|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||28.5 miles (45.9 km)|
|Meets:||A904, A993, A803, A801, A7066, A705, A71, A704, A721, A73|
|Old route now:||A801, B8084|
|Route outline (key)|
The route of the A706 traverses approximately 29 miles of southern Scotland from Borrowstounness (Bo'ness) in Falkirk via West Lothian to Lanark in South Lanarkshire. It is predominately a two-lane undivided (S2) roadway running through level to rolling terrain. The A706 passes through rural and small town land uses for its entire length; there are no real suburban or urban sections. None of the A706 is currently designated as a "Trunk Road" according to mapping on the Transport Scotland website. Similarly, none of the A706 is shown as a "Primary Route" on mapping on the OS website; nor did I observe green signs on any portion of the route at the time I drove its length (September 2008). The road does go out of zone, however: starting in Zone 9 in the north, passing through the narrow part of Zone 8 in Scotland's Central Belt, and ending within zone at its southern end.
Borrowstouness - Lanark
The northern terminus of the A706 is at a roundabout intersection with the A904 in the centre of Bo'ness. From this point the A706 heads in a southerly direction, sharply uphill as a two-lane (S2) road through small-town land uses, with a 30 mph speed limit. At the top of the hill the A706 crosses the A993, a road that serves as a bypass to the A904 through Bo'ness. By following the A993 to the west, one would arrive at part of the newest UNESCO World Heritage Site in Scotland. A portion of the Antonine Wall, including its best-preserved fortlet, is located in the Kinneil community. The Antonine Wall is part of the "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes a number of Roman sites in Europe including Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes in southern Germany. After 1 mile, the A706 leaves Bo'ness, and enters rolling rural countryside at NSL.
Approximately 1 mile later, the boundary of West Lothian is crossed. Within the next 1 mile the A706 overpasses the M9 motorway, enters the small town of Linlithgow with a 30 mph speed limit, and meets the A803 at a T-junction in the centre of town. There is a short multiplex as far as a mini-roundabout. For the next mile, the A706 goes through a one-lane (S1) signal-controlled railway underpass, and then leaves Linlithgow at NSL. 1 mile farther on, the A706 crosses a one-lane bridge over the Union Canal with priority granted to southbound traffic. Approximately 2 miles later the A706 reaches the A801 to start a multiplex, with the latter being the dominant route number. The multiplex continues for almost 5 miles and includes intersections with the A800 and the A89.
The A706 diverts from the A801 at a roundabout on the outskirts of Bathgate, where the A7066 is also met, as a good two-lane undivided (S2) road through rolling rural terrain at NSL. About 1 mile later, after underpassing the M8, the route enters the village of Whitburn at 30 mph where it intersects with the A705. The speed limit increases to 40 mph 1 mile later, and then rises to NSL shortly thereafter but approximately 1 mile later it drops to 30 mph as the A706 enters the village of Longridge. After leaving Longridge, a beautiful view of the valley to the south can be seen, and the NSL returns as rural countryside is entered. 1 mile later the A706 goes over the railway line and then crosses the A71 at a signal controlled rural crossroads! This is Breich, whose station is one of the least used in the UK, not even seeing 100 passengers a year. Shortly after this intersection comes the best motoring experience on the A706; a series of about a half-dozen roller-coaster dips and rises that would do credit to any theme park competitor! After about 1 mile of this excitement, the intersection with the A704 is passed.
The boundary of South Lanarkshire is crossed 1 mile later and 2 miles further south the speed limit drops to 30 mph as the village of Forth is entered. Leaving Forth 1 mile later the NSL resumes and a beautiful view of a valley in the foreground with hills in the background is revealed. After 4 miles, there is a roundabout intersection with the A721. Then, within the next 2 miles there is a gate-controlled level crossing on the West Coast Main Line, and the one-lane (S1) signal-controlled bridge over Mouse Water is crossed. Continuing from there, the A706 enters the Royal Burgh of Lanark 1 mile further on, and the speed limit drops to 40 mph through a mix of town and rural land uses. In another ½ mile the speed limit drops to 30 mph as town land uses predominate. Finally ½ mile later, the southern terminus of the A706 is reached at an intersection in central Lanark. Lanark is the home of the industrial village of New Lanark, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are only five such sites in Scotland (the other four being Frontiers of the Roman Empire mentioned above, Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, St. Kilda, and Heart of Neolithic Orkney).
The A706 might be appropriately nicknamed as "Scotland's World Heritage Highway", terminating as it does in two towns with such UNESCO sites - Bo'ness (home of the Antonine Wall) and Lanark (home of New Lanark). A fun day outing could be experienced by visiting the various tourist attractions in these two towns, and travelling the A706, which connects them to each other and with the intervening scenery. Plus, driving the "roller-coaster section" between the A71 and the A704 is a blast!
The multiplex with the A801 is relatively new. Originally the A801 ended on the A706 at Brunton, then the A706 continued south through Armadale (along the current B8084) to rejoin its current route just north of the M8. What is now the A706 between the A801 and B8084 used to be the A8.
Original Author(s): US 29 Bob/C S Simpson