Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2012 EDSBK Road Trip. Part 1 (Moffat)

  We set out on Sunday 8th July headed for Moffat in Scotland, about 50 miles from the border with England. Col arrived first followed by Rich who was already wearing his water proofs and Jon arrived a few minutes later. The sun was trying to make an appearance as we set off and the odd patch of blue sky appeared on the horizon. We stopped for a cuppa and fuel and Rich said he was too hot, so took off his waterproof suit and we headed off. As we approached the climb up Shap in the lakes district the heavens opened and gave us a few minutes of rain, we decided to wear the water proofs until we arrived in Moffat.

The Buccleuch Arms Hotel
The garages
  Moffat is just off the A74 (M) at junction 15.
The Buccleuch Arms Hotel was our destination in Moffat. We were met by the owner David, who showed each of us to our own garage for the bikes, then to our rooms in the hotel. (EDSBK Recommended)
 The following morning we decided over breakfast to follow a route that was recommended by a website called
  Motorcycle Scotland, through Dumfries to Galloway Forest following along the coast roads. After a while we needed a coffee so pulled in at Carsluith Castle over looking the bay towards Wigtown where we stopped and had a look around. We could see the clouds were once again getting dark and heavy so water proofed up in preparation for the next part of the ride.

Along the A712

Carsluith Castle
 We mostly avoided the rain only seeing a few seconds worth just before we reached a town called Newton Stewart, we headed through Galloway Forest along the twisty A712 until we came across Clatteringshaws Loch where we stopped for a few minutes to admire the views. Then we headed towards the village of  New Galloway where we found the A702 and followed it as it again twisted and dipped and climbed its way through the landscape. The route made it into our list of ultimate roads.
 We arrived at Thornhill not seeing any rain from the again threatening skies. Drumlanrig Castle was only a few miles away so we went off route to go and have a look.
Drumlanrig Castle
Clatteringshaws Loch

Once getting back on route (A702) we followed the road up through the valley which was Cols favourite section of road and then the heavens opened and it absolutely threw it down for the last 20 minutes of the ride, we headed back to the Hotel and parked the bikes back under cover and left the water proofs to dry out. Luckily the radiators were on in our rooms so all the wet clothing got dried overnight.

 The next Morning we awoke to more rain, that got heavier as we ate breakfast. We were heading to Kendal after dinner for the 2nd part of our trip, to the Lake District.
  David from the Buccleuch Arms had talked to us about a short route he used that went around an area known locally as The 3 Locks and The Devils Beef Tub, we thought it sounded an interesting route and long enough to give us something to do before heading off to Kendal. We put our now dry clothes on, packed our bags to collect later and set off along the A708 towards St. Mary's Loch and as it rained all the way we stopped at Glen Cafe for a drink.
Glen cafe looking towards Loch of the Lowes
 The rain carried on as we set off along the A708 and took the first road on the left heading towards Meggets Reservoir and Talla Reservoir linking the A708 to the A701. The road was steep, windy,  slippery from the covering of a mixture of sheep dung and slime, had loose gravel, puddles and was flooded in places, not really a sports bike type of road at all, but the scenery was beautiful.
 At the end of the road we turned left onto the A701 and rode through the forest, a winding fast section of tarmac, it felt good to be back on an A class road again, even if it was soaking wet.
The water proofs brigade!

 We had been told that the Devils Beef Tub is so called as it was a place that Scottish cattle rustlers used to bring the cattle from England too. The English used to chase after the cattle to get them back and the Scotts then attacked, killing the English and keeping the cattle. We stopped in a layby and looked down the valley at the Beef Tub and could see how the natural shape of the land played a part working in the favour of the Scotts.
The Devils Beef Tub
 We went back to the Hotel and collected our luggage then set off to Kendal.

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