Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A flavour of walking the Annandale Way - from five schools along its route

From the Devil’s Beef Tub to the Devil’s Bath Tub

We took a walk on the Annandale Way.
At Corehead, under the Devil’s Beef Tub
glaciers cut into the hills
thousands of years ago and
many valleys now thread into one.
We smelt wet moss and felt
attached to the shimmery small river
as it flowed gently past –
glistening rocks and spongy grass.
We were nearing the end of our walk
but for the river it was just beginning.

On the way to Beattock
a rainbow hovered over the hill.
We marched a Roman road
like centurions
past an army of pylons
thinking a word rhythm in time
with our steps.
We burrowed under the M74
and met the Evan Water
wanting to be free from the rocks
which squeezed and corseted it.
We felt sad to see the river closed off
by the motorway,
but some of us
never knew it was there.

S1 Moffat Academy

We took a walk on the Annandale Way.
Tall grand trees loomed over us,
others were down-hearted,
lifeless stumps.
We trudged towards the rickety bridge
that had holes like little eyes
spying on us from the river below.
It creaked as
we crept, afraid
we might fall deep, deep, deep.
The whistling wind wove through the trees
like the spirit of the baker chained
in Spedlin’s Tower
for baking bad bread, and
left roaming there.

Birds whistled to each other
a soft lullaby.
The river was trickling,
then rushing, crashing, whooshing,
roaring like a tiger.
The sweet smell of
bright white hawthorn
tickled sneezes from us and
fresh, lush air hung
above the tree canopy.
We said to ourselves,
‘We’ll never make bad bread’.

P7 Lochmaben Primary

We took a walk on the Annandale Way.
The gorse was like a blanket of mustard
on a bed of nails.
It smelt of coconut-butter,
taking us back to
exotic holidays.
We saw many things.
Cows were one,
sheep were two, and birds were three.
Joe Graham’s monument rose,
a sharp needle from its hill
like a candle on a birthday cake.
From there we could see
the huge belching monster that is the
cheese factory and
the Solway Firth shining
like a crescent moon.
The Annan below was like a wavy ribbon
weaving continuously.
We could trace the river
like a palm reader following
the lifelines on an open, eager hand,
telling us stories.
Mud, like marshmallows,
squelched under our toes
tried to steal our shoes
and set as cement.

We took a walk on the Annandale Way.
Children were yelping, whooping, breaking
the silence with their joy.
Laughter tumbled down the hill
and the trees talked to one another
in the wind.
The gazing eyes of a deserted house
inhabited by crows and bats
made us shiver as we passed.
Fighter–jet sounds
rumbled overhead like a giant’s belly.
On the crest of a hill
sat the misty outline of wind turbines
near the steep volcano of Burnswark,
green and smooth on top.
We found a bird’s leg full of decay,
the smell of young trees budding.
Our legs,
tied down with kilogram weights,
grew tired from walking.
Some of us thought it a lonely place
because nobody else was there.

S1 Lockerbie Academy

We took a walk
on the Annandale Way.
On the horizon the hills climbed
so that the sun could nest between them.
The Annan ran softly and smooth
its golden cool waters rustling like leaves.
We came to the glittering place
where it met the Water of Milk.
Families of water joined
and went on their way as one.
A huge heron flapped its wings.

We took a walk
on the Annandale Way
and the towers of the old pink
Hoddom Castle
peered from above the forest and lured us in.
Trees were around us like a cave,
leaves dripping with bright blue raindrops,
a rainforest canopy,
the smell of nature.
Wild garlic smiled at us.
Bluebells, giant hogweed and
wild rhubarb grew.
Birds scattered through the leaves,
one calling like a creaky door.
The river roared.
After Hoddom Bridge
buttercups spread over lush green grass
to lead us to the deserted graveyard
of Saint Kentigern.

We took a walk in Annandale
and at the end we asked,
‘Can we walk the whole way?’

P6/7 Hoddom Primary

We took a walk from Annan
on the Annandale Way.
At Welldale, by the old piers,
it was just us, the wind, the water and the curlews
where once had been shouting workers,
passengers hauling luggage for the ‘Victoria’,
shrimp boats chugging
and sandstone blocks banged aboard
to sail abroad.
Over the small stone bridge
lines of Cochran’s men once cycled,
and we took a walk
on the Annandale Way.

At Barnkirk Point, the tide was coming in,
pushing the river back upstream
instead of flowing to meet other waters
for the party of the Solway.
Warring waves drew
a spiral pattern on the surface,
rough rippling as if fingers
had been dragged through sand.
‘Let me out!’ the river called to the sea,
and we named this deep and dangerous meeting place
the ‘Devil’s Bath Tub’.

When the tide turned,
allowing the Annan to flood the Solway mud,
the river lost itself
un-named, unnoticed, forgotten.
But we knew its waters would, in time,
be sucked skywards
to return as clouds
to the hills of the Devil’s Beef Tub
fifty miles inland.

‘You again!’ the hills will say,
as they tear at the clouds, emptying them
so the waters begin their descent
and once again we call them ‘Annan’.

S1 Annan Academy

With thanks to CREATE and Sulwath Connections who are running this project. You will find more of the pupils' work here.

1 comment:

baran mohseni said...

With spirit we would know.
With knowledge we could see.
With sight we should know.
With sight we would know.
With knowledge we could grow.
With growth we should know.

With growth we would know.
With knowledge we could see.
With sight we should know.