10 Things You Probably Never Knew About Annan

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Image Credit: Summonedbyfells

The Royal Burgh of Annan (population c. 10,000) is the third largest town in Dumfries and Galloway and situated close to the Solway Coast on the southern Scottish borders, not too far from Gretna.

Haven’t heard a great deal about this little town?

Well, we’ve put together the 10 most random, fun and slightly educational facts we could find, all for your reading pleasure.

Enjoy and feel free to add any more in the comments at the bottom of the article

1. Jack of all trades

During the time of the First World War, it seems Annan couldn’t quite make up its mind what it was best at producing, so tried its hand at all trades!

Annan was connected to the Glasgow and Southwestern, the Caledonian, and the Solway Junction railways and so capitalised on the exportation opportunities. The list is quite extensive including; cured hams, cattle, sheep, grain, cotton goods, ropes, ships and salmon.

In addition to becoming renowned for distilling, tanning, sandstone quarrying, nursery gardening and bacon curing of all things! Is there anything they couldn’t do?!


2. Fancy a walk?

If you happened to be visiting Annan and are an avid walker it just so happens you are in luck. Through Annan runs the Annandale Way. A 53 mile long walk starting at the source of the River Annan.

So if you’re one for a challenge, this isn’t for the faint hearted!

Image Credit: Annandale Way Logo (Chris Heaton) / CC BY-SA 2.0

3. The great Annan Academy

Founded in 1802 the original Annan Academy saw the great Thomas Carlyle pass through its doors. Carlyle was a pioneering Eighteenth Century philosopher, moving forward from the previous enlightenment thinking to more modern ideas.

4. One face many voices

Another well known (more modern) face to come from Annan is actress Ashley Jensen.

Most notably known for her role in Ugly Betty and other television programmes such as Extras, she has also received awards for her roles in recent animated films. Couldn’t put a face to the voice of Nanette in Gnomeo and Juliet? It was Ashley!

She was also the voice of Phlegma the Fierce from How to Train your Dragon, just in case you were wondering.

5. Here comes the Cavalry!

The Riding of the Marches is an annual event in Annan that sees over 100 horsemen and women mount their trusty steeds to Ride the Marches to make sure all local landmarks are all intact.

Doesn’t that sound like a great excuse for a huge party?

You guessed it, it just so happens that is exactly what they do! If you are visiting the area early July there is a parade of decorated and massed pipe bands on the high street as well as other entertainment!

Definitely, a must see.

Image Credit: Kelly Barty

6. Paranormal Persuasion

The A75 is a major road that runs through Dumfriesshire.

Part of the road travels through Annan. Those of you partial to some paranormal persuasion will be very interested in stopping by this little town!

Not only is this section of the road haunted, but it is also said to be arguably the most haunted road in Scotland, possibly even Britain.

There are even ghost coach tours to take you to the well-known hotspots and satiate your appetite for the paranormal with stories of past sightings!

Watch out for the phantom furniture vans when you’re passing through.

7. The tables are turning

Not only was Annan a centre of exportation for Scotland but the town is also recognised for other railway related accolades. Now displayed in the York Railway Museum the railway turntable, designed and developed in Anna, was the device used for turning locomotives around to face a different direction. Turns out they were pretty clever back in the old days.

Now displayed in the National Railway Museum the railway turntable, designed and developed in Annan, was the device used for turning locomotives around to face a different direction.

Turns out they were pretty clever back in the old days.

National Railway Museum, York (Dave Hitchborne) / CC BY-SA 2.0

8. Not 1, not 2, but 5!

Yep, that’s right. The random fact of the day goes to Annan, home to 5 different churches all of different denominations.

This is despite only having a population of approximately 10,000.

You’ve got the pick of the lot here!

Image Credit: United Reformed Church, Annan (Richard Dorrell) / CC BY-SA 2.0

9. Robert the Bruce

Annan Castle is the original home to the Lords of Annandale the ‘de Brus’ family later to known as the Bruces.

So not only does Annan have its own castle, it happens to have housed one of the most famous King of Scots! How many other towns can say that?

Unfortunately, little remains of this Motte and Bailey castle 

A statue of King Robert the Bruce was commissioned in 2010 and shows the King with the Declaration of Arbroath in one hand and his sword in the other held in a gesture of peace.

10. Beer anyone?

The Blue Bell Inn happens to hold an annual Beer Festival in Annan!

Who’d have thought it? Well, the last bank holiday weekend in August is when you need to be making your way down to the beer garden of the Blue Bell!

Lets hope the we don’t have typical bank holiday weather so those beers can be enjoyed in the sun!

So there you have it. A little all rounder tour of Annan.

Ten weird and wonderful facts to fill your day of Annan greatness.

We know there must be endless other facts about Annan and please feel free to add any more in the comments below.

Haste Ye Back!