LOCHS TO LIKE
A blistering ride in the Borders
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.