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Blazing torches and moonlight take walkers back in time

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Annan and Eskdale
Blazing torches and moonlight take walkers back in time

IT WAS described as an atmospheric flashback to the days of Vikings on the Solway coast.

But the return of the Solstice Walk from Barnkirk Point at the mouth of the River Annan to the namesake Royal Burgh’s harbour two miles away was hailed a success on Sunday night.

Scores of walkers turned out in cold, crisp, moonlit and at times breezy conditions to celebrate the approach of midwinter and the shortest day on Tuesday.

Organisers Annan Harbour Action Group were delighted the event could go-ahead after last year’s was cancelled because of the pandemic.

They laid on a free bus to ferry walkers from the town out to Newbie Barns, slightly west of the starting point.

One enthusiastic Annan walker said: “The conditions could not be better. Dry, cold and plenty of moonlight. It’s quite a spectacle and makes you appreciate what’s on your doorstep.

“It’s a fairly recent concept here but I hope the torchlight procession evolves into a long-term tradition for the town.”

There was a warm welcome for the walkers at Annan Harbour’s Burgh Quay where the Action Group had laid on a blazing brazier, festive music and free hot food and drinks provided on their behalf by local caterers George Aitken and George Caldwell.

Annan Harbour development officer Alan Thomson said: “We were delighted that so many family groups were able to join us. Even with social distancing everyone enjoyed the bonfire, walk and ‘turkey in a bun.’

“We would like to thank everyone who attended, with special mention for our large team of volunteers.”

KEY ROLE . . . helping light the fire were Annan Harbour development officer Alan Thomson and Annan Harbour Rowing Club treasurer Amanda Roger
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