Kirkcaldy’s Online Walking Festivals
We have always encouraged people to get out and walk rather than take the car, but during 2020 and 2021, walking became so much more than just a means of getting from A to B, it became our daily escape.
The pandemic put a stop to our yearly in-person walking festival, where we ask local community groups to lead walks around town, but we still waned to do something to encourage people to make the most of their 1 hour’s permitted exercise.
Kirkcaldy Online Summer Walking Festival 1st – 9th August 2020
So, in August 2020 our walking festival went online. We asked our network of community organisations to share their favourite routes with us and mapped them using online tools to create a programme of self-led walks. Our online walking programme offered 28 walks submitted from 10 different local organisation and focused on different themes, including nature, history and poetry. . There was something for everyone, from short scavenger hunts for families, to longer more challenging routes between local towns. We even had 5 video walks that allowed those shielding or isolating to virtually explore the town
Over the festival week over 700 people visited the festival website, with many downloading routes from the programme. Thank you to Kirkcaldy Ramblers, Fife ABE, Fife Walking, Seafield Environmental Group, Homestart Kirkcaldy, Langtoun Tots, Bums Off Seats, Tony Wilson, Kirkcaldy Civic Society and Walk On Kirkcaldy for providing routes
During the summer walking festival we also ran a couple of events – a screening of the inspiring film, “Mile..Mile and A Half”, which tells the story of a group of friends walking the John Muir Trail in California. and a reflective event called “Strolling Through Lockdown”, which was a chance for us all to reflect on the importance of walking during the first lockdown. Altogether the events were attended by around 40 people and resulted in the creation of this artwork that reflected people feelings about walking during the pandemic:
We ran two competitions – one challenged participants to take as many steps as possible during the festival week and was won by a walker who completed 133,953 steps, about 60 miles!, and the second was photography competition, which was won with this beautiful image looking across Dysart to the Forth:
In all honesty, we had no idea if an online walking festival would work, but we are very happy to report that it proved very popular. In fact, it went so well, that we decided to do it all over again in January 2021.
Winter Walking Festival 11th – 24th January 2021
After months of lockdowns and the roller coaster that was Christmas, it was the perfect time to remind people to look after themselves and make the most of the benefits of walking. We relaunched the programme of walks, which was visited by over 600 people during the winter festival period. To encourage people to get out in the colder weather, we shared some wonderfully inspiring blogs and videos produced by our Climate Champions volunteers.
We knew that we had successfully inspired people to pull on their walking boots, becuase we had over 80 entries to our photo competition, and it really was a great week for sunsets!
We believe that our online festivals helped to support, inspire and encourage our community to look after themselves during a very difficult time. The walking programme is a fantastic legacy and will remain on the website as a resource for the people of Kirkcaldy.
That said, we look forward to getting back to delivering face to face walks for next year’s festival!