Sandyhills to Carsethorn. 15 Miles

August 15, 2009

Southerness Lighthouse

Today the weather was much improved over yesterdays horrendous non stop rain. I initially thought that I could go across Sandyhills Bay and ford the river (Southwick Water). However the tide was coming in and I had been advised that tides are very quick and that the river would fill first and so after walking a mile or so I decided that it was too risky to take the chance and turned round and reluctantly headed for the main road which climbed above the bay.

The area is infamous for its fast tidal waters and quicksands so I think I made the right decision to avoid the shore on this occasion. I had been told last week in a church cafe at Dundrennan of two people who had go caught out trying to walk to Heston island and had got stuck in the mud and drowned when the tide came in – I didnt want to sufer the same fate as those two unfortunate souls.

After by-passing the river by walking to Caulkerbush, the road turned south and headed towards the Mersehead wildlife reserve, and the long stretch of beach that headed east towards Southernness.  Southerness is characterised by one of the oldest lighthouses in Scotland which unusually is square shaped rather than round.

After stopping at the hotel for a quick coffee I set off again towards Arbigland and Paul Jones Cottage. Unfortunately my gps was showing a path which turned out to lead deeper into overgrown nettles, wild roses and various other flora that ganged up to scratch and tear at my skins and clothes. I trained vainly to battle me way towards what I could see was the back of an orchard but gave up as the brambles and bushes were just too dense. I couldnt believe it – this was the first time in the whole of my walk that had been in such a ridiculous situation like this. (I’d been in plenty of ridiculous situations – but this was a new variety). I decided to backtrack as my battery on my map/phone/gps XDA device was just about done and I had visions of thrashing about in the dark if I didnt get my act together.

Eventually I came into a clearing that led into the grounds of what I presumed was Arbigland and by now my phone was flat as a pancake. Eventually I got back by following minor roads and using my uncanny and keenly developed sense of smell, although by now it was dark and 9.30 at night. Jings what an adventure.


Kippford to Sandyhills. 8 Miles

August 14, 2009

Happy Days are here again

Happy Days are here again

Tempus fugit and all that. Since I announced that I was going to finish my walk on the 29th August I realised I’d better get my skates on and play catch up. I don’t  want to stumble over the finish line knackered at Gretna, and so I decided to do a very short final day from Annan to Gretna of around 8 miles.

The problem was when I drove down on the Friday the rain was chucking it down heavily – probably the rainiest day of the summer this year. But I had to press on despite the weather. The little harbour at Kippford was deserted as the rain poured down. The wind and the rain kept all sensible people indoors. However the path up around the cliffs towards Rockcliffe was a good one and it was quite exciting to stand at the top of the cliffs and watch the wind whip up the froth on the waves far below.

I was happy that the wind was blowing onshore from the sea as the gusts were strong and I wouldn’t want to be leaning inland constantly to avoid being blown off into the sea. How ironic would that be with 30 miles to go?