Collect some objects which could have magic qualities (collecting may be in the form of sketching or a few words if the objects are too big to move!). Ask ‘what if…?’ e.g. What if leaves contain secret messages? What if a leaf floats downstream to Annan and a fisherman ‘reads’ it?
Tracing the river along its path like a palm reader following the lifelines on an open, eager hand
From the A701 one mile north of St Ann’s (OS Map 322 GR072, 953) head up through Hazelbank Plantation, down to Blackburn Cottage and over fields past Greenbeck and Heathfield farms. A series of minor roads, paths through pastureland, and plantation bring you past Lochbrow, through Spedlin’s Flow and Corncockle to the road between Templand and Millhousebridge. Turn left here, following the ‘Lockerbie’ sign, to Millhousebridge down the banks of the Annan. If, stopping in Lockerbie turn left after Applegarthtown leaving the Annandale Way, walking along quiet roads into the town. If you’re carrying on turn right along the road through Gallaberry Plantation across Dryfe Water, along quiet roads to Lockerbie Memorial Garden. Here is a second opportunity to enter Lockerbie along the A709.
Continuing south, cross the main road through the plantation that makes up Eskrigg Nature Reserve. Follow on through Pilmur, Southfield along a minor road, drop towards Kettleholm where you turn right walking with the Water of Milk to your left and through the plantation past Milkbank Kennels. Carry on to Broom where a sharp right will see you rejoin the westward loop of the Annandale Way. Go through Brocklerigg Farm, just before the Milk joins the Annan and follow the river until opposite Hoddom Castle, crossing on the Mainholm footbridge, either for the castle or Hoddom Bridge on the B723. (OS Map 322 GR164,727). (OS Map 322 GR164,727)
From Hoddom Bridge on the B723 (OS Map 322 GR164,727), follow a path along the south bank of the Annan, crossing at Mainholm footbridge and onto Brocklerigg Farm. About 1km north of the farm take the easterly loop of the Ananndale Way, signposted ‘Lockerbie’. Soon you will have the Water of Milk to your right as you make your way north past Milkbank Kennels, Southfield, Firpark and on into the Eskrigg Nature Reserve. There are three opportunities to divert into Lockerbie, the first of these is in the Nature Reserve, a second along the A7009 and the final one after Gallaberry plantation.
If you ignore the Lockerbie diversions, you will cross the main road at the Memorial Gardens and follow minor roads over Dryfe Water, through Gallaberry and onto along the banks of the Annan into Millhousebridge. About 1km later, you rejoin the western loop of the Annandale Way. Out of these lowlands formed by the junction of the Annan and Kinnel Water, a series of minor roads, paths through pastureland, and plantation tracks gently lead you towards the uplands, firstly through Corncockle Plantation and Spedlin’s Flow, then past Lochbrow and over the fields of Heathfield, before heading up through Hazelbank Plantation and finally emerging on the A701 one mile north of St Ann’s. (OS Map GR322 072, 953)