Moffat to Lochmaben
Through forests and moorlands this sections winds through Annandale. It heads away from the river to get views over the area. This section is long so is often split into two with a detour to Johnstonebridge.
You will leave Moffat past the community nature reserve which is well worth the small detour if you have time. After a gentle wander through some fields you will come down to a road where you join two more of Scotlands Great Trails. The Southern Upland Way is an epic 214 mile route across the high wild parts of Southern Scotland. The Romans and Reivers Route on the other hand is shorter and accessible to horse riders and cyclists.
You will soon get to the village of Beattock and from here start to climb the Crooked Road. This appropriately named country lane winds steeply up into the hills. Looking back you get some amazing views of the Moffat Hills. When you get near the top you will leave the road and also the other two routes and head out over moorland. The path now winds through a high a remote landscape with fantastic views of the hills on all sides.
Once you get back down into the valley you pass close to the ruins of Lochwood Tower which is a couple of miles off the route. This was the main stronghold of Clan Johnstone, the border reivers who gave the Devils Beef Tub its name. The castle was burnt down by the rival Clan Maxwell in 1585 but it was rebuilt. A further attempt to take it by the Maxwells led to the Battle of Dryfe Sands, the site of which we will pass tomorrow.
For now, you will continue through more forest down to the site of the Eden Festival. When the festival is on you will have to follow the diversion up the road. For the rest of the year it is a nice route across a large grassy field grazed by sheep and with views across to Raehills mansion. This is where the Johnstones moved to when Lochwood Tower was finally abandoned. It is still the seat of the chief of the clan.
After crossing the A701 you will climb up through forest. From here you can see up and down the valley on a clear day. The river you see from here is the Kinnel Water which is a tributary of the Annan. Once you come out of the plantation the path meanders through farmland. You pass fields of sheep and cattle before getting to a quiet lane that runs alongside a large river. This is the Annan and it has now grown wide and slow flowing. Before long you will leave it again to dive back into woodland. This time it is the Scots Pine of Corncockle Wood. It is worth keeping your eyes open for red squirrel feeding on the cones.
As you leave the woodland the route splits in two. If you turn left, you will go through Lockerbie. Turning right will take us to Lochmaben with its lochs and castle and then on to Joe Grahams Monument.
The Lochmaben route now goes into farmland for a bit until it joins a riverside path. This is again not the Annan but the Water of Ae. Watch out for kingfisher while the path is beside the water. It soon heads back across farmland to the small town of Lochmaben.
Lochmaben has shops, pubs and places to stay for a welcome rest before the climb to Joe Grahams Monument tomorrow.
Morning mist on Castle Loch
|OS Explorer Maps||330 Moffat & St Mary's Loch
|Distance||29.5 kms / 18.5 miles|
|Height Range||50 - 215m|
|Supplies||Lots of shops in both Moffat and Lochmaben but none on route.|
|Public Transport||Good bus service from Dumfries to both Moffat and Lochmaben.|
|Cycling||All of this section is suitable for good mountain bikes.|