Scot to be done
Moffat ride offers scenic thrills
Strike out from Selkirk, heading west on the A708. There are a couple of filling stations on the A7 as you approach town and with stops en route few and far between it’s a good idea to top up first. As with any ride in Scotland you’ll head off with no small feeling of excitement for the road ahead – there are very few routes that will disappoint but some are truly spectacular.
Despite its unassuming start, the curves soon start to flow, chasing Yarrow Water upstream. This rushing river heightens the sensation of speed and as the hills begin to rise so does the road, flashing over stone bridges to flick left then right. Every now and again the tarmac sweeps away to track the terrain, its long smooth curves cutting a graceful arc before tucking back alongside the water. The narrow floor of the shallow glen soon begins to widen and as the way ahead levels out St Mary’s Loch comes into view. The road runs borderless against the shoreline, beckoned onwards by the purple peppered peaks of the encroaching hills.
At Cappercleuch take a right, signposted Tweedsmuir. It’s single track from here and most traffic will stay on the A708 making for a secluded run that’s well worth the effort – you just can’t help but smile at a sign that reads ‘unsuitable for coaches or caravans’. As the narrow path climbs you’ll notice a vast grass bank to your left; this is the Megget Reservoir Dam and it’s the largest earth dam in Scotland, built to retain a body of water that serves as far afield as Edinburgh.
The high point of the pass is flanked by babbling brooks but it’s not a place for stopping as the midges can be out in force. Push on, and with a sensational view along the Talla Reservoir the descent begins.
Follow the road right to the end, skirting the lake and drifting into evergreen forests; at the junction turn left to join the two-lane blacktop of the A701. The tall trees soon give way to open countryside. It’s somewhat of a high road in places and there’s a fantastic technical section around the Devil’s Beef Tub, a 500ft hollow just to the north of Moffat.
The A701 runs right into Moffat and there’s no place more biker friendly than the Buccleuch Arms – with food and accommodation on offer, it’s a great base for exploring.
‘You have to smile at the “Unsuitable for coaches or caravans” sign’