Dating from 1760 this elegant Georgian Coaching Inn, located on Moffat High Street, retains most of its original features.
Dating from 1760 this elegant Georgian Coaching Inn, located on Moffat High Street, retains most of its original features. Most notable is the dramatic hotel facade which contrasts with the predominantly Scottish vernacular architecture on Moffat High Street. The open fireplaces in the public rooms offer our guests a warm and cosy prospect, even on the coldest of Scottish winters. In the Moffat hotel bar, the Buccleuch Coat of Arms is yet another reminder of the past and historic links with the Duke of Buccleuch.
History of the name
The name Buccleuch, the object of much misspelling and poor pronunciation, originates from the 10th century.
How to say “Buccleuch” ~ ph [ Buck-lew ]
Legend has it King Kenneth III was hunting in a deep ravine (referred to as a cleugh) in the heart of the forest when a young buck became cornered and charged towards the unarmed King. A young man named John Scott seized the buck by the antlers and wrestled it to the ground, saving the King’s life. From that day, the Scott family were referred to as Buck Cleuch, the “buck from the ravine”, and were rewarded handsomely for their bravery.
History of Moffat Town
Moffat is a former burgh and spa town in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, lying on the River Annan, with a current population of around 2,500.
It was during the 17th century that Moffat began to grow from a small village into a popular spa town. The sulphurous waters of Moffat Spa were believed to have healing properties and during the Victorian era the high demand led to the water being piped down from the well to a specially built bath house in the town centre (now the Town Hall). Luxurious hotels sprang up to accommodate the increasing numbers of tourists. One such hotel opened during Moffat’s heyday in 1878, Moffat’s Hydropathic hotel was destroyed in a fire in 1921.
The old well was refurbished in the mid 1990s, and is still accessible by vehicle and foot. The water smells very strongly of sulphur, with deposits on the walls and well itself. At the grand reopening of the well people visiting it were encouraged to drink a glass of it.
The well can be reached by following Haywood Road and climbing up Tank Wood (on the right at the top) – the path at the end was the original route to the well. When the water was first piped into town for the baths it was pumped uphill to a tank in the appropriately named Tank Wood, before travelling back downhill to the bath house.
Larchhill Well was a Chalybeate well located on Old Well Road near Wellwoodhead Cottage. This well is no longer visible.
The Devil’s Beef Tub near Moffat, described below, is a well renowned natural feature of the area and town.
The Devil’s Beef Tub
The Devil’s Beef Tub is a deep, dramatic hollow in the hills 3 miles North of Moffat. The 500-foot (150m) deep hollow is formed by four hills namely; Great Hill , Peat Knowe, Annanhead Hill, and Ericstane Hill. It is one of the two main sources of the River Annan; the other is from the neighbouring Hart Fell to the east.
The unusual name derives from its use by the Border Reivers, namely the Johnstone clan. Their enemies referred to them as “devils” and they would regularly take raiding parties across the border into England to plunder and pillage from the neighbouring villages. They would then dash back across the border with their loot and hide the cattle in the steep valley, shaped like a “tub”. From the surrounding hills the valley was near invisible and the acoustics of the hills played tricks on the pursuers. Hence the aptly named “Devil’s Beef Tub”. It is also less commonly known as the Marquis of Annandale’s Beef-Tub (or Beef-Stand) after the Lord of Annandale, chief of the raiding “loons” (meaning “lads”, rather than “lunatics”).
Up until the 1970’s the Restaurant within the Buccleuch was known as the Beef Tub. The newly branded (or more correctly – rebranded) restaurant came into being in March 2015 with a name that was once again synonymous with the history of the area and also to fully reflect the style of food and dining experience.
You will notice that there is a monument dedicated to the covenanter, John Hunter, that stands on the southwest rim of the Beef Tub. On 12 August 1685, Hunter attempted to flee from some dragoons by running up the steep side of the Beef Tub. He failed, was shot dead on the spot, and is buried in Tweedsmuir kirkyard (churchyard).