|To:||St John's Town of Dalry (NX619811)|
|Distance:||83 miles (133.6 km)|
|Meets:||A700, B701, A720, A703, A766, B7059, A721, A72, B7016, B7055, A73, M74, A74(M), B7078, B797, B7076, B7040, A76, B732, B731, B729, B7075, B7000, A713,|
|Former Number(s):||A72, A74, B730, B729|
|Route outline (key)|
More than 80 miles long on a generally NE/SW alignment, the A702 lies in the historic counties of Midlothian, Peeblesshire, Lanarkshire, Dumfriesshire, and Kirkcudbrightshire. The part north east of the M74/A74(M) is on the main signposted route between the Edinburgh and Carlisle areas; the remainder is relatively quiet, not being on an important through route (apart from during a short multiplex with the A76) and being largely hilly and twisty.
Section 1: Edinburgh – Biggar
In Edinburgh, the A700 starts at the west end of Princes Street and loops round the south of the city centre. The A702 soon leaves this road, at a complicated signalised junction at Tollcross, then runs southwards through the suburbs. At Morningside the South Suburban Railway is crossed where there used to be a station, but the line is used now only as an avoiding route so freight traffic does not add to the congestion at Waverley. The way out of Edinburgh is characteristically hilly and runs through strata of tenements, villas, bungalows and housing schemes which mark stages in the city's expansion.
At Fairmilehead the B701 is crossed at traffic lights. This used to be what passed for an Edinburgh southern bypass, but now carries only light traffic. In half a mile we come to the A720, the current city bypass, busy at most times of day and sometimes at a standstill, which we bridge via a pair of roundabouts giving access to its slip roads. Shortly the Edinburgh city boundary is reached and we pass into Midlothian - though historically Edinburgh is a part of that county. Another few hundred yards brings a junction where the A703 forks left to join the A701 south of Bilston, the A702 continuing southwards then shortly bearing right to head southwestwards, a direction largely kept until the M74/A74(M) is reached 35 miles away.
The A702 climbs gently up the southeast flank of the Pentlands, passing about a mile from Penicuik below, then meeting the A766 from that town as it joins from the left at a shallow angle. Another couple of miles brings Peeblesshire and the village of Carlops, then the larger village of West Linton whose old cottages are greatly outnumbered by modern housing for Edinburgh commuters. Here the B7059 for Romannobridge is to the left through the village centre, which we bypass.
Some long straights bring us to the Lanarkshire border and Dolphinton. Hard as it is to believe, this tiny place used to have two railway stations on separate spurs meeting end-on, one North British from Leadburn and the other Caledonian from Carstairs. They were on opposite sides of the road, joined by a line running underneath but not used regularly. Predictably, the few trains using each hardly connected; surreally, the stations were not even in the village, but a good mile back the way we have come, in open country in Peeblesshire.
More straight stretches lead to a junction where the A721 makes a staggered crossing, left for Blyth Bridge and right for Carnwath, then comes a more winding section which leads to Biggar in five miles. Just before the town, the A72 from Blyth Bridge angles in on the left and begins a multiplex with our road; it was originally the dominant number but as the A702 is now the more important route, it has become dominant instead. Biggar is an old market town with a wide main street, where the B7016 is firstly to the left for Broughton and then to the right for Carnwath. Several museums are to be found here, one of them being based on the old manual telephone exchange and one on the old gasworks.
Section 2: Biggar – St John's Town of Dalry
A bit outside the town the A72 leaves again, turning right for Lanark (during which journey it will multiplex with the A73 and the pair then multiplex briefly with the A70). We then proceed to the villages of Coulter, where there is a sharp bend over a small river, and Lamington, where the rather larger River Clyde and the WCML are joined and the B7055 is to the right, crossing the river on Clyde's Bridge and railway to join the nearby A73. In another few miles the A702 and A73 converge at a roundabout, where our road continues and shortly reaches Junction 13 of the M74 and A74(M) (being the place those two roads join end-on). Here a roundabout gives access to the off and on southbound slips, Abington services and to an overbridge to a matching roundabout on the other side, where in addition to the motorway slips the B7078 (ex-A74) is to the northwest for Lesmahagow. The A702 exits the first roundabout and runs parallel to, and east of, the motorway, taking over the old A74, with which it used to multiplex anyway.
After the village of Abington the B797 runs to the right over the motorway for Leadhills, whilst our road continues for some distance in a narrow valley containing, from west to east, the A74(M), the A702, the River Clyde and the WCML. A brief easterly turn brings a roundabout where we meet a motorway southbound offslip, forming part of A74(M) J14, and an unclassified road for the village of Crawford (which was the original A74), then we swing south again and shortly have to TOTSO to the right where the old A74/A702 multiplex ended. Straight on is the B7076 (ex-A74) for Beattock, but we pass under the motorway to a roundabout for the northbound slips, then enter a distinctly twisty and hilly section.
After the village of Elvanfoot, where the B7040 leaves to the right for Leadhills, the road leaves the Clyde and follows the Daer Water, then its tributary the Potrail Water, the hills pressing closer on each side until a saddle is reached. This marks the Dumfriesshire boundary, from which we follow the Carron Water into the narrow Dalveen Pass then through high hills which have the appearance of the North West Highlands. The A702 then gradually loses height for several miles, passing through various small settlements and under the Dumfries to Kilmarnock railway line along the way, until the village of Carronbridge is reached, where we merge at a Give Way junction (marking the original end of the A702) with the A76 as it angles in from Sanquhar to the northwest. The two roads multiplex southwards by the River Nith for a mile or so, until the A702 TOTSOs to the right on the northern edge of the small town of Thornhill and the A76 carries on slightly east of south for Dumfries. Shortly before the TOTSO, the short B732 to the right enables the corner to be cut, by rejoining our road shortly afterwards.
The Nith is crossed soon after Thornhill, then the road takes to the hills again, passing through only two places of any size before its end. These are the villages of Penbont and Moniaive, between which the B729 angles back on the left for Dumfries. The B729 multiplexes with us until at Moniaive it leaves on the right for Carsphairn. A few miles later we have our final change of county, passing into Kirkcudbrightshire at the minute settlement of Castlefairn. There are now just 10 more winding miles to go, several of them through extensive forestry plantations. At Bogue the B7075 (ex-A769) heads left for the A712 east of New Galloway, then at the edge of St John's Town of Dalry the B7000 leaves to the right for the B729 between Moniaive and Carsphairn. Finally, in the town centre the A702 ends at a T junction with the A713, left for New Galloway, right for Carsphairn.
The section of the A702 between Abington and just north of a bridge over the River Clyde a mile past Crawford was formerly a multiplex with the A74. The A702 now uses the old southbound carriageway of that road's final D2 layout.
Originally the A702 ended on the A76 in Carronbridge. In the late 1920s, it was extended along the original B730 (the section between Kirkland and Moniaive was the B729) to reach its current terminus at St John's Town of Dalry.