A new long distance walk called the Annandale Way will be launched officially by Lady Hope Johnstone at a ceremony on Saturday, September 12 in Lochmaben Community Centre. There are to be several guided walks that will ensure that someone walks every step of the Annandale Way on that day. At the same time Annandale Athletics and Dumfries running club are both planning to run a relay along the full 55 mile length of the route!
I've volunteered to be one of the walkers on the day! Today I decided to do a survey of the five mile section which a few of us have signed up for. If you would like to join me, you would need to sign up by phoning the number on the web page here. And there's even the carrot of a free sausage at the barbecue later in the afternoon.
The sign above near Templand shows that the Way divides at this point. The long distance walker coming from Moffat will have a choice of going via Lockerbie, or through Lochmaben, the routes joining up again near Hoddam Bridge. The half of the Lockerbie arm which I will (hopefully) walk next Saturday is described as 'an easy walk through woodlands and along quiet roads'. In other words, a doddle!
Unless one had been trying to cover the route today! This is near Fishbeck Farm, and no, the problem is not the little puddle in the pic.
The problem is that the River Annan has been well over its banks, and over the little road alongside which the Annandale Way follows at this point. That's it in the top right of the photo, under the water. And just look at the water lying in the fields. There's been so much rain, that the ground is so saturated that anything that is falling from the sky now is no longer draining away.
In trying to get around the flooded road in my car, this was my alternative route, on a back road near Millhousebridge. I thought about it, then decided that discretion was the better part of valour, turned the car around, and found another way. I had, in fact, not noticed the 'Road Closed' sign when I had made an earlier turn!
Between the showers today it was really rather pleasant. Some of the route follows quiet little roads like this one.
And here it goes through the Gallaberry Plantation, already an established walk, see here, with its huge Wellingtonias.
We'll start at the Lockerbie Garden of Remembrance and walk north to Templand. It should be fun, although some dry weather in the next ten days is required. I may need the flippers!
Pics © Skip Cottage