A blis­ter­ing ride in the Bor­ders

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News - by Justin Hayzelden

Mof­fat makes an ideal base for ex­plor­ing an of­ten over­looked re­gion of Scot­land, that of Dum­fries & Gal­loway and The Bor­ders. The cli­mate can of­ten be kinder than the wild north­west and there are some truly awe­some roads to be found; in fact no tour of Scot­land could be con­sid­ered com­plete without ex­pe­ri­enc­ing these routes less trav­elled.

Fuel stops can be few and far be­tween, so this ride starts from the fill­ing sta­tion on the A701 – top up here and you’ll be good to go. Leave Mof­fat and head north, rid­ing high along a shal­low val­ley be­tween the ev­er­green forests and River An­nan. The road reaches its zenith with a twist around the rim of the Devil’s Beef Tub, a se­cluded hol­low some 500ft deep where raiders from the John­stone clan once stashed their stolen cat­tle. From there the twin-lane tail of tar­mac de­scends to race against the River Tweed, vy­ing for po­si­tion with an ef­fort­less flow as river and road roll ma­jes­ti­cally across the val­ley floor.

At Skir­ling the A701 merges with the A72, but there’s no need for ac­tion un­til Blyth Bridge where you’ll want to turn right and fol­low the A72 to­wards Peebles. From this junc­tion the route be­comes more play­ful and as the hills be­gin to rise the curves come thick and fast. There’s fuel at the far end of Peebles if re­quired and, with no fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties ahead, it may well be worth a stop.

A sign to Cor­drona marks the B7062, along with a right turn fil­ter lane; take this to cross the Tweed and con­tinue to the junc­tion with the B709 where it’s a fur­ther right to­wards St Mary’s Loch. This next sec­tion in­stils a sense of ad­ven­ture that the more re­mote parts of Scot­land are fa­mous for – it’s a nar­row strip of as­phalt that feels miles away from any­where, where you can just roll off the gas and en­joy the soli­tude.

The fi­nal point of nav­i­ga­tion is a right turn at the Gor­don Arms Inn, leav­ing you free to en­joy the A708, which, sim­ply put, is one of the best mo­tor­cy­cling roads in the UK. Sur­rounded by pur­ple pep­pered hills, this glo­ri­ous rib­bon of tar­mac be­gins with a spec­tac­u­lar run along St Mary’s Loch, an al­legedly bot­tom­less body of water that’s the cold­est in Scot­land – if lo­cal leg­ends are to be be­lieved. Loch of the Lowes fol­lows and as the road reaches its sum­mit you should catch a glimpse of the Grey Mare’s Tail, a cas­cad­ing water­fall that flows down from Loch Skeen. Hav­ing closed right in, the tow­er­ing es­carp­ments that frame this nar­row pass grad­u­ally re­cede and the drift down from heaven rolls you right back to Mof­fat.

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