TV weatherman Derek Brockway predicts bright future for Wales festivals
By Ceidiog Hughes
Wandering TV weatherman Derek Brockway is urging people to walk on the wildside. Cheerful Derek, well-known for brightening up the gloomiest forecasts, is backing a series of walking festivals which will celebrate some of the most spectacular scenery in North Wales. The fifth series of Derek’s popular television series, Weatherman Walking, on BBC One Wales took him all over the country.
He is keen to promote the wonders of walking in Wales and he has lent his support to four walking festivals which aim to open up the majestic North Wales landscape to even more ramblers. They are being staged by groups of mainly volunteer enthusiasts from Prestatyn, Conwy, Anglesey and Snowdonia who have joined forces to shout about the natural walking terrain of the North Wales countryside.
Derek, 44, originally from Barry in South Wales, said: “There is just so much choice in Wales for walkers and I think there is something for everyone to enjoy from history and castles, villages and towns, mountains and valleys and it is all on our doorsteps, you don’t have to go very far. I am fully in support of initiatives like the walking festivals which help take this wonderful walking out to a wider audience and help people realise how great walking in Wales is. My job is very busy and office bound and it is great for me to be able to have the chance to get out and about, for the exercise, for the countryside and to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. It is good to encourage other people to do the same and where better than North Wales to send them to.”
The first in the series of festivals will be the Prestatyn and Clwydian Range Walking Festival from May 18-20. This will be closely followed by the Anglesey Walking Festival from the 2-17 June and the Conwy Walking Festival from 4-11 July. The final one in the series is the Snowdonia Walking Festival from 19-21 October. For the first time, the festivals have come together to promote their events thanks to financial support from Visit Wales, and advice and guidance from Tourism Partnership North Wales (TPNW).
Walking in Wales will also be brought into sharp focus this year by the official opening of the Wales Coast Path at Flint Castle on May 5. Following extensive work by the Welsh Government’s Coastal Access Improvement Programme (CAIP), 870 miles of paths around the whole of Wales have been linked up and improved. Three of the festivals will have walks using the newly connected path.
Carole Startin, Marketing and Events executive for TPNW, helped the four festival committees apply for grant funding to promote the events. She said: “There is a lot to be gained by promoting the four festivals collectively because they all seek to achieve similar aims. It is about sharing the fantastic walks we have on offer in North Wales with a wider audience, bringing visitors and economic investment to the area and generally celebrating the beauty of the North Wales countryside. The walking in North Wales is a tremendous asset to so many people and for so many different reasons and it is about working together to make the most of this.”
Derek added: “I think the beauty of the festivals is that they offer people who are perhaps new to the area a chance to go on an organised walk where they don’t have to worry too much about planning a route but they can go and enjoy an area they haven’t seen before and meet new people. It is an opportunity for people to enjoy North Wales and showcase how beautiful it is. The lovely thing about walking in Wales is that no walk is the same and it can be completely different from one day to the next.”
To find out more, go to http://www.walkingnorthwales.co.uk/