The B8001 is one of the few roads to cross the Kintyre peninsula, indeed the only road to do so north of Campbeltown. The road was originally unclassified but gained its number in the mid-1920s.
The road starts on the A83 at Kennacraig, just a short distance south east of the Islay Ferry Terminal. It then climbs steadily up the side of the Redhouse Burn before two reasonably long straights take it across the summit of this pass over Kintyre. From the top there are good views east to Arran and west to Knapdale across West Loch Tarbert.
Beyond the summit, the road dives down round a steep, sharp bend to meet the Claonaig Burn. There is then another short climb through trees past Auchavae before the final descent to the shore. However, with the sea now clearly in view, the B8001 has to TOTSO with the B842, which turns south down the east coast of Kintyre. Our road turns left, following the burn down to the sea where the Claonaig Ferry Terminal provides a service across to Lochranza on Arran.
Beyond Claonaig, the road winds along the shore, creeping between jagged rocks, and then running along the grassy shelf between the rocks and the often steep hill on the landward side. It's just over a couple of miles to Skipness, where the B8001 terminates at the bridge over the Skipness River at the northern end of the village. However, if you've come this far, cross the bridge, park in the little car park and take a stroll out to see Skipness Castle and some stunning views of Arran!
A misleading milepost!
The section of B8001 from Claonaig to Skipness, and indeed the unclassified continuation north, has a number of iron mileposts along its length. These rather curiously have Tarbert and Campbeltown on opposing faces, giving the impression that the two destinations are in opposite directions along the road. However, the road eventually comes to an end about a mile north of Skipness, and without even a path following the shore line north, so is this proof that there was once a plan to build a coast road to Tarbert?
In a word, no. The mileages on the posts both increase, rather than one increasing and one decreasing, so it appears that it is simply an economical, if misleading, design!