Scot to be done

Mof­fat ride of­fers scenic thrills

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Justin Hayzelden

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’

O-level ge­og­ra­phy quiz – is that a U or a V-shaped val­ley?

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