The Annandale Way is a 90-kilometre (56 mi) hiking trail in Scotland, which is officially designated by Scottish Natural Heritage as one of Scotland's Great Trails. It follows the valley of the River Annan from its source in the Moffat Hills to the sea in the Solway Firth south of the town of Annan. The route, which was established on 12 September 2009, has been designed to be traversable in four to five days as a continuous walk but it also offers several day-walks. Overnight stops can be arranged in small market towns and villages along the route such as Moffat, Johnstonebridge, Lochmaben, Lockerbie, or Annan. The route has been developed by Sulwath Connections and local communities, with the support of local estates and farmers, to help promote Annandale as a new area for walking. Its trailheads are near the Devil's Beef Tub in the Moffat Hills and on the Solway Firth just south of Annan, in Newbie.
Plaque on the commemorative cairn at the start of the Annandale way - north end.
|Length||90 km (56 mi)|
|Designation||Scotland's Great Trails|
|Elevation gain/loss||1,150 metres (3,770 ft) gain|
|Highest point||491 m (1,611 ft)|
|Lowest point||Sea level|
Way (right edge of the picture) with the Solway Firth and Criffel beyond; which is a hill near the mouth of the Nith estuary. The northernmost point of the walk is marked by a commemorative cairn at the head of the Tweedhope Burn in the saddle between Spout Craig and Chalk Ridge Edge (OS. Ref. NT084138). This is also on the watershed between the headwater systems of the river Annan to the south and the River Tweed to the north. This cairn is seen at the start of the route when walking it from north to south, although of course it is necessary to walk in from the nearest tarred road to get to this point. In fact this northernmost section of the Way, from Moffat up Annandale to the cairn, offers a loop such that one can get to the cairn from the east bank of the river Annan by the Tweedhope burn and then return by a circumnavigation of the Devil's Beef Tub to Annanhead and the west bank of the river. On the official website this loop out from Moffat and back is suggested as a 13-mile (21 km) day walk. Heading south from Moffat the Annandale Way joins the Southern Upland Way briefly near the village of Beattock, beyond which it passes through ancient oak forests and over farmland down the valley to near Templand, where again there is a choice of alternative routes.
The choice from there is either to go by Millhousebridge and Kettleholm to Hoddom Castle with a possible loop off to Lockerbie, or to go by Lochmaben and Hightae to Hoddom Castle. The Lockerbie route takes in Lockerbie Wildlife Trust's Eskrigg Nature Reserve with its loch and wildlife while the Lochmaben route takes in Castle Loch with its ruined medieval castle.
Between Moffat and Hoddom Castle the Way does not stay close to the river Annan, although it does cross it once on each of the two alternative routes. From Hoddom Castle, however, the Way follows the river most of the time as it makes its way southward by Brydekirk, Annan and Newbie to the Solway at Barnkirk Point.
The Ordnance Survey maps required for the Annandale Way are Explorer map 322 ("Annandale") and Explorer map 330 ("Moffat & St Mary's Loch").
When gaining access to the cairn at the northern end of the Annandale Way by approaching it along the valley floor northward from Moffat, the route starts to ascend eastward just before it arrives at Corehead. It ascends by the Tweedhope Burn from the valley to the starting cairn near Spout Craig. The route as you ascend is filled with trees planted by the Borders Forest Trust since they took over ownership of 640 hectares of land at Corehead in the summer of 2009. Their mission statement reads, "The hills and valleys of Corehead were once covered in the native woodland and wild habitats of the Ettrick Forest. Due to centuries of intensive grazing the land is now bare and only small pockets of heather moorland and native woodland remain. The Trust plans to return these lost habitats to the land of Corehead and restore a core area of the wild Ettrick Forest to the south of Scotland."
Taking some time to study Upper Annandale in the "Moffat & St Mary's Loch" map will show that this area is rich in Iron Age settlements. These Iron Age settlements are not always easy to find with the untrained eye. However, on the descent along the old coach road from the A701 heading for Moffat there is a settlement very close to the Way at OS Ref NT067104 which is reasonably easy to make out.
The Annandale Way does not actually go through the town of Moffat but no great diversion is required to do so. In the park at the southern end of town there is a memorial to Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding who was born in the town in 1882. He was the commander of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, and is generally credited with playing a crucial role in Britain's defence, and hence, the defeat of Hitler's plan to invade Britain.
Along the path by Castle Loch in Lochmaben there is a sculpture trail which is worth looking out for in its own right. However, look out for the sculpted seat with the fish on the back of it and the name Vendace carved into the wood above the fish. The vendace has been under serious threat of extinction in Britain and conservation bodies have been making considerable efforts to save the species. It is thought that the once thriving population of vendace in the Lochmaben lochs is now extinct. However, there is a thriving population of vendace in Loch Skeen in the Moffat hills close-by. They were introduced there as fry from Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District of England in 1997 and 1999 and so far this is a success story for conservation. Unfortunately the Bassenthwaite vendace are now thought to be extinct.
After passing through the village of Hightae the Annandale Way travels south briefly along the B7020 before it turns off at Mossburn Community Animal Farm. This establishment was originally set up in 1987 to provide help for misused, abused, unwanted and neglected horses and ponies as well as to offer help for young people with physical and mental problems. This original remit was later widened into care for all domestic animals except cats, dogs and donkeys which have their own specific charities. Their mission statement says that they provide assistance for the care and welfare of the animals, provide activities on a wide range of animal topics aimed at informing, advising, educating and enabling participants to develop their knowledge of animals, provide placements for people referred from education psychological services, social work, children's homes, and provide projects and facilities for schools to allow children to learn about and care for animals. They faced a major, but ultimately, successful battle with the authorities during the British outbreak of Foot-and-mouth disease in 2001 because of their resolve to save their animals from incineration.
From the animal refuge the track begins to climb up onto the ridge above Rammerscales House (which dates from 1768 and has an interesting history). Travelling south along this ridge presents excellent views of both Annandale in general and of the distinctive flat top of Burnswark hill which dominates the low land to the east of Annandale. There was a hill fort of the ancient Britons at Burnswark until it was taken over by the Romans who built large marching camps on both the north and south sides of the hill and went on to turn the south side into a training camp where Roman soldiers would be sent to learn artillery skills.
The ridge has small hills rising from it on which there are two castle forts: Range Castle Fort and the less obvious Moss Castle Fort. Just beyond these on the top of Almagill hill is a steep pyramidal monument around 6 metres high to the huntsman called Joe Graham. The inscription on this monument reads, "In Memory of Joe Graham for many years huntsman of the Dumfries Shire fox hounds who died in 1893 at the age of 80 and now he has gone far far away we shall never hear his voice in the morning". A roundel with a granite surround above this inscription contains a bronze relief showing a huntsman with his horn, his horse and his dogs. This roundel is signed J W Dods and dated 1896. Sitting beside the triangulation point on the highest point of the ridge at a height of 217 metres above sea level the monument presents quite an impressive prospect.
There is a caravan park with camping facilities at Hoddom Castle which could be useful for those intending to walk the Annandale Way. Repentance Tower perched on top of a hill with a view over the Solway Firth served as a watch tower for Hoddom Castle and a fire lit on the top would have served to warn the neighbourhood of invasion. It was built around 1560 and has a rich history in legend and local hearsay. Many stories attempt to explain its construction but all conclude that the word "Repentance" which is inscribed above the door suggests that the tower was built to make amends for some act of treachery. There is certainly a bleak enigmatic presence about the place.
Along the Annandale Way at various points there is a series of information boards each with the title "Voice of the River" which address the reader as though it were the river speaking and telling of the flora and fauna, the history of each place and generally what is to be seen around the river at that point. There are also other boards more specifically dedicated to the wildlife and ecology. One natural feature of the river bank between Annan and Brydekirk is the proliferation of Himalayan Balsam. Although the flower on this plant is very pleasant to look at with its orchid-like appearance it is clearly intent on colonising the river bank.
Along the Way at four points there are also information boards relating to the Robert the Bruce Trail. Robert, later to become Robert I King of Scotland, was the 7th Lord of Annandale from 1304 till 1312. When the Norman family of Brus was granted land in Annandale by King David I it was at Annan that they settled at first. They built their Motte-and-bailey castle here shortly after 1124. Although the structural evidence of the castle has long since been removed the large mound (motte) on which the fort was built and the lower protective enclosure (bailey) with its defensive man-made cliff face is still there to be seen and the Way passes very close by. There is also a stone known as the Bruce Stone in Annan town hall which dates from around 1300 and has inscribed on it "Robert de Brus Count of Carrick and Lord of Annandale". The information boards near the castle are rich in information about the Brus dynasty and their connection with Annan.
In the village of Hightae there is another information board which tells how what are now the small villages of Greenhill, Heck, Hightae and Smallholm were founded as royal towns by King Robert I in the early 14th century. In each settlement portions of land were entrusted to experienced soldiers, who held them directly from the king and so were known as the "King's Kindly Tenants". They had the right to share the common lands and resources of woods and water; in consequence of which they were unusually privileged throughout subsequent centuries. In return the Kindly Tenants were obliged to provide provisions and garrisons when Lochmaben Castle was occupied by the King or his representatives.
In around the year 1200 the Brus family moved from Annan to Lochmaben where they built a motte-castle near what is now known as Lochmaben Castle. The earthworks and stonework of this later Lochmaben Castle are a prominent feature at the south end of Castle Loch in Lochmaben. The earthworks are the remains of a castle built by King Edward I of England around the year 1300. The original peel, built of earth and timber, was strengthened by Richard Siward Sheriff of Dumfries and builder of Tibbers Castle in Nithsdale. The surviving stonework dates from later in the 14th century when the castle was rebuilt. It was first mentioned in 1364. The castle was constantly fought over during the 14th century and changed hands several times. Both Scottish and English forces contributed to its massive structure. For over 300 years Lochmaben Castle held a key defensive position controlling access northwards through Upper Annandale and westwards into Galloway.
Starting the Annandale Way from the north end and travelling along the ridge above the Devil's Beef Tub over Chalk Rig Edge and Annanhead Hill the route joins the A701 road briefly before it takes to the old coach road down into Moffat. By the side of the A701 at this point there is another information board belonging to the Robert the Bruce Trail. The significance of this point in the story is that in February 1306 after killing the John Comyn in the church of the Greyfriars monastery in Dumfries, Robert the Bruce was making his way to Glasgow to seek absolution from the Bishop there and support for his bid to be King of Scotland when in the hills near Ericstane he met James Douglas who was bringing a message of support from the Bishop of St Andrews to Bruce. Douglas pledged his loyalty to Bruce and was to become one of his staunchest allies. Some sources say that the meeting between Bruce and Douglas took place on the Crown of Scotland hill.
After Bruce's death in 1329 the Black Douglas, as he was known, took Bruce's heart in a casket with him on crusade against the Moors in Spain and died in battle there near Granada after throwing Bruce's heart into what he knew to be a hopeless fray. Bruce's heart is believed to be buried at Melrose Abbey and his body lies in Dunfermline Abbey.
There was a peel tower at Corehead owned by a Thomas Halliday in 1297. it is claimed that this Thomas Halliday was married to one of the daughters of Sir Malcolm Wallace and was thus a brother-in-law of Sir William Wallace. It is further claimed that, "Not long out of his teens Sir William, with four followers, came to Corehead. Here (at the home of his sister Mrs Thomas Halliday) was mustered the small devoted band who struck the first blow for Scotland's freedom from England"
Annan ( AN-ən; Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Anainn) is a town and former royal burgh in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. Historically part of Dumfriesshire, its public buildings include Annan Academy, of which the writer Thomas Carlyle was a pupil, and a Georgian building now known as "Bridge House". The Town Hall was built in Victorian style in 1878, using the local sandstone. Annan also features a Historic Resources Centre. In Port Street, some of the windows remain blocked up to avoid paying the window tax.
Each year on the first Saturday in July, Annan celebrates the Royal Charter and the boundaries of the Royal Burgh are confirmed when a mounted cavalcade undertakes the Riding of the Marches. Entertainment includes a procession, sports, field displays and massed pipe bands.Annandale
Annandale (Gaelic: Srath Anann) is a strath in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, named after the River Annan. It runs north–south through the Southern Uplands from Annanhead (north of Moffat) to Annan on the Solway Firth, and in its higher reaches it separates the Moffat hills on the east from the Lowther hills to the west. A 53-mile (85 km) long-distance walking route called Annandale Way running through Annandale (from the source of the River Annan to the sea) was opened in September 2009.Annanhead Hill
Annanhead Hill is a 478-metre (1,568 ft) summit in the Moffat Hills of Scotland. It lies on the boundary between the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) north of Moffat, in the Southern Uplands.Annanhead is one of four hills encircling the Devil's Beef Tub, the headwaters of River Annan.The hill is crossed by Annandale Way hiking trail designated in 2009.Beattock
Beattock is a village in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, approximately 1⁄2 mile (0.80 km) south-west of Moffat and 19 miles (31 km) north of Dumfries.
Beattock was historically served by the A74 road and the West Coast Main Line, however the road has since been upgraded to the A74(M) motorway and no longer passes through the village. Beattock railway station was closed in 1972.
Beattock Summit is located approximately 10 miles (16 km) to the north of the village in the neighbouring administrative area of South Lanarkshire. At 1,033 ft (315 m) it is the highest point on both the M74, and on the West Coast Main Line within Scotland. The poet W. H. Auden's 1936 work Night Mail makes reference to the summit.
The Southern Upland Way and the Annandale Way run close to the village.Dumfries and Galloway
Dumfries and Galloway (Scots: Dumfries an Gallowa; Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Phrìs is Gall-Ghaidhealaibh) is one of 32 unitary council areas of Scotland and is located in the western Southern Uplands. It comprises the historic counties of Dumfriesshire, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright and Wigtownshire, the latter two of which are collectively known as Galloway. The administrative centre is the town of Dumfries.
Following the 1975 reorganisation of local government in Scotland, the three counties were joined to form a single region of Dumfries and Galloway, with four districts within it. Since the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, however, it has become a unitary local authority. For lieutenancy purposes, the historic counties are largely maintained with its three lieutenancy areas being Dumfries, Wigtown and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.
To the north, Dumfries and Galloway borders East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire; in the east the Borders; and to the south the county of Cumbria in England and the Solway Firth. To the west lies the Irish Sea.Dumfriesshire
Dumfriesshire or the County of Dumfries (Siorrachd Dhùn Phris in Gaelic) is a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area of Scotland.
It borders Kirkcudbrightshire to the west, Ayrshire to the north-west, Lanarkshire, Peeblesshire and Selkirkshire to the north, and Roxburghshire to the east. To the south is the coast of the Solway Firth, and the English county of Cumberland.
Dumfries has three subdivisions: Annandale, Eskdale and Nithsdale.
For purposes of modern local government, it is combined with Galloway to form the council area of Dumfries and Galloway.List of long-distance footpaths in the United Kingdom
There are hundreds of long-distance footpaths in the United Kingdom designated in publications from public authorities, guidebooks and OS maps. They are mainly used for hiking and walking, but some may also be used, in whole or in part, for mountain biking and horse riding. Most are in rural landscapes, in varying terrain, some passing through National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is no formal definition of a long-distance path, though the British Long Distance Walkers Association defines one as a route "20 miles [32 km] or more in length and mainly off-road." They usually follow existing rights of way, often over private land, joined together and sometimes waymarked to make a named route. Generally, the surface is not specially prepared, with rough ground, uneven surfaces and stiles, which can cause accessibility issues for people with disabilities. Exceptions to this can be converted railways, canal towpaths and some popular fell walking routes where stone-pitching and slabs have been laid to prevent erosion. Many long-distance footpaths are arranged around a particular theme such as one specific range of hills or a historical or geographical connection.Lochmaben
Lochmaben (Gaelic: Loch Mhabain) is a small town and civil parish in Scotland, and site of a once-important castle. It lies four miles west of Lockerbie, in Dumfries and Galloway.Long-distance footpaths in Scotland
This page lists long-distance footpaths in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage have defined such paths as meaning a route that is at least 32 kilometres (20 mi) long and primarily off-road, or on quieter roads and tracks. This definition is consistent with that of the British Long Distance Walkers Association.Moffat
Moffat (Anglicized Scottish Gaelic: Am Magh Fada, "The Long Plain") is a former burgh in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, lying on the River Annan, with a population of around 2,500. It was a centre of the wool trade and a spa town.
Moffat is around 59 mi (95 km) to the southeast of Glasgow, 51 mi (82 km) to the south of Edinburgh, 21 mi (34 km) to the north of Dumfries and 44 mi (71 km) to the north of Carlisle.
The Moffat House Hotel, located at the northern end of the High Street, was designed by John Adam. The nearby Star Hotel, a mere 20 ft (6 m) wide, was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the narrowest hotel in the world. Moffat won the Britain in Bloom contest in 1996.
Moffat is the home to Moffat toffee.
The town is held to be the ancestral seat of Clan Moffat. The Devil's Beef Tub near Moffat was used by the members of Clan Moffat and later the members of Clan Johnstone to hoard cattle stolen in predatory raids.Moffat Hills
The Moffat hills are a range of hills in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. They form a distinctly triangular shape with a west facing side, a north facing side, and a south-east facing side. It is 17 kilometres from east to west across this triangle and some 16 kilometres north to south. The highest point is White Coomb at 821 m (2694 ft). The town of Moffat lies just south of the Moffat hills and along with Tweedsmuir, at the northern extremity, is the only centre of population around these hills. In some older maps the northern part of the Moffat Hills is called the Tweedsmuir Hills.Newbie, Dumfrieshire
Newbie is a populated place in Annandale South, near Annan. It is home to a pharmaceutics plant belonging to Phoenix Chemicals of Liverpool.The Great Trail, the Annandale Way, has a trailhead at Newbie Barns, a small collection of dwellings in Newbie.Romans and Reivers Route
The Romans and Reivers Route is a long-distance path in southern Scotland, linking the Forest of Ae in Dumfries and Galloway with Hawick in the Scottish Borders. The route, which is 84 km long, uses forest tracks, drovers' roads and some sections of public road to link Roman roads across the border country of Scotland. It takes its name from these roads, and the fact that it passes through areas associated with the Border Reivers, the name given to cattle raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border between late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. The route is intended to be suitable for walkers, cyclists and horseriders, having been specifically developed to include features such as self-closing gates.The Romans and Reivers Route was originally developed by British Horse Society Scotland, and is now managed by the local authorities of the two council areas through which it passes: Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council. The route is designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage, and links with four other Great Trails:
Annandale Way at Beattock
Borders Abbeys Way at Hawick
Cross Borders Drove Road at Hawick
Southern Upland Way, which shares sections of path with the Romans and Reivers Route around BeattockScotland's Great Trails
Scotland's Great Trails are long-distance "people-powered" trails in Scotland, analogous to the National Trails of England and Wales or the Grande Randonnée paths of France. The designated routes are primarily intended for walkers, but may have sections suitable for cyclists and horse-riders; one of the trails, the Great Glen Canoe Trail, is designed for canoeists and kayakers. The trails range in length from 40 to 340 km, and are intended to be tackled over several days, either as a combination of day trips or as an end-to-end expedition.In order to be classified as one of Scotland’s Great Trails, a route must fulfil certain criteria. Each of the routes must be at least 40 km in length, and clearly waymarked with a dedicated symbol. It is expected that visitor services will be present along the way, and that the route has an online presence to help visitors in planning their journey. Trails are required to run largely off-road, with less than 20% of the route being on tarmac. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is the custodian of the brand, maintaining the official list and providing some of the finance and publicity, but responsibility for creating and maintaining each route lies with the local authority(ies) through which a route passes. There are 29 routes, offering 3000 km of trails in total. Additionally, the northernmost 10 kilometres (6 mi) of the Pennine Way between the Anglo-Scottish border and Kirk Yetholm lie within Scotland, but are designated as one of the National Trails of England.
The route of each of the Great Trails is marked with coloured diamonds on Ordnance Survey Explorer (1:25000) and Landranger (1:50000) maps; the SGT logo of a thistle within a hexagon is also used to highlight the routes at the 1:25000 scale.Solway Firth
The Solway Firth (Scottish Gaelic: Tràchd Romhra) is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria (including the Solway Plain) and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria, to the Mull of Galloway, on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. The Isle of Man is also very near to the firth. The firth comprises part of the Irish Sea.
The coastline is characterised by lowland hills and small mountains. It is a mainly rural area with fishing and hill farming (as well as some arable farming) still playing a large part in the local economy, although tourism is increasing. It has also been used for the location of films such as The Wicker Man, which was filmed around Kirkcudbright and Burrow Head on the Wigtownshire coast.
The Solway Coast was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1964. Construction of Robin Rigg Wind Farm began in the firth in 2007.Southern Upland Way
The Southern Upland Way is a 338-kilometre (210 mi) long distance coast-to-coast trail in southern Scotland. The route links Portpatrick in the west and Cockburnspath in the east via the hills of the Southern Uplands. It opened in 1984, and was the UK’s first officially recognised coast-to-coast long-distance route. The Way is designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails by Scottish Natural Heritage, and is the longest of the 29 Great Trails. The Southern Upland Way meets with seven of the other Great Trails: the Annandale Way, the Berwickshire Coastal Path, the Borders Abbeys Way, the Cross Borders Drove Road, the Mull of Galloway Trail, the Romans and Reivers Route and St Cuthbert's Way.The path is maintained by the local authorities of the two main council areas through which it passes: Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council; a short section in the Lowther Hills lies in South Lanarkshire. It is primarily intended for walkers, but many sections are suitable for mountain bikers; some sections are also suitable for horseriders. About 80,000 people use the path every year, of whom about 1,000 complete the entire route.The Southern Upland Way forms part of the E2 European long-distance path, which runs for 3,010 miles (4,850 km) from Galway to Nice.
(England and Wales)
|Scotland's Great Trails|