The Annandale Way is a 56-mile (90km) walking/hiking route in Scotland. Beginning in the high hills above Moffat, the route navigates around the River Annan and all the way down to the Solway Estuary.
This spectacular walk is one of the very best in Scotland and can either be walked from north to south or vice versa. This guide will tell you what you need to know when hiking the Annandale Way, including the wonderful sights you’ll see, the many accommodations and transport facilities, plus much more.
Hiking the Annandale Way
1. The Weather
In terms of the weather conditions when hiking the Annandale Way, it’s important to bear in mind that some sections of the walk (the circuit north of Moffat) involve notable altitude gain.
While you can usually expect the weather to be relatively decent, you should also be prepared for some thick cloud. This is likely to affect your visibility when you’re approaching Joe Graham’s monument, for example.
2. Difficulty Level
The Annandale Way makes for an idyllic, yet challenging, route for beginner, intermediate, and experienced hikers. Despite the altitude gain north of Moffat and a large climb near Lochmaben branch, the overall hike is generally quite pleasant.
However, less experienced hikers should be aware that some parts of the hike may be too long for them to tackle. The Moffat to Lochmaben route is 30km and Moffat to Lockerbie is a distance of 34 km. But for these sections of the hike, it’s easy to cover ground quickly by taking the bus. So you should be able to experience the trail without too much difficulty.
Some sections of the Annandale Way can be difficult and strenuous, so young children and people with mobility issues may not be able to cope with the entire route. Luckily, there are many parts of the hike that can be enjoyed by everyone!
3. Highlights to See
There are so many wonderful highlights to see on the Annandale Way. The following list will give you an idea of some of the unmissable sights along the way:
- The River Annan’s pristine water
- The views from Chalk Rig Edge out over Annandale
- The spectacular views from Joe Graham’s hillside monument
- The plentiful red sandstone buildings, churches and ruined castles along the hiking trail
- The wonderful views over the Solway Firth that provide hikers with sightings of wild birds and other fascinating wildlife
4. Accommodation Options
There are plenty of accommodation facilities when hiking the Annandale Way, whether you’re planning to stay in hotels, B&Bs, or inns. You’ll find suitable, affordable and comfortable accommodation in Moffat, Annan, and Lockerbie.
It’s also legal to wild camp in Scotland, providing that you camp responsibly. This can be a great way to experience the natural beauty and incredible views that the Annandale Way has to offer.
The Annandale Way hike is abundant with spectacular species of wildlife. The Solway Firth is home to the world’s entire population of Svalbard Barnacle Geese, who visit the Solway between September and April every year.
Meanwhile, the Eskrigg Nature Reserve is better suited to those wishing to explore beautiful natural habitats, including abundant woodland, streams, ponds and plenty of grassland.
At Joe Graham’s Monument on the Annandale Way, hikers might catch a glimpse of the elusive deer, badgers, and foxes that scurry about in the Annan Valley below the monument’s vantage point.
6. Getting There
Whether you’re local to Scotland or not, there are plenty of ways to get to the Annandale Way’s hiking points.
Travel by road from Gretna on the A75, A74 or the M6, or jump on one of the frequent trains that run from Carlisle and Glasgow and stop at Annan, Gretna, and Dumfries.
There are also numerous bus services that can take you to the start of Annandale Way. Alternatively, you could even choose to cycle through villages and along rural routes to reach the starting point.
7. Luggage Transfer
It’s also a good idea to note that there are numerous accommodation facilities that will offer you luggage transfer as standard when you’re hiking the Annandale Way.
You can organise luggage pick-ups and drop-offs at the train and bus stations in Lockerbie and Annan. It’s also possible to organise pick-ups and drop-offs at many points along the hiking route. Providing that you give your hotel or B&B a little bit of notice before you require your luggage transfer, you should be able to arrange this with no issues at all.
The Annandale Way is one of the greatest hiking routes in Scotland. With stunning views of the valleys below, opportunities to spot wildlife, plus the chance to immerse yourself in an abundance of nature, the Annandale Way is an excellent hike for everyone.
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Rebecca is a freelance translator who is passionate about her work and grateful for the travels it has taken her on. She has recently started writing about some of her experiences at RoughDraft.
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One thought on “Hiking the Annandale Way: 7 Things You Need to Know”
I just returned from hiking the Annandale Way in 4 days with a friend. It was a beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable trip, but the navigation and waymarking on the Way were inconsistent and difficult to follow at times. We ended up covering 80 miles, rather than the 55 miles advertised. We did take some wrong turns and occasionally lost the path, but not 30 miles worth! We only crossed paths with one other walker the entire 4 days. I’m not sure if that’s down to the pandemic, or just that the Annandale Way is a much-less-travelled route than the West Highland Way which I walked 4 years ago. The WHW was way easier to navigate. I never got lost once. I would tell someone walking the Annandale Way to use GPS, carry an extra phone battery, and expect to walk 30% more than the guidebook’s mileage lays out. Even so, we had an incredible walk and would do it again!