From hiking to biking, from shopping to star-gazing, this small town has a lot to offer…
1 A sensational landmark
The Devil’s Beef Tub owes its name to the practice of hiding cattle plundered during cross-border raids. Walter Scott wrote: ‘It looks as if four hills were laying their heads together, to shut out daylight from the dark hollow space between them. A damned deep, black, blackguard-looking abyss of a hole it is.’ But don’t let that put you off!
2 A dramatic waterfall
The Grey Mare’s Tail is a spectacular nature reserve and hanging valley. Its magnificent waterfall cascades at 60m and is the fifth highest in the UK. Take a walk up to Loch Skeen (45 minutes) and marvel at the dramatic scenery, craggy hillsides and geological interest, wild flowers and upland birds.
3 Independent shops
From speciality delis to antique emporiums and quirky stop-offs, Moffat is flourishing with independent retailers. Check out Well Street and the High Street (a double high street no less) for all sorts of finds you’re unlikely to see anywhere else.
Don’t forget your binoculars – you’ll easily spot birds of prey in Moffat with buzzards being a common sight. Red kites were successfully introduced to the region in 2001 – head to nearby Castle Douglas where you’ll find a feeding ground for them. Gretna is not just about getting married and shopping. You can also watch the dramatic murmuration of starlings here.
But most exciting of all? The golden eagles. To boost the population here in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, three chicks from the Highlands were released into the wild – at a secret location – in the Moffat Hills. Moffat is now Scotland’s first Eagle Town.
5 Moffat walks
Moffat was the first ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town and there are plenty of way-marked walks to enjoy. Whether you want to take a short stroll alongside the river or spend a day hiking, Moffat makes for a memorable walking holiday. And when you stay at Queensberry House, it’s all on your doorstep. The surrounding Moffat hills, renowned for their heather blossom, are a haven for walkers of all abilities. The clean Scottish air, spectacular scenery and timeless beauty is awe-inspiring.
Where else will you find Scotland’s narrowest street (Syme Street)? And there’s also the added novelty of a full-size model spitfire in a regular garden.
Some of the best motorcycling routes are right here in Dumfries and Galloway – and Moffat sits amongst it all. There are hundreds of miles of quiet, open roads often with good line of sight, jaw-dropping dramatic scenery and plenty of pit stops. Get up close to Scotland’s fascinating history and seek out its curious landmarks and place names. Motorcyclists in the know come from all over the world to this hidden gem.
The hills of Moffat are alive with challenging terrain for the serious cyclist and more sedate routes for those who like to take things easy. Moffat is connected to the cycle network and one of the main stopping points for the Land’s End to John O’Groats route. Moffat is also close to the National Cycle Route 74, running from Carlisle to South Lanarkshire along quiet roads adjacent to the M74. Then there’s the serious challenge of off-roading on the world famous 7stanes Mountain Bike Trails, which spans the whole of the South of Scotland.
Wherever you take yourself, Queensberry House can offer a secure storage area for bicycles as well as a drying area for wet gear (boots, jackets, waterproof trousers).
8 The Classic Car Rally
One of the biggest classic car events in Scotland, this is hugely popular and attracts enthusiasts from all over UK for its vintage vehicles and show-stopping sights. Needless to say, book your accommodation early.
Moffat is Europe’s first Dark Sky town so you don’t need a fancy telescope to see stars here. On a clear night, just look up. Galloway Forest Park is Europe’s first official Dark Sky Park, one of only 44 worldwide, in 78,000 hectares of wild beauty.
Elizabeth Tindal (aka Freelance Ranger) is our go-to stargazing expert for this area. Her walks and tales will bring the sky alive – if the stars are out that’s a bonus but even on a cloudy night she can help you really experience the darkness.
When it’s tee time, practise your swing at the historic 18-hole Moffat Golf Course. Moffat Golf Club, formed in 1884, is a private members’ club with a relaxed atmosphere (and spectacular views) where visitors are welcome.
Check out our blog on the best gardens in Southwest Scotland here including a Nepalese paradise right here in Moffat – as seen on TV.
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