The Red Moss Hotel is a small and friendly establishment, a little way off the beaten track off the M74 in South Lanarkshire in Scotland.
If you are heading north, then you need to come off at Junction 13 and take the B7078 in the North-Easterly direction for about four miles and the truckstop is on the left. If heading south, take Junction 11 and follow the signs for the B7078 Crawfordjohn and it will be on your right.
So it might seem a little way out, but in effect detouring to visit is nothing more than taking a loop off the motorway and should not affect your journey too much. And it is worth taking that detour because the Red Moss Hotel offers something those truckstops close to the main roads and motorways can’t do so well – peace and tranquillity.
And it really does off tranquillity because the Red Moss is out in the wilderness somewhat which is one of its ‘USPs’, and attractiveness. You won’t be kept awake by the constant hum of passing traffic. In fact when I arrived and got out the car there was a delay silence. It was magnificent!
The site has parking for about 40 trucks, both in its two parking areas and in the layby just in front of the building. These areas are protected by CCTV so your truck will safe – beside, the only passers by will be sheep and other truck drivers!
The Red Moss Hotel is now owned and run by ex-trucker Eddie McNeil who took it on ten years ago. He used to shift shellfish in a fleet of impressive Scanias. The actual Hotel itself however dates from 1874 when it was a coach-house.
It is still a hotel today and can sleep 19 people. It has two family rooms, one for four people, one for five, and then five twin rooms. All have private bathrooms. So if you do want a night in a proper bed away from you cab, then that is an option.
Inside there is a bar – which has a real coal fire, a TV (with Sky Sports and other satellite channels) and a jukebox. There are two dining rooms, one, the lower, dining room has a pool table, while there is also an upper dining room. There are seven tables and a sofa in the front room which has a bar, and indeed feels like a pub, but overall about 60 drivers can be seated for dinner at any one time. There is a 24/7 shower and toilet block and there is free wi-fi.
The opening hours are ‘officially’ 1700-2300 Sundays to Fridays while it is closed on Saturdays, but Eddie says “we’ll stay open until ‘whenever’. Being an ex-driver myself, I know the needs of truckers. We will stay open later if requested in advance, but the reality is most truck drivers are here and parked between 2130 and 2200 and the latest. That means they get a good night’s sleep as there are not trucks arriving at all times through the night.
“If drivers are running late they can ring us and we’ll keep the kitchen open to ensure they get a meal when they arrive.
“While we are closed on Saturdays, if someone lets us know in advance that they want to park – and eat – on a Saturday, then we can accommodate them. Nine times out of ten, there is always someone here on a Saturday.”
The food is highly regarded, and reviews on the internet are very favourable indeed. The meals are home-cooked, the portions are sizeable, with locally-sourced, fresh ingredients. While they will prepare you a basic burger and chips, most opt for the likes of roast dinners, gammon and egg, steak, liver and onion, pies. They can be served with homemade chips or mash potatoes. Deserts are also all homemade, trifle, crumbles, rice pudding and the like. Eddie is an ex-Merchant Navy cook so appreciates the value and quality of home cooking.
There are no breakfasts available for drivers, “but most are away by 0500/0600,” says Eddie, “so it’s not a major issue”.
Eddie is considering selling the Red Moss Hotel if the right person wants to take it on. “It would be ideal for a husband and wife. It’s in good condition, we have spent a lot on it to make it a nice place,” he says.
The one thing that strikes you about the Red Moss Hotel is how friendly and sociable it is for truck drivers. “You don’t see too many people sat there quietly on their phone, it is a very friendly place. People actually talk to each other!” concludes Eddie. It’s hard to disagree with that sentiment…
Red Moss Hotel & Truckstop
72 Carlisle Road, Crawfordjohn, ML12 6SX