"Moffat: just off the motorway" Moffat by GillianMcLaughlin

Moffat Travel Guide: 16 reviews and 39 photos

A small border town that boasts one of the widest high streets in Scotland and the narrowest hotel in the UK. Moffat may be little known, but it’s importance was guaranteed through history thanks to two opportunistic features. From earliest days, Moffat’s strategic place in commerce was guaranteed thanks to its proximity to the border between Scotland and England. Cattle and sheep herders would pass the rought town taking their beasts to and from market in Carlisle. Over time Moffat developed its own reputation in the wool trade. Secondlay, thanks to a chance discovery in the 1600s, Moffat became the first spa town in Scotland. Waters that abounded in the area were reputed to have therapeutic qualities, and behind this reputation followed one for hospitality and, later, tourism.

So moffat, in turning from a rough and ready village of herders and dykers became a fashionable spa town frequented by the likes of Empress Eugenie of France. Former inhabitants of Moffat include the court physician to Catherine the Great and John Loudon MacAdam, yes, he who gave the world tar macadam roads, whose grave is to be found in the town’s cemetery.

Unlike many small towns whose former glory remains a mere mention in the history books, Moffat retains a popularity today. It is a frequent winner in the annual Scotland in Bloom competition, a national initiative that recognises civic pride. It also attracts thousands of visitors all year round as its strategic position beside the only motorway between Scotland and England attracts coach parties in search of some typical Scottish keepsakes that are to be found in abundance in the many weaver and knitting shops, and some good wholesome eating that is the trademark of the town’s many cafes, restaurants and bars.

Finally it is also something of a mecca for hillwalkers as it sits at the foot of some fine hill-walking country. It is a mere 5 miles from the Devil’s Beeftub, a steep bowl cut through the hillside which was reputedly the refuge of Rob Roy MacGregor and other sheep and cattle herders making their way to the market in Carlisle.

I have always been fond of Moffat. It was a regular day out for our family when I was a child… and very popular as it was home to the boat park which allowed us to terrorise the local ducks with our oars. The day would inevitably conclude with a treat of icecream in one of the many cafes in town. Come and see some of the delights of this little known but very charming little town that so many people pass by on their run from Scotland to England. Oh yes, it is also the unlikely home to one of the best Indian restaurants in the country.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A bit of everything for the hill-walker, historian, shopper, foodie and collector of trivia
  • Cons:Gets over-run in summer weekend with busloads of elderly tourists
  • In a nutshell:A far more interesting stop-off than any motorway service station if you are travelling along the M 74 between Scotland and England
  • Last visit to Moffat: Feb 2005
  • Intro Written Feb 20, 2005
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Reviews (6)

Comments (12)

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2006 at 8:29 AM

    Haggis pakhora indeed!! It's a lovely area, somehow missed by many on their rush to the highlands and islands. A town will always thrive if you can park on the streets, especially if it's for free .

  • EdinburghRoc's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2005 at 5:23 AM

    Long time since I had Highland toffee, must try Moffat toffee someday.

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Nov 10, 2005 at 2:57 AM

    I have to stop in Moffat next time I'm in Scotland and try the toffees.

  • whitecliff62's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2005 at 9:26 AM

    Im just sitting here wondering if the nursery rhyme little miss Moffat comes from this town.

  • stevezero's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2005 at 8:40 AM

    Must call in next time I'm up the M74. Shoudn't be that long....

  • johngayton's Profile Photo
    Aug 23, 2005 at 5:35 PM

    "haggis pakora"!, Aye. Really evocative pages on Scotland and wonderfully written, thanks. Cheers, John.

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Jul 19, 2005 at 9:52 AM

    Got to get me some of that toffee! LOL

  • zizkov's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2005 at 3:37 PM

    A ram! I thought the statue was a giant owl.

  • CliffClaven's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2005 at 9:49 AM

    You forgot to mention that old Cliffie lived there more than half a century ago!

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2005 at 5:25 AM

    looks like a nice place, never heard of it before - how ignorant of me !


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