding the Walking Festival. We have gained a loyal following of walkers, no matter what time of year we have held the Weekend, with Tyneside and Sunderland especially represented.
We shall continue to strive to put on an attractive walks programme, at reasonable cost, to tempt walkers from all parts of the United Kingdom (and hopefully beyond) to the beautiful Scottish Borders, hoping to achieve benefit for the local economy and enjoyment for our visitors.