Friday, July 06, 2012

Walk 300 -- Powfoot to Annan

Ages:  Colin was 70 years and 59 days.  Rosemary was 67 years and 202 days.
Weather:  Cloudy.  Quite windy, but warm.
Location:  Powfoot to Annan.
Distance:  5 miles.
Total distance:  3041 miles.
Terrain:  A lot of stony beach.  Some paved cycleways.  Flat.
Tide:  In.
Rivers:  No.368, Bow Water.  No.369, River Annan.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  None.
Pubs:  The Bluebell Inn in Annan.  We drank Deuchars IPA and Andrews ‘Supus Lupus’.
‘Historic Scotland’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  None.
How we got there and back:  We were staying in our caravan in Powfoot.  This morning Colin drove into Annan, parked the car and came back on the bus.  We started the Walk from the caravan.
At the end we came into Annan and went to the pub.  Then we walked to the car, and came back to the caravan for our tea and biscuits.

Yesterday morning, a ‘rest’ day, my heel was so excruciatingly sore I could barely walk.  I was very miserable about it.  I strapped it up, took painkillers and later on it was OK for ordinary walking about.   This morning we got up at six with the full intention of walking all the way to Gretna today, a distance of eighteen miles.    But my heel had gone septic and was oozing goo.   I strapped it up, but when I put my shoes on to walk across to the toilet block I realised there was no way I was going to be able to walk such a long distance today!  
The pain was agonising and I felt very low.  Colin suggested we divide the next Walk into two, so I looked at the planned schedules and said I could probably manage an amble into Annan this afternoon.  Then we could cope with the second half of the Walk from the Carlisle site we know and love – neither of us like this pretentious caravan site at Powfoot, and we were only too keen to pull up our steadies, hook on and drive off.  I put fresh dressings on my heel, took painkillers, and we set off on the Walk after lunch.
We walked through the caravan site on the official Coastal Path, then through the public car park.  This had a rusty metal archway over the entrance to stop bigger vehicles entering, but there was nothing to stop such vehicles driving over a small patch of grass next to the arch, thereby bypassing  the gate altogether!
We could still see Criffel in the distance, away to the west behind us.
We passed the inevitable golf course, and walked into Powfoot village.  The village itself is pretty, (it was only the caravan site we didn’t like).
We came to the village green – it looked like a bowling green, and we were both reminded of the one in Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire where Colin’s father used to play.  But this green had a flower bed in the middle, and the grass was not closely mown.  We crossed the river on a bridge, followed a track for a few yards and then we were on the beach.
The shore was quite stony, and the unevenness was not good for my sore foot.  We couldn’t get over the number of bricks on this bit of beach, many of them still cemented together in blocks but rounded by the sea.  We wondered what sort of building had been washed away, it must have been quite substantial, or several structures.  We concluded they were some sort of Second World War defence buildings, abandoned, collapsed and now eroded away.
We watched a family of swans glide by.
The estuary is fairly narrow by this point, England is not so far away any more.  We could see a clump of tall radio masts on the English side.
There was only one other couple on the beach besides us, and they turned round to return at the first sign of wet, so we were really on our own.
We came to a small river which was too deep to paddle across.  There was no bridge, but there was a kind of concrete barrier with a rusty fence on it.  We managed to clamber over it monkey-like without too much difficulty, though I somehow to cut my finger on the rusty fence.
Further on there was a huge flock of oystercatchers on the beach.  As we approached they rose up as one and flew past — an amazing sight!  We sat on a log to eat our apples.
We found a piece of driftwood shaped like a lower leg and foot.  Colin said it was a “Footleg” and he was going to take it home to give to our son, Paul.  (Footleg was Paul’s nickname at University, due to a plethora of Pauls in his year and the fact that he was once sent a letter addressed to “Mr Footleg”!  When he got his Ph.D he became known as “Dr Footleg” amongst his caving friends, and that remains to this day.  In fact, both his wife and his mother-in-law call him Footleg all the time, never Paul!)
We came to the road-end at Newbie, and decided that the end of the little peninsula was industrial so we didn’t have to walk it.  Besides, my foot was sore and the beach was almost impossibly uneven by now.  So we turned inland.
We passed a row of houses, two of which had ‘parking’ notices outside.  One said, “Land Rover parking only all others will be winched  The other said, “Honda parking only all others will be crushed  They obviously wished to keep their parking spaces clear!
We followed a cycle-track alongside the river where we had good views of the town.  We went under the railway bridge, than crossed the river on the cycle-track bridge.  A few yards, and we were in Annan.  It started to rain at this point so we didn’t stop, as planned, to eat our chocolate.  We went to the pub instead!
That ended Walk no.300, we shall pick up Walk no.301 next time in the town of Annan where the cycleway from the river bridge meets the road.  It was quarter to five, so the Walk had taken us three hours.  We went to a ‘real ale’ pub in town, then we walked to the car and drove back to the caravan at Powfoot.

The next day we packed up the caravan, taking the awning down in a high wind, and drove to Carlisle.  There we set up at a site we have used many times before as a stop-off on the way to northern Scotland.  The first thing we did was to have a ‘free’ shower!  It was three more days before I was able to continue with the Trek, because of my blister.

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