Never one to miss a chance to explore a new route, the recent visit of the Tour of Britain provided the final push to try a wee run out from Moffat. It is a typical borders market town just down the road from the legendary Abington.
Leaving Moffat on the A708 humming a rather obvious musical refrain of Cousteau last good day of the year the road rolls and trundles as it ascends gradually past Grey Mare's Tail waterfall and offers some respite to Cappercleuch.
The sun managed to break through with it brought some heat and worries of being overdressed. This is Scotland however and these fanciful ideas were soon forgotten as normal weather service was resumed. There is a right turn onto an unmarked single track road just before Cappercleuch signposted for Tweedsmuir and this is was taken on stage one of this year’s Tour of Britain. The road ascends to Megget Hill and reservoir and is at it's steepest in the first kilometre or so though the headwind was making for laboured progress through a green and brown Autumnal landscape.
|bleak, bleak in a very Scottish way|
A brief respite to admire the view of Talla and make a mental note to do this route in reverse before a damp descent and a run along the shore to Tweedsmuir.
The turn at Tweedsmuir rejoins the main roads in the shape of the A701 and turn into the teeth of a severe south westerly. Progress was agonisingly slow towards the Devil's Beef Tub but it did offer the chance to look out for and spare bidons that had been discarded by those pro riders. After some time it was possible to be convinced that the modern pro tour survives on Irn Bru, coffee from styrofoam cups and cheap lager but finally efforts were rewarded in the shape of not one but two water bottles. The Devil's Beef Tub marks the beginning of the descent and return into Moffat on what proved to be a tough ride that would be testing even without the wind for company on two of the three sides. The roads never really rise dramatically but are rarely flat either. They all run below 300m yet roll and wriggle and rise with a gradual persistence that adds spice to some fine borders scenery.
71km 810m ascent