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Walking Festival Launched 16 September 2003

The Island's first-ever Walking Festival is launching on Tuesday 16 September with a group of walking journalists who will be visiting the island from Tuesday to Thursday.

The Walking Festival itself is a six-night holiday, operating from 27th June - 2nd July 2004. It is hoped that the festival will help attract further visitors to the island, and the walks are aimed at people of all abilities. Distances range from a relatively short three and a half-mile walk, to one of almost 14 miles, which involves three fairly steep ascents.

Island residents can purchase a Festival Package for �25, which includes maps, all walks and entrance to the Blister Ball on the last night. Call Travel Services on 01624 661177.

Tourism Minister David Cretney said:

The Walking Festival is ideally suited to what we have to offer on the Isle of Man. Beautiful countryside, which is the principle reason for many people choosing the Island in which to relax and re-charge at your own pace, combined with what looks to be an interesting social programme, should prove to be the right formula to encourage new visitors or to welcome back friends to the Island. I am sure many locals will participate as well.

Commencing on Sunday 27th June 2004, the event will begin with an official reception, providing an opportunity for walkers to meet, register and relax before the walks start on Monday at 10am.

As the sun goes down, the entertainment becomes more relaxing, ranging from slide shows and talks about the island's attractions and events to jazz bands, food tastings and a quiz night. On the final evening the aptly named "Blister Ball" offers a chance to unwind and dance the night away - if your feet are still up to it!

Walkers can book all the walks they wish to participate in. It is not necessary to take part in walks every day. Walks and social events during the festival can be booked independently. There will also be ghost walks at night around Peel, which boasts a spectacular castle on the rocks by the sea, one part of our colourful and historic Island with much to see and do from the Vikings to the Victorians. If they wish visitors can also take a ride on our 130 year old steam railway, or our 110 year old electric tram system.

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