A Borders / Galloway staycation - points of interest

Posh Pete

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It's pishing down outside and blowing a hooley and having posted about a possible whiskey trail in the Borders and Galloway, I thought I'd do something useful and produce some suggestions for places to visit. I've attached a couple of GPX maps which folk can down load. One is for the eastern and central borders and I'll follow that up with one for Galloway later on. I haven't connected the waypoints in any way: folk can do that for themselves and decide where they might base themselves also. There plenty of campsites, air bnbs, hotels etc.

Here's a note of the waypoints and why folk might find them interesting to include in their routes. I'll do them broadly east to west.

1. Jim Clark Museum, Duns. A must for any petrol head or fan of GP racing. Britain's finest racing champion, in the estimation of many.

2. The Richard Hillary Memorial at the former Charterhall RAF airfield. RH was a Battle of Britain pilot with 603 Squadron (City of Edinburgh) and wrote the classic account of air fighting in WW2, "The Last Enemy". Charterhall, incidentally was one of the places where tyro driver Jim Clark learned his trade.

3. Smailholm Tower. The classic Border fortification and subject of many a calendar picture. The nearby farm was once owned by relatives of Sir Walter Scott.

4. Scott's View. As with Smailholm, many a photo has been taken here and for good reason. One of the finest views in the British isles.

5. Dryburgh Abbey. One of the Border abbeys that Henry VIII knocked about a bit! Also the burial place of Sir Walter Scott and of FM Sir Douglas Haig. The nearby hotel is a possible base for your forays

6. Abbotsford. If you want to have a Scott themed day, then a visit here is a must.

7. Melrose. A good base from which to to explore the area. There's also the excellent Trimontium museum. The major Roman fort at Newstead nearby was so named. (The hotels in the town do decent off season deals.)

8. and 9. Denholm and Wilton Park, Hawick. Denholm would also be a good base. There's a couple of small but comfortable hotels in the village. The village hall often hosts music events. These two places are also linked with TT racer Steve Hyslop. He worked in the garage there (petrol available) and the Hawick Museum in Wilton Park has a whole display dedicated to him and Jimmy Guthrie, the 1930s Norton ace. The display includes their bikes and the Swastika decorated prize Guthrie won for his success in the European GP in 1937.

There's an annual commemoration ride for Hyslop which begins in Denholm. A big event which might be worth including in a trip to these parts.

10. We're now moving on to the central and western Borders. Lets' start at Selkirk and head up the Yarrow valley to the Gordon Arms hotel. Make a right there and head for ...

11. Traquair House. The longest continuously inhabited house in Scotland. (That's not personal knowledge by the way!) There's also a brewery there, with a shop! Then head over to Cardrona. The old station there is now a cafe which is popular with bikers riding in the area. After that, you might want to head over to ...

12. Peebles. I can recommend the cafe / chocolatier CocoaBlack at the west end of the town. There's also an interesting wee museum in the Town House dedicated to local boy, novelist John Buchan. Have a look at the war memorial round the back also.

If you've based yourself somewhere in the eastern borders, then ride back along Tweed via Walkerburn and Clovenfords. A fine road, full of sweeping corners!

13. Moffat. An alternative base for this neck of the woods. The Buccleugh Arms is a well known biker (and biker owned) hotel. Camping is also available at the Green Frog campsite The town also has a full sized Spitfire replica which this waypoint marks. Chuck a couple of quid in to the collection box. It all goes to RAF charities.

From Moffat, an excellent ride is up the A701 to Tweedsmuir. Stop off to admire the view at the Devil's Beeftub, just north of the town. From Tweedsmuir, turn right and head over the hill via ...

14. the Talla and Megget road to St Mary's Loch. Coffee and bladder relief is available at the ...

15. Glen cafe - a biker haunt or the neaby Tibbieshiels Inn. Wild camping is popular on the shore of the loch.

16. Head west along the Moffat Water valley and you'll come to ...

17. The Grey Mare's Tail waterfall. If you have your walking boots, you can climb up past the falls and circumnavigate loch Skeen at its head. It's a nature reserve, so take your binoc's!

Keep on heading west and you'll end up back in Moffat!
 

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Didn't the Hizzy ride used to start from Duffus in Kirkcaldy ??

Talla and Meggat is a mega ride.


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Some great places to visit on your list Peter. Thanks for the info

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 
Here is a map which includes some points pinned in the Borders area.
The different coloured pins are from some of the various competitions I set up past 4 years.
This year's 2022 competition only has Eskdale Muir Observatory, Langholm and Gretna Football Club from the Borders.
 

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Here is a map which includes some points pinned in the Borders area.
The different coloured pins are from some of the various competitions I set up past 4 years.
This year's 2022 competition only has Eskdale Muir Observatory, Langholm and Gretna Football Club from the Borders.
What are the competitions you refer to?

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 
The Borders, a hidden gem. So many people ride past it on the way further North, then again keeps it quiet. ;)

Not forgetting the Solway coast, raiders road etc. amazing area.

TD
:thumb2
 
I've been wanting to give this a shot for a long time but never seem to have "time"

I know what you mean, Jay. Other than the ferry, you're closer than me but I don't get down to Galloway as much as I should. Speaking of which ...

Getting to Galloway from the Borders (or vice versa).

My choice would be the B709 from Ettrick to Eskdalemuir and then on to Langholm. This will take you past the Samye Ling Buddhist monastery, which is quite a site to behold in a Borders setting! Stop for coffee and cake at their cafe. From Langholm, the B725 will take you to Ecclefechan. You'll pass Burnswark Hill on your right. 1000 foot high, so you can't miss it. The Romans beseiged it at some point and archaeologists have found the same kind of stuff you'd find at Alesia or Masada : huge ramps, platforms for catapults and masses of lead slingshots.
 
I have visited this area three times in the last 2 years.

The first was using the excellent Howard Arms in Brampton with 2 friends after first lockdown. 3 nights with daytrips through Eskdale and Kielder Forest. I think we broke the chap on a Triumph Rockster as he went out and changed it for a KTM within a few weeks.

The 2nd trip was a larger group based in Annan, again for 3 nights. Some of us from the south assembled in Longridge at the lovely Ferrari's Country House hotel. That allowed a convoluted route via Quernmore, Hawes, Teesdale and Alston. We stayed in the Corner House, Annan which was okay. A great location for tours but Annan is not my first choice for a place to stay. The pubs are not great and the restaurants average. It's something when the publican says to get a kebab from next door and we will give you a plate. We had fantastic weather and the ice cream parlour in the Market Place at Selkirk was a welcome stop after riding across from Moffat. Back through Eskdale. The following day we did some roads in the Galloway Forest. The road from Bargrennan to Straiton is a cracker, if rather bumpy. More ice cream and drinks at the Straiton Stores that seemed very happy to see us.

The most recent trip last September was a solo trip as an add on to a meet up with friends in Lancashire. This time I stayed in Moffat to explore the roads a bit further north. Like the earlier group trip, I could not get into the Buccleuch Arms so stayed in the pleasant Rockhill Guest House https://goo.gl/maps/reJoNEdLP4qLa9oa6
This was a great trip apart from the torrential rain on parts of 3 days. A ride around the Forest of Bowland, Yorkshire Dales, Weardale and N.Pennines on the way up, staying near Preston and in Reeth. 2 nights in Moffat with a ride around Talla & Megget reservoirs then a loop over to Wanlockhead via Traquair & Inverleithen. Loop back to the A74 via the A702. This was where it got rather wet. It's been a while since I have ridden in such torrential rain so I blasted down the A74M back to the B&B. Some great views but quite a long day compared to when on the group rides.

I went home via a loop into the Lake District and Forest of Bowland. Staying in Long Preston in a nice pub, Boar's Head, which had a nice log fire, Timmy Taylor Landlord and good food. Again, torrential rain for the last part. I rode to Quernmore in lovely sunshine and saw the storm in Morecombe Bay. I rode back through the Trough of Bowland and the storm caught up, sitting over me until I got to Clitheroe. Then the sun came out. This last trip was done during the petrol shortage so the roads were very quiet. I had no problem finding petrol. A little anxiety in Clitheroe as there was no petrol in the town but the Gulf a few miles out of town in Chatburn was well stocked.

I will certainly be back, probably using the Howard Arms in Brampton again as I have friends in the town. Plenty more roads to ride in the area.

Blasted down the motorway from Nelson in torrential rain again, until past Stafford when the sun came out again and I was dry by home.
 
Bonnie Gallowa'

Dumfries is a possible base for touring the eastern part of Dumfries and Galloway. Two places that are worth a visit and waymarked on the map ...

1. The aircraft museum on the outskirts of town. There's a very good collection of Cold War aircraft: a Lightning, Phantom and even an RNAS Gannet AEW. Never a beauty competition winner, the Gannet but interesting for the engine arrangement it used. Lots of other interesting stuff too.

2. Moat Brae House. A museum dedicated to JM Barrie and Peter Pan. He lived there as a boy and the museum makes much of the influences on his play writing and the Peter Pan connection especially. There's a decent cafe / bistro there too.

After Dumfries, there's the option to do a circular tour of the area, taking in Kirkcudbright and the Solway coast or directly to KC via Dalbeattie.

3. If you head for the coast, there's Caerlaverock Castle. A very fine example of mediaeval castle building and the kind of thing you'd expect to see in the Loire valley rather than in Scotland.

4. Sweetheart Abbey. A guaranteed brownie points earner if you take the missus and have a special event in the offing! Devorguilla (from a native Celtic noble family) was married off to Norman John Balliol in an arranged/ political marriage but love blossomed. When he died, she founded the abbey in his memory with the added bonus of having the monks pray for his soul, and her's, so they could be together in the hereafter! Whip a bunch of flowers out of the pannier and you’ve got a free pass for decades!

5. The birthplace of John Paul Jones. He was born there and ended up in America, founding the US Navy. It’s now a small museum.

6. Dundrennan Abbey. The last place in Scotland to be visited by Mary Queen of Scots en route to England and her eventual appointment with the executioner’s block.

7. Kirkcudbright. Another option for a touring base. The town has a very good modern museum focusing on the town’s artistic history. There’s also a quirky local museum nearby with very traditional exhibits in glass cases, on walls etc. Fishing boats are still based at the harbour and the cafe / shop there has terrific seafood at reasonable prices. The Selkirk Arms in the middle of the town has excellent local craft ales and very decent grub.

Wigtown and Whithorn

8.Wigtown is another possible base for exploring the central part of Galloway. It’s a book town and you can easily spend several hours browsing the shelves of the sh bookshops in the town. There’a an annual literary fest in the autumn which features various notable authors and some not so notable but up and coming.

9. Kirkinner - Drumroamin campsite. Oft favoured by a certain Yorkshireman of this parish so it must be good! They let static caravans too if canvas is not your thing.

10. Garlieston. Interesting wee town. Used as a base during WW2 for the development of the Mulberry floating harbours that were essential to the success of D day and the Normandy campaign.

11.Isle of Whithorn. Next stop Isle of Man, Liverpool, Belfast! The town was once a port for steamers plying the Irish sea and the Steam Packet Inn’s name reflects this. The hotel has its own brewery. I recommend the stout - really good. Space for campers and tent at the edge of the harbour - just buy a meal at the hotel!

The Galloway Forest Park

12. The Raider’s Road. Unsurfaced but most bikes will manage it. I’ve marked the western and eastern access points.

13. Newton Stewart and

14. Balloch O Dee campsite. Two possible bases for touring the park and points west. The town has plenty of accomodation and pubs. The campsite is quiet and quirky.

15. Glentrool and forest routes. The site of one of Robert the Bruce’s first victories against Edward I. There’s a memorial stone there and various walks.


Approaching Galloway from the North East and North West

An alternative route from the north east is to take the A702 to Abington and then via Leadhills, Wanlockhead and the Mennock Pass to Penpont and Moniaive. Thence to Newton Stewart. Take time to have a look around the mining museum in Wanlockhead. Wild camping and gold panning is available in the river valley nearby!

From the northwest (or vice versa if you’re heading north after Galloway) then there’s no finer road for a motorcycle than the A714 to Girvan.
 

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Just reading this post makes me want to head up there, we had a stay booked at Garleston before the dreaded Covid kicked in and was/am still looking forward to getting there. Years ago (late 70's)went to Glen Trool campsite with my first R90s and 1st 'proper' girlfriend, turns out she was quite 'improper:green gri' so didn't get to see much scenery (of Scotland:D) Cheers,:beerjug:John B4
 
What are the competitions you refer to?

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk

I run an annual competition for the Tayside / Angus / Dundee Bikers.
Typically they have a time window to get photographic proof of visiting the list of nominated places.
This year is from March-Oct and I always put up a cash prize for the first to complete, although usually ends up as me making a donation to the Scottish Air Ambulance in winner's name.
I can send a copy if interested?
 
I run an annual competition for the Tayside / Angus / Dundee Bikers.
Typically they have a time window to get photographic proof of visiting the list of nominated places.
This year is from March-Oct and I always put up a cash prize for the first to complete, although usually ends up as me making a donation to the Scottish Air Ambulance in winner's name.
I can send a copy if interested?
I'm not up in Scotland but I will take up your kind offer as I do visit regularly. My son lives in Crieff.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 
Bonnie Gallowa'

Dumfries is a possible base for touring the eastern part of Dumfries and Galloway. Two places that are worth a visit and waymarked on the map ...

1. The aircraft museum on the outskirts of town. There's a very good collection of Cold War aircraft: a Lightning, Phantom and even an RNAS Gannet AEW. Never a beauty competition winner, the Gannet but interesting for the engine arrangement it used. Lots of other interesting stuff too.

2. Moat Brae House. A museum dedicated to JM Barrie and Peter Pan. He lived there as a boy and the museum makes much of the influences on his play writing and the Peter Pan connection especially. There's a decent cafe / bistro there too.

After Dumfries, there's the option to do a circular tour of the area, taking in Kirkcudbright and the Solway coast or directly to KC via Dalbeattie.

3. If you head for the coast, there's Caerlaverock Castle. A very fine example of mediaeval castle building and the kind of thing you'd expect to see in the Loire valley rather than in Scotland.

4. Sweetheart Abbey. A guaranteed brownie points earner if you take the missus and have a special event in the offing! Devorguilla (from a native Celtic noble family) was married off to Norman John Balliol in an arranged/ political marriage but love blossomed. When he died, she founded the abbey in his memory with the added bonus of having the monks pray for his soul, and her's, so they could be together in the hereafter! Whip a bunch of flowers out of the pannier and you’ve got a free pass for decades!

5. The birthplace of John Paul Jones. He was born there and ended up in America, founding the US Navy. It’s now a small museum.

6. Dundrennan Abbey. The last place in Scotland to be visited by Mary Queen of Scots en route to England and her eventual appointment with the executioner’s block.

7. Kirkcudbright. Another option for a touring base. The town has a very good modern museum focusing on the town’s artistic history. There’s also a quirky local museum nearby with very traditional exhibits in glass cases, on walls etc. Fishing boats are still based at the harbour and the cafe / shop there has terrific seafood at reasonable prices. The Selkirk Arms in the middle of the town has excellent local craft ales and very decent grub.

Wigtown and Whithorn

8.Wigtown is another possible base for exploring the central part of Galloway. It’s a book town and you can easily spend several hours browsing the shelves of the sh bookshops in the town. There’a an annual literary fest in the autumn which features various notable authors and some not so notable but up and coming.

9. Kirkinner - Drumroamin campsite. Oft favoured by a certain Yorkshireman of this parish so it must be good! They let static caravans too if canvas is not your thing.

10. Garlieston. Interesting wee town. Used as a base during WW2 for the development of the Mulberry floating harbours that were essential to the success of D day and the Normandy campaign.

11.Isle of Whithorn. Next stop Isle of Man, Liverpool, Belfast! The town was once a port for steamers plying the Irish sea and the Steam Packet Inn’s name reflects this. The hotel has its own brewery. I recommend the stout - really good. Space for campers and tent at the edge of the harbour - just buy a meal at the hotel!

The Galloway Forest Park

12. The Raider’s Road. Unsurfaced but most bikes will manage it. I’ve marked the western and eastern access points.

13. Newton Stewart and

14. Balloch O Dee campsite. Two possible bases for touring the park and points west. The town has plenty of accomodation and pubs. The campsite is quiet and quirky.

15. Glentrool and forest routes. The site of one of Robert the Bruce’s first victories against Edward I. There’s a memorial stone there and various walks.


Approaching Galloway from the North East and North West

An alternative route from the north east is to take the A702 to Abington and then via Leadhills, Wanlockhead and the Mennock Pass to Penpont and Moniaive. Thence to Newton Stewart. Take time to have a look around the mining museum in Wanlockhead. Wild camping and gold panning is available in the river valley nearby!

From the northwest (or vice versa if you’re heading north after Galloway) then there’s no finer road for a motorcycle than the A714 to Girvan.

Ahem..the A713 from Castle Douglas to Ayr is even better..also the foot of Loch doon theres the forest drive to the newton stewart/straiton road with plenty off shoots to venture up on your bike which go for miles into the forest....you can stop off @ the Roundhouse cafe @ loch doon for a bite to eat and watch the ospreys nesting etc on the tv as theyve a camera set up in the cafe..also the loch doon castle which was relocated onto the shore when they flooded the loch more .. also theres the darksky observatory there too,also the loch was used to train pilots and air gunnery an had jetties for seaplanes plus you can wild camp there along the shores
 
I run an annual competition for the Tayside / Angus / Dundee Bikers.
Typically they have a time window to get photographic proof of visiting the list of nominated places.
This year is from March-Oct and I always put up a cash prize for the first to complete, although usually ends up as me making a donation to the Scottish Air Ambulance in winner's name.
I can send a copy if interested?

I recently discovered the Beemer club (Scottish arm) 2022 challenge to visit and photograph 26 lochs from A to Z.

I’ve stuck 26 pins into Basecamp and will challenge myself to enjoy a few interesting rides this year.
 


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