Writing on his blog, Chris Townsend said, “Just finished a six day walk along the Annandale Way, an interesting route in southwest Scotland. Following the River Annan from its source in the hills to the Solway Firth the walk is a mix of moors, forests, fields, rivers, lochs and coastlines. The walk is particularly rich in bird life – I was glad I’d taken my binoculars – and, at this time of year, wild flowers. As a backpacking route it has challenges – finding wild camp sites and, even more, water required time and effort. But I did find three excellent wild sites and two quiet camp sites at Lochmaben (a lovely lochside spot) and Castle Hoddom.”
The route can also easily be walked using accommodation along the route, although pre-planning is needed to ensure transport and accommodation at some places.
Annandale Head is the start of the route but it lies away from roads so the first day of the Annandale Way is a loop north from Moffat, climbing from the banks of the River Annan to heather moorland and rolling hills with the dramatic deep scoop of the Devil’s Punchbowl prominent before descending back to the town. From Moffat the route makes its way south through farmland, forest and moorland, passing under the M74 motorway and over the West Coast rail line. Later, at Corncockle Plantation a decision has to be made as the route splits here, the eastern arm staying in the heart of the valley and passing close to the town of Lockerbie, the western arm passing through the little town of Lochmaben and then venturing up onto the hills edging the valley. The two routes come together again at another wood, Sorrysike Moor, from where the Annandale Way heads to the coast mostly along the banks of the River Annan, passing Hoddom Castle and going through the town of Annan before reaching the Solway Firth.
The mix of terrain makes this a wonderful walk for natural history, especially flowers, trees and birds. There are some magnificent woods and a wide variety of birds – moorland, woodland, field, river and coast. There is much history along the way too, from standing stones, hill forts and pele towers to castles and mansions. The route is mostly clearly waymarked.
To see full description and mapping for the Annandale Way visit the Walkhighlands website and start planning your next Scottish long distance route. The Walkhighlands route description was developed with the support of Scottish Natural Heritage.