Frequently Asked Questions

1Which direction should I do the route?
The Annandale Way is set up to be done from North to South, starting near Moffat and finishing near Annan. You can however do the route in either direction as both ways are waymarked.
2Can I do the Annandale Way on a mountain bike?

Scottish Outdoor Access Code includes access by bike so you can cycle along the route as long as you act responsibly. This means not damaging anything as you pass and not causing any harm to wildlife, farm animals or crops. It also requires you to be courteous and give way to other route users.

For more information please go to the Outdoor Access Code Website.

The Annandale Way does have some sections that are very difficult to cycle. For these we would recommend using an alternative route. Each route section description has some information on whether it is suitable for bikes.

We are currently working on improving access for bikes along the way. We are also developing alternative routes where necessary for gravel bikes.
3Is wild camping allowed on the Way?
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code allows wild camping. This type of camping is lightweight, done in small numbers and only for one or two nights in any one place.

The two important things to remember are to choose a responsible site to camp in and to leave no trace after you leave.

A good site to camp will be away from cultivated fields, livestock and any buildings. Be careful to avoid disturbing deer stalking or grouse shooting.

When you leave you must be careful to clear up all litter, clear all trace of your tent pitch and any fire site.

For more information please go to the Outdoor Access Code Website.
4Am I allowed to light a fire?
According to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code fires are allowed in certain circumstances. You must be responsible when lighting a fire and this can be difficult.

If there is any chance of the fire spreading then it is not responsible to light one. In very hot weather fires are never acceptable as the chance of causing a wildfire is far too high. It is also never acceptable to light a fire in coniferous woodland. The sap of coniferous trees is flammable so even in wet weather you could cause a forest fire. Also any ground that is peat is highly flammable. A fire lit on peat can set fire to the soil. Even when you have put out the fire there could still be enough heat under the ground for the peat to ignite. Fire can spread a considerable distance underground before coming back to the surface elsewhere. Lighting a fire on peat soil is never a responsible thing to do.

The Annandale Way goes through a lot of coniferous woodland and much of the rest is on peat soil. Because of this we would always recommend using a camping stove for cooking rather than a camp fire.

For more information please go to the Outdoor Access Code Website.
5Can I use my phone to navigate or do I need to use a map and compass?
You should always have a map and compass with you and know how to navigate using them.

There are waymarks showing the way along the entire length of the route. There are however areas across open moorland where it can be some distance between waymark posts. There can also be areas where posts have fallen over or are obscured by vegetation.

GPS devices and smartphones are a very good way to navigate but they are reliant on batteries and signals. We would always recommend taking a phone but you should not rely on it.

The official Annandale Way guidebook has maps of the entire route but we would strongly recommend also taking OS explorer maps with you. The entire route is covered by OS explorer 330 - Moffat & St Mary's Loch and OS explorer 322 Annandale.
6What is the best guide book for the route?
The most recent guide book is the second edition of ‘Annandale Way’, Rucksack Readers 2023 by Roger Turnbull and Jacquetta Megarry. Buy it here.
7How many days will it take to complete the route?
The Way can be walked in 5 days doing about 10 to 14 miles a day. This will involve splitting the long section between Moffat and Lockerbie/Lochmaben into 2. As there is no accommodation on this section of the route you will need to either wild camp or get a taxi to a hotel or B&B. If you are happy with a long day of 18.5 miles between Moffat and Lochmaben you can do the route in 4 days.
8When is the best time of year to do the Way?
The route can be done at any time of year but will provide a different experience depending on the season. In winter the Devils Beef Tub section can be very difficult because of the high altitude and it being covered in snow for several months. Even in the early spring or late autumn there could be snow or harsh weather conditions. We would recommend you only do this section of the route at this time of year if you are experienced and confident in your abilities.

In late spring and summer Southern Scotland can still be wet so be prepared for all weather conditions.

We think that May or September could be the best time of year to do the route as the weather is likely to be good. You also have the plenty of light in the evening and the midges and ticks not as bad.
9Do I need to book accommodation?
Yes. There are several areas of the route where there are only a small number of accommodation providers. Even in busier areas we would always recommend booking to be sure of having somewhere to stay. At quieter times of year some B&Bs and Hotels will be closed so even then booking is a good idea. The only time we would suggest doing the route without booking is when you are happy to wild camp.

Details of accommodation along the route can be found on our interactive map.
10Is baggage transfer available?
Yes baggage transfer is available along the full length of the route. Booking companies can sort this out for you or you can arrange it yourself. We have more information and a list of baggage transfer options.
11Are ticks and Lymes disease a problem?
Ticks are small invertebrates similar to spiders which are common in woodland and open moorland where they feed off sheep and deer. They are also known to bite humans and can pass on Lymes Disease. They are common on the Annandale but are not normally a problem if you take a few simple precautions.

They will bite and attach themselves to dogs and people and once attached will remain there for several days feeding on the blood of the host. Once they have finished feeding they will fall off.

Not all ticks will carry the disease. In some, but not all cases when the disease is passed on a rash will develop in a ring around the bite.

After spending time out on the Annandale Way you should always check yourself thoroughly for ticks and remove any that are attached. You should carry a special removal tool to ensure that the whole tick is removed.

If you see a rash or feel feverish and tired after a tick bite you should contact your doctor.

For more information go to Lyme Disease Action.
12Are midges a problem on the Annandale Way?

During warm wet weather in the Spring and Summer there can be a lot of midges in Southern Scotland. They are very seldom bad enough to spoil a day out on the Annandale Way and a few simple precautions will normally keep them from being a bother.

Midges do not tend to fly if it is dry or if it is windy so the number of days that you will find them is limited. They tend to keep to low lying areas near water. Although places along the route can be full of them you will not be in these places for very long.

If you do come across midges there are several insect repellents such as Smidge or Skin so Soft that will keep them away. If all else fails a midge net that covers your face will ensure they cannot trouble you. In the evening if you cannot light a fire to keep them away then citronella candles can be used instead.
13Can I bring my dog with me?
Your dog is very welcome to come and do the Annandale Way with you. We often take our own dogs out on the way. There are a few things that we would ask you do do when out with your dog.

Some sections of the route go through farmland with livestock. Dogs should be kept under very close control, ideally on a lead when going through areas with livestock. If there are lambs or calves in a field then you must not take your dog into that field and must find another way around. Because of this you should always check before taking your dog onto a part of the route that goes through farmland.

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