Castlebar is celebrating the 57th annual Castlebar International Four Day Walking Festival.

Flags and bunting along the streets and supportive window displays are to be seen throughout the county town to welcome the hundreds of international, national and local walkers to the event.

The festival was officially opened yesterday evening by the Castlebar Cathaoirleach - Donna Sheridan at the Mall.

Festival director, Rowena Gillespie, is encouraging as many locals as possible to join in the road walks and scenic cross-country rambles.

Rowena has been associated with the festival for 38 years, took over the mantle of festival director last year from Elaine Devereaux who has been in the hot seat for up on 30 years.

Walkers have flown in for the four day festival from Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, UK, and the Czech Republic.

Each day, starting this morning there’s a 10k and 20k walk and a guided cross-county ramble.

Today’s ramble is on the Sli Grainne Uaile in Achill, and will take four to five hours to complete. While the 10k and 20k road walkers arebeing bussed to Achill.

The 20k walkers will be dropped at Achill Sound and will walk the Greenway while the 10k walkers are dropped a couple of kilometres outside Mulranny and they will finish at Nevin’s of Tiernar.

All of the road walks are marked and there will be guides on junction to direct the walkers.

The festival ends on Sunday night, June 7, with a Blister Ball in the Ivy Tower Hotel, Castlebar, after gold, silver and bronze medals are presented to the walkers.

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