Great Driving Roads - Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway

Please note that the text below is mine and is not for reproduction without my express permission. I will tart this page up and index it as I get the time.
Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway: Road Listing
5Stars          
Road   A702 Dalveen Pass   
Start:               Elvanfoot      
Finish:            Carronbridge           
Road Width:   Wide  
Distance:         18 Miles         
Road Info:     
This road, that forms the Dalveen Pass, is simply one of the best roads in the country. The run out of Elvanfoot consists of endless wide sweeping corners, full of camber, visibility and a decent enough surface. Crossing the summit, the road then changes scenery, clinging to the side of Well Hill as it descends into the valley. Despite the lack of hairpins, the decent is almost alpine, and is certainly nice and quick. The Dalveen pass is an absolutely awesome road, and in my eyes, the best in the region.
5Stars

Road   A712  
Start:               New Galloway          
Finish:            Crocketford  
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         14 Miles         
Road Info:     
If the first section of this road only got 4 stars because of the surface, then this is an easy 5 star road. It’s and epic drive, especially when it gets up on to a plateau in the hills. The tarmac flicks-flacks through perfectly cambered bends, before a superb final descent into Crocketford. This is fourteen miles of the very best driving in the region.
5Stars


5Stars          
Road   B729  
Start:               A76    
Finish:            A702  
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         13.5 Miles      
Road Info:     
“A wicked road, very very good” to quote my Dictaphone. The reason: well it starts with a fantastic snaking drive up the valley next to Steilston Hill. After this, it runs between dry stone walls and as it follows (and offers some excellent views of) Dalwhat Water north. Look out for cyclists, as the Bicycle was invented just down the road at Keir Mill. Road Info: Turn right, heading north, in Dunscore at the roundabout.
5Stars

Road   A745  
Start:               Dalbeattie      
Finish:            Castle Douglas          
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         6 Miles           
Road Info:     
As this road starts with traffic lights, it’s best to be the first car in the queue. The reason; the hill climb out of Dalbeattie is stunning, with a real screamer of a long hairpin. This road is definitely worth waiting at the lights for.
4Stars


4Stars          
Road   B797 The Mennock Pass     
Start:               Mennock       
Finish:            Abington       
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         15 Miles         
Road Info:     
One of three chances to cross the Lowther Hills, (the others being The Dalveen Pass and the B740) the Mennock Pass is a great road. The climb between Stood Hill and Thirstaine Hill follows a great valley with a real feeling of wilderness. Beyond the summit the road is never straight, following a small stream and cutting through the rugged rocky scenery. The surface is mostly good; however there are a couple of dodgy sections with broken surfaces.
4Stars

Road   B7040
Start:               Elvanfoot      
Finish:            Leadhills        
Road Width:   Wide  
Distance:         6 Miles           
Road Info:     
The B7040 gives you a good excuse to drive the Mennock Pass twice as it links Elvanfoot to the Middle of the B797 at Leadhills, creating a small loop. It’s a very good road, fast and twisty, and passing through some cool scree formations. The road has a rally stage feel, with some excellent second and third gear sections, and is definitely worth the trip, especially if it forces you to repeat the Mennock.
4Stars


4Stars          
Road   A712  
Start:               Newton Stewart        
Finish:            New Galloway          
Road Width:   Wide  
Distance:         19 Miles         
Road Info:     
If it wasn’t for the surface the A712 would be 5 stars. The start is perfect, like a Nurburgring set in the New Galloway forests. In fact the first section has such good tarmac, I had “The Queen’s Way” down as one of the best roads in the UK. What a shame that after a few miles the surface changes and gets bumpy, especially for stiffly sprung cars. It’s still a fantastic road though, always twisty except when it runs briefly along side Glatteringshaws Loch.
4Stars

Road   A710  
Start:               Dalbeattie      
Finish:            Dumfries       
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         25 Miles         
Road Info:     
Reaching its peak on a freshly tarmaced section alongside the, the A710 is a great twisty stretch of road. With craggy hillsides on one side and the sea on the other, it is also very scenic and the best of the coastal routes alongside the Solway Firth: highly recommended.
4Stars


4Stars          
Road   B740  
Start:               Sanquhar      
Finish:            B7078
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         18 Miles         
Road Info:     
Eighteen miles doesn’t seem like a long way, but this road seemed to go on and on and on. To quote my Dictaphone recording, “absolutely brilliant, fast and sweeping: wicked corners” There may have been some scenery, I don’t know, I was too intent on the driving to look beyond the road ahead. There is some sketchy tarmac in places, but not enough to ruin the experience: another good road on the Lowther Hills.
4Stars

Road   B702  
Start:               St John's Town of Dalry     
Finish:            Thornhill       
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         25 Miles         
Road Info:     
Like the other roads in the area the B702 follows a simple recipe. Most of them are of such a high standard that it comes down to the surface to dictate just how good it is. In the B702’s case its pretty good, which makes for yet another good stretch of road. This time it’s twenty-five miles, which means another half an hour of uninterrupted driving. Life shouldn’t be this good.
4Stars


4Stars          
Road   A713  
Start:               Damellington
Finish:            Castle Douglas          
Road Width:   Wide  
Distance:         38 Miles         
Road Info:     
One very wet road, two motorbikes, and one Elise; ingredients for an excellent, if hairy, drive. The bikes caught me at about Carsphairn, and I was already really enjoying the road, it’s one of the fastest roads in the area, and a real license loser. I was on my own, or I had been until that point, so I let them past and decided to see if I could keep up. Bikes are quicker on anything but very twisty roads, but the rain played to my favour and I was able to keep up with the second bike for ten minutes or so, trusting his speeds into blind corners and marvelling at their confidence in the wet. Eventually the long straights told and they edged leaving me alone with the road once more. It’s a great run, a backbone to the area that all the other roads seem to run to. Luckily this means that it’s an obvious choice for a drive in the area, which is a good thing, as its one of the best.
4Stars

Road   A714  
Start:               Girvan           
Finish:            Newton Stewart        
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         30 Miles         
Road Info:     
An absolutely brilliant road, the first part climbs into the low hills via excellent sets of corners at an excellent pace. It then drops out of the countryside and tracks the river Duisk, using more twists and turns than the river itself. These are punctuated by the odd humpback bridge river crossing, each with tight scrabbling corners on either side. The road then opens up as it combines forest with open countryside all the way to Newton Stewart. The A714 has a good surface and is wide and even has overtaking places. Despite the single speed camera sign, there were no cameras on this road.
4Stars


3Stars          
Road   Unmarked Roads     
Start:               Straiton         
Finish:            A714  
Road Width:   Very Narrow (single track) 
Distance:         22 Miles         
Road Info:     
Running through exciting sounding places such as, Black Hill and Rig of the Shalloch, and passing close to a Robert the Bruce battleground, I had high expectations for this road. The first five miles or so are very good, the road is wide and takes itself into the heart of the Galloway Forest Park. Fittingly, at Loch Moan, the road then becomes single track and worthy of a moan, It’s a reasonably wide single track road though and you can take a decent pace into it. In fact the quietness of the road makes it’s easy to relax and go a bit too quick. Be prepared though, there’s a logging truck around the next corner, going at the same speed. If it’s damp, and you have it, switch the ABS on.
3Stars

Road   B741  
Start:               New Cumnock          
Finish:            Girvan           
Road Width:   Wide  
Distance:         30 Miles         
Road Info:     
This thirty mile stretch across the south Ayrshire countryside is a good stretch. It’s nice and quiet and has some excellent sections with good flowing corners. The four or five mile section with restricted width and passing sections is not too painful; the corners have been widened so you can take good lines through them. Much of this part of the road is open, saving the problem of constantly crawling around blind bends. Road Info The road joins the A713 for a mile at Dalmington. Also, in Dalmington, heading east to New Cumnock, take the left at the mini roundabout in front of the shops. In Straiton the road also comes to two junctions: again, heading east, turn right at the T junction (signpost Dalmington) then right after the post office onto Dalmington Road (no signpost). In Dailly turn left (heading west) at the T junction, then left 500m at the next T junction, just outside the village (signpost Girvan).
3Stars


3Stars          
Road   A77    
Start:               Girvan           
Finish:            Stranraer      
Road Width:   Wide  
Distance:         30 Miles         
Road Info:     
The A77 is a trunk road and after a ferry comes into Stranraer expect it to be wedged full of trucks and a nightmare. With this in mind, do whatever it takes, sit in a lay by, stay up all night, whatever, to get the Glen App section to yourself. My first experience of the road was at night. I was on my own all the way from Girvan to Outside Stranraer and it was epic. The cat’s-eyes led the way and the reflective posts guided me into each corner as it placed itself straight into my top ten night drives. During the day it’s good, if it’s empty. In fact I think Glen App has aspirations on the Nurburgring, or it certainly feels so, as you straight line the corners and clip those - oh so - intimidating Armco barriers. One star when it’s busy, five stars when it’s not.
3Stars

Road   B734  
Start:               Girvan           
Finish:            A714 via Barr           
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         14 Miles         
Road Info:     
Anyone staying with this road from beginning to end deserves a medal. I lost count of the times I reversed up to junctions, or swore, as another sign pointed me in the seemingly wrong direction during my hopeless search for Barr. Maybe it was tiredness, or the rain, but I swore never to try this road again. Aside from the swearing or silence, filled with a background of snatched gears or reversing whine, my Dictaphone did contain some positive comments. The descent, from the Mull of Milijoan, into Barr is a fantastic section of road and worth the effort. Uphill it would be better: I’ll try again one day. Road info (for what its worth): After two miles, turn right in Old Dailly, signpost Barr. In Barr, turn right over the humpback bridge, signpost Pinwherry.
3Stars


3Stars          
Road   B734  
Start:               A714  
Finish:            A77    
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         8 Miles           
Road Info:     
The second half of the B734, joining the A714 to the A77 is a good road. It’s wide, with fast open corners running through some nice countryside, and is worth the effort. Road Info: After five miles, heading west, turn right to stay on the B734, otherwise the road becomes the B7044.
3Stars

Road   A711  
Start:               Kirkcudbright          
Finish:            Dumfries       
Road Width:   Wide  
Distance:         19 Miles         
Road Info:     
The first section of this road to Dalbeattie follows the Solway Heritage Coast Trial and starts with an excellent uphill stretch. After this the road straightens up and is fast and flowing all the way to Dalbeattie. After Dalbeattie the road stays fast and flowing with some sweeping corners. There is quite a lot of traffic in running between Dalbeattie and Dumfries which slows progress, despite the ample overtaking.
3Stars

Road   A762  
Start:               New Galloway          
Finish:            Ringford       
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         15 Miles         
Road Info:     
Good fast and twisty, with a fine section alongside Loch Ken. Perhaps not as good as some of the other roads out of New Galloway, but good, all the same
3Stars


3Stars          
Road   B729  
Start:               Moniaive       
Finish:            Carsphairn   
Road Width:   Varying         
Distance:         16 Miles         
Road Info:     
This part of the B729 passes through some wild scenery and some rugged moor land. Like the other roads in the new Galloway area, its very good, with the usual mix of sweeping corners and tighter twisty sections. At the mid point it goes down to single file, which is a shame as it spoils the road slightly. After this single file part, it runs alongside to Kendoon Loch for a while before joining the A713.
3Stars

Road   A755  
Start:               A75    
Finish:            Kirkcudbright          
Road Width:   Wide  
Distance:         8 Miles           
Road Info:     
Not particularly long, but a good road. It has a good surface and is wide, which makes for smooth fast progress.
3Stars

Road   B7000
Start:               St John's Town of Dalry     
Finish:            B729  
Road Width:   Medium (centre lines)          
Distance:         6 Miles           
Road Info:     
Running along the side of a hill, the B7000 offers good views down to one of the best roads in the area, the A713, as well as some nice scenery and a Loch or two. It in itself, is a pretty good road. Not overly wide, but it runs well along the hills and is a good way to join the B729.
3Stars


3Stars          
Road   B747  
Start:               Newton Stewart        
Finish:            A75 via Port William           
Road Width:   Wide  
Distance:         43 Miles         
Road Info:     
The B747 forms a loop around the coast of a tip of land known as The Machars. The Highlights of the road come in a couple of sections, the first being between Blandoch and Whithorn. It’s very good, nice and twisty with plenty of straights for overtaking. Just before Port William the road opens into its second good section that runs right along the beach. Whilst being quite straight, it is a good run right along the coast.
3Stars

Road   A7027
Start:               A714  
Finish:            A714 (via Knowe)    
Road Width:   Varying         
Distance:         15 Miles         
Road Info:     
The 7027 is an alternative to the A714 and runs parallel to it for 15 miles. It’s a reasonable road, which is good at either end, with a single track section in the middle that is annoying. To be honest the A714 is far better, and the A7027 is only worth a look if the former is really busy.
2Stars


No comments:

Post a comment