Day 51: 13 May 2014; Annan to Lochmaben

Day 51: 13 May 2014; Annan to Lochmaben
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 51
Date Tue 13 May 2014 Start to end time 07h 30m
Start point Annan End point Lochmaben
Miles today 18.51 Cu miles 955.44
Ft today 1,192 Cu ft 130,696
Route miles left 534.26 Route ft left 68,311
Today’s weather Fine and sunny all day. Light westerly breeze in afternoon. About 15C
IMG_1032 IMG_1031
Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“What a difference a day makes! After the heavy rain which had dogged me through Cumbria, Scotland served up one of its best days today. It was fine from the start, and the sun was already shining by the time I got up at 6:30. The rain of the last few days had left the campsite soggy, and the tent was wet once again as I put it away, but things soon started to dry out as the temperatures rose.

I didn’t quite know what to expect of the walk to Lochmaben today. The route followed the relatively new Annandale Way and I wasn’t certain whether it would turn out to be another of those deceptive “looks good on the map but doesn’t actually exist on the ground” excursions. My worries turned out to be groundless, as the route was well way-marked and, apart from a couple of points, well walked, too. It seems to string together a number of existing anglers’ paths, and local footpaths around Annan and Lochmaben, with only short sections which are “new” path.

The going was straightforward, if muddy. At one point, I stepped into what appeared to be solid ground only to have both my boots, and half the length of my socks, swallowed up by grey goopy mud. Around halfway along the walk, an inquisitive dog decided to join me at one of the farms. He followed me for about a mile before I realised that he had no intention of going home, so I had to turn round and lead him back to the farm, where he barked at me a couple of times and trotted back to his kennel. An unusual and slightly tiring diversion!

The Annan River was spectacular. With all the recent rain it was in full spate and cocoa coloured. I half expected to see oompah-loompas from Charlie’s chocolate factory hard at work around every bend. It’s obviously a popular river for salmon fishing, and the fishing path was very well maintained. There were a number of signs along the way explaining how otters and kingfishers were to be seen, but once again I was disappointed. No flashes of turquoise or sinuous ripples in the river were to be seen.

In the interests of energy conservation I cut out the section of the route which climbs the Almagill Hills, so I missed seeing the monument and fort. They will have to go on the “must return to” list. The approach to Lochmaben itself was delightful. The route followed a path which meandered through woodland along the shores of the attractive Castle Loch, before ending on the shores of Kirk Loch, where I am camping. In fact, this is one of the most attractive sites I’ve camped it – nice recently cut grass, and a pitch which backs right onto the loch. The warm sunshine also helps, but it’s nice in its own right. Time to go and find something to eat now. Haggis beckons!!”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
IMG_9943 IMG_0014
This heron took flight on my approach – it had been fishing near the weir in the chocolate-brown Annan river Signpost of greater help to Salmon than to hikers!
IMG_0022 IMG_0037
An unusual interpretative display, the orange balls are meant to represent salmon eggs, laid in the riverbank Believe it or not, this is a strawberry plant
IMG_0052 IMG_0074
This woodcarving on the shores of Castle Loch is sadly the closest I think I’ll get to seeing an otter My campsite on the shores of Kirk Loch. Lovely! These lochs are kettle-holes – created when blocks of ice were left behind after the last ice age and created water filled depressions as they melted.
Looking along the Annan river. At its best in the bright sun this morning.
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue