Organisers behind Festival of Folklore have said they are on ‘a massive high’ after its digital event for 2020 gave way to international success, reaching audiences as far as Canada and Australia.

Festival of Folklore is the brainchild of award-winning storytellers Mostly Ghostly Tours and is supported by the Upper Nithsdale Tourism Partnership.

This year, the festival explored Upper Nithsdale’s fascinating folklore, with a collection of storytelling videos, designed to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.

And team members have praised the new virtual format, saying it has been a game-changer in showcasing the region to the world.

Kathleen Cronie, Festival and Mostly Ghostly Founder, said: “We’re on a massive high after this year’s Festival of Folklore, and were encouraged by the diverse range of visitors.

“Having looked at the data, it was eye-opening to discover the festival had reached guests in Australia, the United States, Brazil, Canada and Iceland, to name but few.

“In light of COVID-19, we had to adapt to ensure the festival’s continued success and development, and given the challenges, this has highlighted huge potential in reaching audiences further afield.

“Our hope, is that when brighter days return, the festival will play a key role in welcoming visitors to our region, either in person, or from afar, to discover its many delights.”

Opening the festival was local lad Hector McQuarrie-Parkes whose skill and passion was clear for all to see.

Young author Lily Owens also made a powerful impact with her beautiful reading of Home Sweet Home, a story she wrote inspired by the iconic Sanquhar knitting pattern.

David Branton, chairman of the Kirkconnel Parish Heritage Society, also presented some of his own lockdown stories, evoking his love of Upper Nithsdale and the supernatural.

Rose Murdoch, Chair of the Upper Nithsdale Tourism Partnership, said: “As a result of delivering an online festival, we now have a library of stories, poems, music and virtual tours to showcase the magic, myth, natural beauty, history and heritage that will live on beyond the festival.

“We have also reached new people, who we hope may wish to visit the area in person in the future, and experience all that Upper Nithsdale has to offer.”