The Scottish Borders in Spring and Autumn
2015 celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Moffat Toffee 200km audax in the Scottish Borders. To mark this, Lucy McTaggart and her husband Dick are organising spring and autumn weekends of audaxing showing off the best of the Scottish Borders' roads and scenery at either end of the season.
The Borders in Bloom
The first weekend on the 25th and 26th of April begins with a choice of three events on Saturday. The 2015 Moffat Toffee 200km audax is a ride of classic Borders moorland views, steady climbs and good cafés. The return leg from Moffat is always stunning as it passes the Grey Mare’s tail waterfall plus St Mary’s loch and the Loch of the Lowes.
Dick McT’s 150km Classic heads out up the Yarrow valley in the opposite direction to the Moffat Toffee return leg. It then turns south to duck and dive for a while amongst the smaller hills to Eskdalemuir where a good feed awaits at the old schoolhouse café. The ride ends with a good run home down the Ettrick valley amongst the trees and spring flowers.
At 116km, The Ettrick Valley Run is the shortest of the three events on the Saturday. The ride takes the direct route to Eskdalemuir café via the gradually rising road of the Ettrick valley. Returning via the same route, you will have the terrain and prevailing wind to carry you home :-).
The Autumn Colours
As the leaves begin to fall in autumn, you could return once again for two rides during the first weeked of October.
On Saturday 3rd October, the Etal-U-Can 200km audax is a very different ride to the Moffat Toffee as it heads East via the edge of the Lammermuir hills into the mass of tree covered lanes that make up Berwickshire and North Northumberland. Visiting Etal famous for it’s narrow gauge railway and castles and skirting the edge of the beautiful Cheviot Hills, it returns via Wooler and Yetholm (the start of the Pennine way).
On Sun 4th Oct, the Ride of the Valkyries 100k audax is a short but spectacular crossing of the hills between two of the McTaggarts' favourite café stops of the Gordon Arms and the Jammie Coo, where Delia’s cooking may well delay you for some time before you escape to return over the last few hills back to HQ.
Both weekends will run from the Focus centre in Galashiels as HQ where food, hot drinks and showers will be available at the finish. There are many reasonably priced B&B’s locally so you could explore the Borders for the weekend or longer. For the autumn weekend, the reinstated railway linking Edinburgh to Galashiels will be up and running if you prefer to let the train take the strain.
For more details and entry visit the Audax UK website.