This week I had a couple of days spare and decided it was an ideal opportunity to have a ride up to Moffat in Scotland. The weather looked decent enough and the prospect of doing a couple of my favorite UK roads on the BMW was just too much to resist.
I headed off from my home in Manchester towards Clitheroe and the Forrest of Bowland then on towards Kikby Stephen and then eventually to Selkirk before taking the A708 – the road that runs from Selkirk to Moffat.
The riding on the way to Selkirk was good – fine roads and fine weather, and with no particular plan other than to enjoy myself there was more than one occasion when I turned on to roads that I hadn’t traveled on before but that were in the general direction of where I was headed. Clicking any of the pictures should open a scrolable gallery.
I stopped plenty of times to admire the numerous fine views that were being presented to me – some of which are in the pictures below. Clicking any of the pictures should open a scrolable gallery.
The A708 is a road that I have ridden on many times over the years and it’s not a road that I ever get fed up of, in fact I probably enjoy it more each time I ride it.
I’ve done the road on a variety of bikes – a couple of GSX-R’s, a Fireblade and a Z1000 SX – but I think maybe the ride on the RnineT was best of all – the soundtrack from the twin Akrapovics as I blipped the throttle to change down was just irresistible and the bike seemed more than at home on this road, and made for a good warm up for my Spain/Portugal trip in July.
The A708 itself, runs from Selkirk to Moffat and cuts a line that sort of runs diagonally across the land.
Distance wise it’s probably about 30 miles or so long, and to be honest its one of those roads that if you haven’t done it then you really should add it to your ‘to-do’ list
The road offers almost a bit of everything really – generally and for the most part it’s well surfaced – plenty of easy but joyful curves and more than one or two stretches that have you flick/flacking the bike from left to right and back again.
It’s not all to be taken at too quick a pace – there’s a few stretches that require caution – at times the road dips away as it sweeps down into one bend then immediately takes you up into another.
The ride along the A708 really is a wonderful sensory feast.
The rise and fall of the engine note mixed with the bark of the cans on the downshifts are a splendid aural accompaniment to what’s going on with your eyes. As you focus on the road ahead, its difficult not to be drawn to look left, right and left again at the magnificent views on offer.
You’ve got to be careful at times – in one or two places the road narrows and stone walls serve as a stark reminder to ease off and take care.
I don’t think I have been on that road and ever really seen much traffic, other than on one occasion a few years back when there was some sort of gathering of VW owners, but even then it was only in one very localized area as they pulled off the road to assemble on some open grassland.
One thing that you do need to do is to keep a lookout for the numerous sheep that live up there. On some occasions I’ve been on that road and not seen too many, on others like this trip there seemed to be lots of them, almost like a living mobile chicane – but in all fairness none really slowed my progress this time.
I stopped just opposite the Glen Cafe and rode my bike across the loose ground so as to take a few pictures with the Loch in the background … it’s a place that I think I’ve stopped at for pictures every time I have been up there, and you can find some of them in the gallery below. Clicking any of the pictures should open a scrolable gallery.
After my obligatory picture stop I carried onto Moffat and to my overnight accommodation, that I had booked the previous night.
I’ve stayed a few times in Moffat and on each occasion stayed at a different place – but I think I’ve now found somewhere that I will return to in the future.
The place I booked was a Bed & Breakfast called Seamore House. The property is located on the main road, and is literally just about a two minute walk from the pretty centre of Moffat.
The accommodation was just ideal, with a welcoming owner, a decent room and very decent safe parking area, away from the main road at the back of the property.
If you’re traveling up that way and looking for somewhere to stay – I’m happy to recommend this place, it ticks the boxes for a biker.
There’s a decent number of places to eat and drink in Moffat and all within a few minutes walk of Seamore House
With my bike safely parked up, and feeling refreshed from a shower and a change of clothes I went off for a pint at one of the local pubs, a bite to eat at a local cafe type place before I returned to my accommodation for a very sound nights sleep.
I’ll write more in Part Two in the next day or so and post up some more pictures of some fabulous scenery – some of which Sue (the B&B owner) had suggested to me.