Day 52: 14 May 2014; Lochmaben to Moffatt

Day 52: 14 May 2014; Lochmaben to Moffatt
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 52
Date Wed 14 May 2014 Start to end time 07h 26m
Start point Lochmaben End point Moffatt
Miles today 18.83 Cu miles 974.27
Ft today 1,591 Cu ft 132,287
Route miles left 516.15 Route ft left 67,023
Today’s weather Bright and sunny windless morning; clouded over in afternoon with light westerly breeze. About 15C
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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)

“I’d had an impromptu tour of Lochmaben last night, searching for something to eat. I’d been attracted by the promise of the curry night at the nearby pub, only to be told when I got there that the chef was sick and so there was no food on offer (thank goodness, probably). So I had a pint and some pork scratchings and went over to the chip shop. It looked good enough but I think I was still digesting Carlisle’s deep fried haggis with chips and gravy and wasn’t quite over it yet. I’d been warned to steer clear of the Chinese takeaway so I ended up at the golf clubhouse. I’m not a golfer at all and after my comments about thinking that golf courses would make rather nice campsites I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be allowed in. But in fact the bar staff couldn’t have been friendlier and they cooked me up an excellent gammon steak which I enjoyed whilst watching the golfers pottering around on the greens in the late evening sunshine.

This morning was sunny, again, so I arose in good spirits and after a relatively leisurely start I was on the road to Moffatt just before 8. I followed the Annandale Way all day, again, and it was a relatively straightforward hike. In some ways reminiscent of the Wye Valley Way in Wales, seeing the river get smaller and smaller, and the hills get bigger and bigger as I progressed upstream.

The spring colours in the fields, woods and hedgerows were, once again, stunning against the electric blue sky. I saw a deer running through one of the forests, but it was away too quickly for me to tell what sort it was. Otters and kingfishers once again remained conspicuous by their absence. In fact the most abundant wildlife were cows. I’m not sure if they actually count as wildlife but there were certainly a lot of them. I must admit I’m not a great fan of cows, mainly because they are bigger than me. They also tend to churn up fields and turn paths into slimy, smelly quagmires. And at one point today I was crossing a large moorland area when I came across about 40 of these fearsome Friesians heading purposefully in my direction. They eventually lost interest and went to moo at someone else but I didn’t hang about to take photos and I do find that experiences like this can be a good treatment for constipation.

The afternoon’s walk took me across the railway and the motorway at Beattock and on to Moffatt. It was a pleasant walk through increasingly wild scenery, and at one point the path coincided with the Southern Upland Way – one of the longest and remotest walks in the UK. I disturbed a colony of rooks (remembering that ”a crow in a crowd is a rook”) just outside Moffatt. They objected to my presence and circled around the treetops creating a cacophony of squawking in the hope of chasing me away, I think.

I’m camping tonight at the excellent Moffat Camping and Caravanning site, who have agreed to waive their normal camping fee, in recognition of my charity walk.   Very kind of them, and much appreciated.

Now I’m off to sample the delights of Moffatt cuisine. It’s an old spa town, after sulphurous springs were discovered here a couple of centuries ago. So perhaps there will be lots of healthy options on offer. On the other hand, steak and ale pie with sticky toffee pudding could be an option…”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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The swan on the Kirk loch by Lochmaben campsite this morning was so territorial he had been nicknamed “Mr Grumpy” Striking beech tree just coming into leaf along the wayside
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At Nono’s seat. A passing farmer told me it had been installed by the local postman who was fed up with not having somewhere to rest at the top of the hill. It has now achieved cult status and has its own Facebook page Glad I only saw this after I had left the field..
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Trainspotter heaven! Overlooking the marshalling yards at Beattock, on the west coast line Raucous rooks in their rookery, just outside Moffatt
In the upper Annan valley. River looking distinctly smaller now
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue