BMW F900 XR – short motorcycle trip to Scotland and the A708
Anyone that has read my blog over the years will know I love motorcycling in Scotland (here’s a link to my last trip there in 2021). You would also know the A708 between Selkirk and Moffat is one of my favourite UK roads.
The A708 is a road I have ridden on more times than I can recall and I’m pretty sure I have ridden it on almost every motorbike I have had since 2003.
As well as riding the road I have driven along the A708 many times when my wife and I have holidayed in Scotland over the years.
We probably all have out own opinions of what makes a good driving/riding road and this one absolutely ticks the boxes for me. But more of the A708 later (in Part 2) along with some thoughts on the F900 XR over an extended ride.
As you will know I had planned to be away for a couple of weeks travelling in Ireland and Scotland. However the unusual weather patterns and remarkable levels of rain led to me postponing that trip.
I was definitely right to postpone it, as the weather for the couple of weeks I would have been away was dreadful and really would have led to the trip being a full on washout.
I’d enjoyed a decent trip earlier in the year as well as a couple of excellent trips last year. Each of those trips had been done on the BMW F800R and if you missed last years trips you can find words and pictures from the first trip here and then the longer circuit of Ireland trip here. Despite it being the right decision to cancel the trip, I can’t pretend that it wasnt a huge dissapointment as well, but it is what it is.
Probably won’t make that trip this year
Realistically with other commitments and travel plans it’s looking extremely unlikely that I’ll make that trip this year. I’ve kept the details of my bookings and plans and it’s quite likely to be the first trip I’ll consider getting in the diary and the forward plan for 2024.
Anyway, aside from that I was keeping an eye on the weather and had decided that I would aim for a short break as soon as I was able – and that happened last week.
North of the border
It didn’t take long to pack a few things, get the bike ready and head off for some decent riding in Scotland.
As I was only getting away on short break it made sense to do the first leg of the trip on the motorway. So after leaving home I headed north by the most direct route and left the motorway for Shap, about 30 miles shy of Carlisle and located in the dales of Westmorland and Furness in Cumbria.
Motorways and motorbikes always seem a pretty pointless combination other than when necessity calls and getting to Shap quickly was one of those occasions.
After an easy but dull journey of about 90 miles I was off the motorway and onto decent ‘A’ roads that for the most part were fairly devoid of traffic.
Heading for Girvan
I was heading for Girvan, a harbour town in Carrick on the east coast in South Ayrshire.
I made my way via Carlisle, Gretna and Castle Douglass before heading for the wonderful Galloway Forrest another of my ‘go to’ places in the UK. If it’s the ort of thing that floats your boat check out this post from the red kite feeding station at Ballymack Hill Farm in the Galloway Forrest. That post was from when my wife and I went there to take pictures of the wonderful red kites.
Although temperatures were pretty much ideal, I had a reasonable amount of rain as I made my way through the forrest. But with little traffic I was still able to sensibly ‘enjoy’ myself on the well surfaced roads as I headed for Newton Stewart, Glentrool and then altering my route to head for the coast at Stranraer and onto my overnight stop at Girvan.
I’ve biked and driven this way many times and always enjoyed it, in fact I had stayed in Girvan a few years ago at The Southfield Hotel.
As I knew the accomodation was decent and with secure parking for my bike I booked a stay there for this trip.
A decent stop over
Girvan is pretty well located for breaking a journey from Manchester when travelling further north.
I would have no hesitation at all in recommending The Southfield Hotel for a stop over. The accomodation was comfortable, with good service, great value meals and decent parking for my bike. It’s also very easy to find when entering the town and I’d be happy to stop there again if travelling that way.
There’s pictures from the first part of my short trip in the picture set below. Clicking on any image should open a picture gallery that can be clicked or scrolled through. There are more words and pictures from this trip in Part 2.
Picture gallery one