Sunday, May 30, 2010

Annandale Way alluring in springtime

My article about walking the Annandale Way appears in the June issue of a very nice magazine called Dumfries and Galloway Life. It's a glossy, high quality publication and so I was particularly pleased that my photos as well as words passed muster. I hope the piece will encourage a few people to walk the Way, as I do think it's understated treasures are worth seeking out, especially for people who live in the area. More about the route can be found here, including details of how to get the guide book which I helped write with pupils from five schools along the route.

This is how the article begins:

On my fourth day on the Annandale Way, I fell to my knees. The River Annan had just taken a muscular sweep under Williamath Bridge, where it held several fishermen, chest-deep. It tumbled on through a tunnel of birch, contained by low hills, while the path led me away.

It wasn't tiredness that felled me, or prayer, although I was in St Mungo's graveyard. It sloped dankly towards the river, sheltering horizontal gravestones that had collected mattresses of moss. The roofless church hosted a congregation of head-nodding daffodils. Knees dampened, I faced one of many ornately carved graves, and by parting the long grass from its base, revealed two small, age-rounded figures, either side of a stone tree. I could just make out a serpent appealing to one of them, and the suggestion of a fruit. I was thrilled at my discovery.

Many of us think we know Annandale, hurtle through it often enough on the train or M74. It conjures words like ‘green’, ‘rolling’, ‘rural’. But walking it is like parting the grass to discover more: flashes of kingfisher, crumbling mansions, the blink of a hare, willow plantations for the bio-mass station whose billowing chimney near Lockerbie acts as a landmark to the traveller. The 55-mile Annandale Way surprises almost because the walking is straightforward, and much of the landscape unassuming, inviting us to get under its skin. Annandale rewards curiosity.


George said...

Thanks for the post on the Annandale Way, Linda. I will keep that one in mind for one of my future trips to the U.K. I enjoyed the part of your article reproduced on the blog. Very nicely written.

Wigeon said...

It's a wonderful area that you've portrayed superbly. As my mum said, 'you can tell this was written by a real writer - a really good writer.' Nice one!