|Location Map ( geo)
|28.5 miles (45.9 km)
|A904, A993, A803, A801, A7066, A705, A71, A704, A721, A73
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
The A706 traverses approximately 29 miles of southern Scotland from Borrowstounness (Bo'ness) on the Firth of Forth via Linlithgow in West Lothian to Lanark in South Lanarkshire. Since the construction of the A801, the route has formed two distinct parts.
Bo'Ness - Westfield
The northern end of the A706 is at a roundabout with the A904 in the centre of Bo'ness. From this point the A706 heads in a southerly direction, climbing sharply uphill on Church Wynd, which as its name suggests, winds through a cemetery and round a wooded garden before levelling out. Linlithgow Road then runs past some old detached villas enjoying magnificent views across the Forth. At the top of the hill the A706 passes playing fields and then meets the A993, a road that serves as a bypass to the A904 through Bo'ness at a signalised crossroads. Following the A993 to the west, leads to a part of one of the newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scotland. A portion of the Antonine Wall, including its best-preserved fortlet, is located at Kinneil. 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.
Continuing south, Linlithgow Road runs through the sprawling twentieth century housing estates to the south of the town, before finally reaching open countryside. It continues to climb through trees, past the golf course and on to a summit of 124m, from where the trees peel back and a magnificent view opens up ahead, with the Avon Viaduct at Linlithgown Bridge prominent. Dropping down the hill, the B8029 turns off to the right and then the route passes over the M9 motorway, entering the historic county town of Linlithgow on the far side. St Ninian's Road winds gently into the town centre, where it meets the A803 at a T-junction. There is then a short multiplex westwards along the High Street as far as a mini-roundabout, where the A706 turns right onto Mains Road. This drops gently down hill to pass through a one-lane (S1) signal-controlled railway underpass, beyond which is starts to climb a little as it passes playing fields and modern housing estates. The B8029 is met again at a roundabout on the edge of town, beyond which the A706 heads off south west across fields.
After half a mile or so, the route comes alongside the Union Canaland and follows it for a time before sweeping round to the south and crossing it at a narrow, single lane bridge with priority granted to southbound traffic. For the next couple of miles, the route winds its way through the hills, with only one real straight, and a series of slow bends. The hills are gently rolling, covered by a patchwork of fields, which run down to the steep Avon valley below. The B792 turns left for Torphichen, and a short distance later a right turn drops down into the valley and the A801. The A706 meets the A801 itself a short distance later at a near blind TOTSO, with the A801 climbing steeply up from the right, while the A706 maintains priority as it sweeps round to the left. This junction should have been replaced 40 years ago, but the missing link across the Avon on the A801 remains only half built. The A801 therefore assumes the route of the A706 for the next half mile to the Westfield Roundabout, although it is difficult to be sure which route is dominant in this part of the multiplex.
Bathgate - Lanark
The A706 resumes at the Boghead Roundabout on the outskirts of Bathgate, where it leaves the A801 behind, while also meeting the A7066 and B8002. It heads south west for about a mile along a wide straight which is part of the original Edinburgh and Glasgow Road built in the 1920s, but long since replaced by the M8. At the end of the straight, the route meets the B8084 at the Whitdale Roundabout, where it turns left, resuming its original line as it passes under the motorway. Armadale Road then leads south into the centre of Whitburn, where the A705 is crossed at the signalised Whitburn Crossroads. Manse Road and Longridge Road then lead out through the suburbs, with a roundabout for the supermarkets, but few direct property accesses as most of the houses are set back behind greens and service roads. Beyond the small town, a long undulating straight through fields lifts the route to the small village of Longridge, where the B7010 is met at a staggered crossroads at about 250m above sea level.
After leaving Longridge, the road remains straight as a beautiful view of the valley to the south opens up ahead. As the route drops down into the valley, it crosses the B7015 at a signalised crossroads, before crossing the Breich Water at Breich Bridge. Climbing again, it goes over the railway line and then immediately meets the A71 at another signal controlled rural crossroads! To the left is Breich village, 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! The route begins a long undulating climb across moorland, running along the edge of the large Woodmuir Plantation before meeting the A704 at a fork between wind turbines. This seems to be the summit of the route, at 317m, from where a long straight leads south west into forestry.
The boundary of South Lanarkshire is crossed just inside the forest, and then the road follows a long, fast curve as it drops slightly through the trees. Emerging at the far side, the B7016 turns off to the left and soon after the village of Forth is reached, sitting high on a moorland plateau looking south across forestry and the valley of the Mouse Water. Main Street carries the A706 through the village, and as it leaves, the beautiful view of the valley in the foreground with hills in the background is revealed. A series of long straights, crossing moorland fields and patches of forestry, dip down to cross the Netherton Burn before climbing a little again. The B7056 turns right for Carluke, and a couple of miles later the A721 is met at the Harelaw Roundabout. A mile later, the route curves back into the valley of the Mouse Water, with a steepening descent taking it over a level crossing and down to cross the river at the narrow Cleghorn Bridge. The road makes a double bend across, now controlled by traffic lights, before climbing westwards out of the valley again.
At the end of a long, undulating, tree lined straight, the route enters the Royal Burgh of Lanark, and runs along Cleghorn Road as it winds past, rather than through, the modern housing estates. Curving round to the south, roadside houses suddenly begin, in the form of very large, detached Victorian villas. The route becomes steadily more urban, with terraces and shops as it follows Hope Street into the town centre, finally coming to an end at a T junction with the A73, Bloomgate in the town centre. Lanark is the home of the 18th Century 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.
Apart from being displaced by the A801 in the middle, the A706 hasn't changed that much since it was first classified in 1922. There is nothing to suggest that the route has seen any notable improvements outside of the towns between Bo'Ness and the A801 junction, apart from perhaps a slight improvement to a bend or junction. The old alignment can then be traced to the east of the Westfield Roundabout, and slowly converges with the new road. It then crosses as a footpath, before forking left at a junction and running down through the trees to meet the B8028 opposite its junction with the B8084 at the old Couston Crossroads. The B8084 then follows the former A706 route through Armadale, and again there is little to suggest and substantial improvements. Immediately to the south of Whitburn a big layby on the west side of the road does show a realignment, but this is the only such feature on the whole route.