South East Scotland
Route at a Glance
The route starts with you feeling like you’re really in the wilderness with a mixture of barren grasslands, rolling hills and the odd forest and farm. Onwards through Northumberland National forest and along Kielder Dam (Northern Europe’s largest man made dam). Some lovely scenery all the way to Hartside Café where the views are just breathtaking. If you time it right it feels like your sitting on top of the clouds. An absolute biker haven.
The last bit of Route 15 has you shadowing the Motorway, and although it doesn’t sound that exciting it’s a very nice biking road with timely straights and sweeping bends reminisce about your glorious day.
Route 15 is a ride starting with an aaaah and ending in a whoop!
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.
- Hermitage Castle – Quite an eery castle although it has a romantic past with Mary of Queen of Scots visiting her secret lover, the 4th Earl of Bothwell here when he was injured and on his sickbed. Sir Walter Scott was also fond of this castle and had himself painted with it in the background.
- Smuggler’s Leap – In the early 1800’s a lot of money could be made smuggling whisky between the two countries. This was one of the main smuggling routes affectionately known as ‘Smuggler’s Leap’.
- Kielder Water – Kielder Water & Forest Park offers nature on a grander scale. Home to the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe and, at over 250 square miles, the largest working forest in England.
- Tower Knowe Visitor Centre – A great place to stop and take in the views. If you wish to learn more about the area’s rich area pop into the visitor centre or simply grab yourself a bite and enjoy the views.
- Warning – This hairpin comes out of of the blue. You will be coasting along enjoying the twisties so be aware of this nasty surprise.
- Hartside Pass – From Melmerby, the A686 road climbs the summit of Hartside Pass from where there are magnificent views across the Solway Firth to Scotland. You have to mention the viewpoint at the Hartside Top cafe, you can see Helvellyn, Great Gable, Skiddaw, and in Southern Scotland – Criffel, simply awesome and another biking Mecca. The road continues to Alston, England’s highest market town.
- Devil’s Porridge – Museum and exhibition covering the two world wars and in particular the town of Annan’s role. It’s name bearing to the cordite production and how the town was built around it.
- The Old Blacksmith’s Shop, Gretna – Historically linked to weddings because of the more liberal marriage laws in Scotland. “Gretna” has become a term for a place for quick, easy marriages. The local blacksmith and his anvil have become the lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings. Scottish law allowed for “irregular marriages”, meaning that if a declaration was made before two witnesses, almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony. The blacksmiths in Gretna became known as “anvil priests”, culminating with Richard Rennison, who performed 5,147 ceremonies.
- B7076 – Be aware that this road, the B7076 runs parallel to the motorway the whole length of this section of the route. Your GPS device may wish to take you onto the motorway but trust me it’s worth staying on this road.
Filling Stations on Route
No Fuel stations between Moffat and Hexham so make sure you leave full. There’s a fuel station in warwick and then Ample fuel along the motorway using the usual services on the way back.