In the last issue of ABR magazine, I claimed that our Cumbria and Yorkshire Dales weekend ride would be the last instalment of our Discover Britain series. That may have been the case at the time of writing that feature, but due to overwhelming love for the routes we've made, I'm convinced that Discover Britain needs to stay. And so, for 2017, we're going to continue our circumnavigation in two-day chunks, extending our tour up to Scotland.
In issue 38 of ABR we hang around in the wonderful Southern Uplands, an area of Scotland that I had previously never visited, or even considered visiting. In the past, whenever I've decided to take a trip over the border, I've had a desire to venture as far north as possible, thinking that the further up I went the better the scenery would be. While there's no doubt that the landscapes of the Highlands and Cairngorms are world class, missing out on the Southern Uplands is almost criminal!
The staging point for our two day assault on southern Scotland is Gretna Green. This small village is famous for being the wedding destination of choice for young lovers over the last few centuries, who wanted to bypass Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act, which prevented anyone under the age of 21-years-old from getting married without parental consent. While the village served that purpose for star-crossed lovers in times gone by, for the modern day adventure bike rider it's the perfect place to spend a night after gunning it up the M6 after finishing work on a Friday night.
From Gretna Green, our two day route will take you east, visiting the fascinating Devil's Porridge Museum before slicing through the wild and remote Galloway Forest Park. The riding is splendid as you then bear south to Scotland's most southerly point, the Mull of Galloway. Day one finishes with a blast up the coast to Ayr, where you'll find plenty of accommodation and dining choices.
Day two is all about the riding as we head to Moffat, the motorcycling hub of the Southern Uplands. Before we reach the town we take in a series of three incredible passes in the Lowther Hills, riding through Scotland's highest village as we go. Grab a bite to eat at Moffat and prepare yourself for an epic route east to Selkirk and Melrose Abbey, where Robert the Bruce's heart is said to have been buried. From Melrose Abbey we almost double back on ourselves to ride some more of the tantalising roads of the Moffat Hills.
Our route ends where it began, in Gretna Green. From here it's simple enough to hop back on to the M6 where you'll be whisked back home, ready for work in the morning having ridden some of the most beautiful and exciting roads you'll ever ride.
We've plotted the route out so that you can download it, stick it in your SatNav and ride it. For this ride we've broke it down in to two files for two days, so simply right click on the attachments below called 'SouthernUplandsDayOne.JPG and SouthernUplandsDayTwo.JPG' and choose 'Save Link As', once you've saved it to your computer load it into your SatNav as per the manufacturer's instructions and get riding! Please bear in mind that we urge you to venture off this route and stick to the coastal roads as much as possible. The gpx. file will give you a good guide of where you should head, but the joy is in exploring the area.