South West Scotland
Route at a Glance
This little route of 121 miles is simply wonderful. A very easy and comfortable days ride with time to stop and drink it all in. Starting out from Moffat you will find yourself immediately in the bends with a great little diversion onto the Greenhill Stairs road. Make sure your GPS device is turned off motorways so you can enjoy the parallel road – B7076 a two lane fast but quiet road. Just a few more miles on and you turn onto the Dalveen Pass. Riding Heaven! Not particularly challenging or extreme but some brilliant bends, twisties, highs and lows. Throw in some amazing scenery and you have got The Dalveen Pass in one.
The next stretch from Thornhill to St John’s town of Dalry on the A702 is a bit more challenging. Very narrow with some twisties that can rush up fairly fast. Stay alert. You will really feel out in the remote Country. Once through Dalry you have a lovely lazy stretch along loch Ken. The road is great so you can enjoy the scenery and the valley.
After Castle Douglas you will take the southerly route along the A710 as a detour to get off the busier A75 and a chance to go through some lowland farming area. You will also go through New Abbey (The home of Sweetheart Abbey a church still standing remarkably complete and over 700 years old). Once through Dumfries you have the very quick blast through to Moffat along some great bends and curves.
PRO TIP – If you loved the Dalveen pass you can always take a left in Dumfries( follow signposts to Thornhill), go through Thornhill ( about 2 miles) and catch the Dalveen pass (A702) Back to Moffat on a reverse of the start of the day.
Route Notes & Highlights
(Icons on the map)
- Moffat – The biking heart of the region. A quaint picturesque market village with a variety of choice in shops and eateries. The home of the renowned Moffat toffee shop. Also the burial place of Tar Macadam the creator of the tarmac as we know it.
- Dalveen Pass – This has to be one of the more exhilarating roads for wide open twists and bends. The road was resurfaced in 2012 and the half toward the M74 has magical bends that will have you whooping with glee, leading into a jaw dropping valley mid-way along. A South Scotland must!
- Drumlanrig Castle – The Castle has 120 rooms, 17 turrets and four towers but what will really impress you is the grand red tar driveway over 300 meters long and lined by manicured green grass and trees. Lovely gardens and well worth a visit.
- Moniaive – A quaint little village, well known for having more musical events and festivals (per head of population) than anywhere else in the country. It is quite common for “jam sessions” to randomly occur within the number of hotels and pubs.
- Loch Ken – A very pretty 9 mile freshwater Loch with a variety of water sport activities taking place on its waters. A few picturesque layby’s along its shores make it worthy of a stop.
- Sweetheart Abbey – A pretty Cistercian Monastery (ruin) dating from 1275, founded by Lady Dervogilla in memory of her husband. When she too passed, she was laid rest next to her husbands embalmed heart, thus the monks naming the abbey after her.
- Sandyhills Beach – Dumfries and Galloway’s most popular beach. It might not rival that of the tropics but the locals certainly make the most of it.
- Southerness Lighthouse – Dating from 1748, it is at present the second oldest lighthouse in Scotland. It was decommissioned in 1936 but still stands tall and proud. Southerness itself feels like a holiday park that time forgot but the beach provides a lovely gentle walk.
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Filling Stations on Route
There should be no need to refuel on this route as long as you filled up before leaving Moffat, but there are a couple of fuel stations on route if required. Castle Douglas is about half way round and therefore would probably be the best place to do so.