Secretary, Roderick welcomed back the two members of the club who were recently married to each other. Sweetheart Abbey was an appropriate venue for their first walk as a married couple.
The ancient walls of the abbey witnessed 48 members of the annan walking group set off along the road to the school playing fields. They skirted the abbey precinct, a perimeter wall, up to 3 metres high, built by the cistercian monks when they cleared the site in about 1273. Lady Devorgilla had the abbey built in memory of her husband, John Balliol. When he died she carried his heart in an ivory casket and it was buried with her near the high altar. The walk crossed the abbey pow and followed it towards the solway. It was easy to see what a good sheltered harbour it had been for transporting red sandstone from Castledyke in Dumfries to the new abbey.
The walk through the wood was a bit muddy but the view at Aird's Point made it all worthwhile. It can be smelly at this point at high tide when the ICI and Dumfries effluent is discharged. As the tide was low, and there was minimal odour, picnics were eaten.
The road from Aird's Point to Kirkconnel House was bounded by a rich tangle of brambles and hazel nuts. Buzzards were noted and a few walkers saw roe deer. From Kirkconnel the homeward stretch gave magnificent views of Criffel, the waterloo monument and Sweetheart Abbey. The reconstructed monk's tower was admired and was of special interest as it had been renovated by an annan man. Return to the car park was through the modern cemetery where interest was expressed in the Jardine Gravestone that portrayed a family tree.