Day 138: Rockcliffe to Riddindyke

Distance: 22.90 miles

Ascent: 1086 feet

Weather: Sunny

Accommodation: Camping Queensberry Bay


Well after a great night’s sleep and some lovely scrambled eggs, I was ready for the day. I was being joined by Samira today, who arrived at Castletown House around 8:30, and we departed soon after. It was a strange but beautiful start to the day, heading though the lovely gardens of the house and down to the embankment which though not a public right of way we had been given permission to walk.

The sun was out, and the large expanse of Rockcliffe Marshes seemed more like what I imagine the ranches of America to be with cattle literally as far as you could see, I have not seen anything like it in England. There must have been 1000’s of cattle. Fortunately, we were fenced off from most of them and none of them took too much interest in us.

After crossing the railway, we arrived at Metal Bridge which would take us across the River Esk, it felt very strange on this bridge as it was tagged on the side of the M6 road bridge so it sort of felt like you were walking on a motorway though there was actually a barrier between you. On the other side based on advice from Rory we dropped down onto the embankment and were soon at the banks of the small River Sark where the border between England and Scotland runs down the middle. It was low tide, so we took our shoes off and waded across into Scotland, this must be the most low key but definitely most coastal route into Scotland.

From here we followed the foreshore for a while before heading up quiet lanes and farm tracks all the way to Browhouses. There was no path here but I had planned to follow the foreshore in front of the military base for the 3 miles or so. This part was actually quite difficult with some pebble sections, some mudflat sections and mostly scrambling along by the exterior fence which was deep in stinging nettles (I felt sorry for Samira as her ankles were slightly exposed) and tonnes of rubbish that must have been bought in by the tide. We also bumped into a small deer (maybe muntjac) here which seemed strange wedged between the 3m high fence and the sea only 30m or so away.

Finally, we got to Dornockbrow from where the path/route improved, and we took a lane up to Annan where we would cross the river. We had a very late lunch here about 4pm and we were both starving. Annan was a strange mix at times seeming completely run down and in fact very dilapidated in places, but on the actual high street it was bustling with people and lots of shops.

Replenished we followed a path down the other side of the river and after rejoining the coast at Bankirk Point we followed a mixture of paths and pebbly foreshore walking all the way to Powfoot and on a further mile or so to Queensberry Bay Holiday Park.  I had decided to pitch here rather than wild camp as Samira’s sister was going to be picking her up and it would be easier to find us here than in some random field in the middle of nowhere. The site was not overly great for tents with the tent area covered in lots of grass cuttings, and tucked behind the bins but did work perfectly for Samira’s sister in the car

It had been a lovely days walking in the sun and great to see Samira again. A new phase of the walk now begins for the next 18 weeks or so in Scotland. The right to roam, as well as wild camping being allowed in most unenclosed areas will make some things easier here but there will also be hardships with remote areas, lack of paths and minimal shops in some areas. I am super excited about particularly the West Coast but also quite anxious as this will be very different to the walk so far.

charles compton