Over the four days hundreds of visitors and locals alike will trek the various routes in a show of international solidarity.
They will consist of walkers from Japan, Korea, Australia, USA, Canada, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and England.
Regardless of the weather the participants will report for duty from early morning as they set out on the scenic highways and byways around Castlebar and Newport.
There are walks to suit all ages and levels of fitness, from and easy 10k to longer and more challenging 20, and 40k cross-country routes, one of which takes in the Letterkeen Loop, part of the challenging Bangor Trail.
As the longest running festival in the country the event is growing in popularity and more and more are taking to walking thanks to the hugely successful western greenway and the new Lough Lannagh loop in Castlebar.
Having recently participated in the Burrishoole Walking Festival, on the invitation of Jackie Rumley, I intend to partake in the Saturday outing in Castlebar.
Festival director Bridget Harrington-Barry and her voluntary committee have all in readiness for the influx – the routes are marked out, watering stations are in place, medical teams are on call and the facilities at the Welcome Inn Hotel, the festival headquarters, are all in place.
The late county engineer Joe Egan was one of the founders of the festival back in 1967 and with the highly motivated team he built the event into a global celebration of walking.
Elaine Deveraux and Ernie Sweeney spearheaded the festival for years as it grew in popularity.
The social aspect of the event cannot be overlooked as life-long friendships are forged and weary walkers put their feet up in Johnny McHale’s Pub to a well-earned medium.
Nightly entertainment is laid on for the visitors and the festival concludes on Sunday night with the traditional ‘blister ball’.
Many of the walkers return year after year and several romances have blossomed through the festival.
I would encourage as many as possible to resister for at least one if not all of the walks.
Many of us do not appreciate the magnificent scenic routes there are on our doorsteps.
When we walked the Burrishoole route some weeks ago it took us up by Lough Furnace and into the mountainous area overlooking Clew Bay, truly an area of tranquillity and great beauty.
Machnamh na Seachtaine
An té atá i mbrón ní geal leis aon rud.
To one who is sorrowful nothing is bright.