The curious traveller’s guide to Moffat
1. Famous names in time
Catherine the Great’s personal physician lived here in Moffat back in the 18th century in a spectacular Georgian mansion: Dumcrieff House. It was also home to John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836), who invented Tarmac. Take a walk up to this glorious house and see if you can spot McAdam’s roller in the grounds.
2. In plane sight
Who doesn’t love a quirky find? How about a full-size model spitfire (see above) in a regular garden? The proud owner, a retired doctor and aircraft enthusiast, built it and intends to leave it to the people of Moffat. It’s not just popular with aviation geeks. Many residents and visitors have taken a detour to admire its bodywork.
3. See the stars
Moffat is Europe’s first dark sky town. Thanks to very little light pollution here, the sky at night is really black – populated with many stars clearly visible to the naked eye. Freelance Ranger Elizabeth Tindal is the person to take you on a specially guided stargazing tour.
4. Record breakers
Another claim to fame: Moffat has Scotland’s narrowest street – Syme Street – which is also the only Syme Street in the whole of Britain. Scotland’s shortest street is also here, with its one house, as well as the oldest pharmacy in Scotland dating back to 1844.
5. Take the drive of your life
One of the most scenic drives in the UK starts in Moffat. Marvel at the spectacular landscape of the Borders on the A701 to Edinburgh. You’ll pass the mighty Devil’s Beef Tub, a walker’s paradise and one of the most famous geological landmarks in Dumfries and Galloway. Remember to stop off en route for no other reason than to listen to the silence and feast your eyes on the dramatic beauty.
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Photograph of the Devil’s Beef Tub: courtesy of Borders Forest Trust