Only a third venture into Dumfries & Galloway, ever, but a second stop in Moffat.
The rain they hadn’t mentioned at the Visit Scotland website was arriving horizontally, but I bravely visited Station Park to capture this shot of Nessie, who entertained our two boys on our last visit to Swan Boat Lake a decade ago. No, Mrs RM didn’t fall in.
Moffat has a decent tourist trade based on some natural beauty and the fact the alternative stops off the A74(M) are covered in McDonald wrappers.
In an attempt to be the Brecon of the North, it throws in free parking, dark skies and an unmissable museum, as well as the Scottish version of the Garden Centre, the Mill Shop.
The museum had a video playing with what sounded like a scary Ivor Cutler (at least six syllables in the word “vulnerable“), detailing the atrocities visited on Moffat over the centuries, right up to the carnage caused by Queen of the South supporters during a pre-season friendly in 1996. All over an Iron Maiden soundtrack, possibly.
Plus a model railway.
Best of all, there’s an ancient Bass bottle which I perhaps stared at a little too passionately for the comfort of the volunteers.
You’ll be pleased to know I said “Hi” to the Scottish lady who passed me, painfully slowly, on the stairs up to the bottle display.
It’s a really attractive town, certainly the best before you get to Carluke, with an imposing church and the best graveyard outside the Falls Road.
You can see the Black Bull in the background above. This was the Guide entry when I visited before, but clearly desecrating your ancient pub with the words “famous pie’n’mash” doesn’t go down well with Dumfries CAMRA. Or perhaps their beer isn’t as good as in the Star.
I nearly succumbed to the subliminal advertising outside the Black Bull. But as I’ve said, it was raining.
The World Famous Star Hotel is hardly less forward in promoting itself.
Yes, it’s very narrow, and very old-fashioned (perhaps not by Dumfries standards), and quite charming, if a bit of a tat emporium (a Moffat speciality).
The Sulwath Criffel, first out the pumps, was OK but lacked a bit of condition (NBSS 2.5). A polite barman had to fetch an elder of the bar, either because he was too young, or the serving of ale is a sacred act reserved to those trained in the art. I know not.
It seems I’d chosen the lounge, home of ladies who lunch, rather than the actual bar, home of lads who Tennent. I hope that doesn’t invalidate my GBG tick. My company in the lounge was two genteel ladies, one from Harrogate, discussing “jewellery”, which I doubt was a euphemism for anything more sinister.
I attempted a recce of the building, and kept bumping into unfailingly polite staff, an occupational hazard in the narrowest hotel in the WORLD.
While Moffat looks traditional, the little shops off the High Street are anything but.
My other notes record that Well Street sold fascinators and “weird stuff”. You can’t have enough weird stuff. Or Shakin’ Stevens.
I like Moffat.