|Location Map ( geo)
|38.2 miles (61.5 km)
|A77, A71, A76, A77, A79, A70, A77
|A733, B746, A758
|Route outline (key)
The A719 is one of the longer of the A71x roads. It goes though two towns, passes Culzean Castle and goes down the famed Electric Brae. If you are a local, Electric Brae is a danger due to slow cars. By a serendipitous accident of history, it now has the amusing co-incidence of connecting the Trump Turnberry golf course with the village of Moscow.
Laighmuir – Sandyford
The A719 starts on the "old" A77 (although it still has that number), almost immediately climbing over a wee burn to cross the new M77 on an overpass. It then follows a long undulating straight down to the tiny settlement of Waterside, which sits in the small but steep sided valley of the Craufurdland Water. After a short series of bends, another long straight leads due south across fields and then round a sweeping bend into Moscow (not to be confused with the Russian capital; this Moscow is on the Volga Burn). The village is little more than a crossroads on the A719, with most of the houses down the side roads to north and south. A sinuous section of road follows, slowly losing height as it winds across the fields. The descent then steepens a little as the route passes Loudoun Castle (the "Windsor of Scotland") former home to the Earls of Loudoun and a former theme park. At the bottom of the hill, the route meets the A71 at Galston Roundabout.
After the roundabout, the route crosses the River Irvine on Galston Bridge and enters the small town of Galston on Polwarth Street. It then TOTSOs right onto Bridge Street at traffic lights in the town centre; ahead is the B7037, which the briefly multiplexes to the west with the A719. While Bridge Street may seem mis-named when it doesn't cross Galston Bridge, there is a small bridge crossing a small burn just before the road becomes Brewland Street as the B7037 turns off to the right. After passing between some very grand stone buildings, Brewland Street curves to the south west and passes some modern houses and flats on the right, facing older terraced housing. Now winding through the suburbs, the houses are soon set back behind large gardens and service roads, with the route crossing a mini roundabout leaving the town on Ayr Road. Having left Galston, a series of short straights leads to a windier section crossing the railway and onto the Crossroads Roundabout with the A76.
Just after the roundabout, the A719 crosses the Cessnock Water at Shaws Mill Bridge and then climbs across the hillside on the west bank to cross the border into South Ayrshire. A short straight through woodland leads onto a much more sinuous section across open fields. This is a gently rolling landscape where most of the bends are fairly slight and there is good visibility for much of the way, although it is probably easy to get caught out. One long straight then lifts up to a summit of around 110m, before another dips down past a junction with the B730. After a short multiplex round some sweeping bends, the B730 turns off to the left, heading for the village of Tarbolton, most famous for its bachelor club with Burns connections. A short sharp climb then lifts the route up past 120m contour, before a more gently descent across the fields. There is only one farm, near the summit, on this stretch before the B739 forks off to the right passing to one side of the low Raith Hill, while the A719 passes over the southern slopes.
A mile further on, having only passed a couple of houses, the A719 reaches a T-junction with the B742 and TOTSOs right. Almost immediately, it then reaches the Sandyford Toll Roundabout on the dualled A77 near Prestwick. The junction has been realigned since the bypass first opened, at which point the B742 ended on the A719 without the TOTSO. It is not clear why it was changed, nor why the roundabout itself wasn't enlarged to accommodate both routes. The A719 then multiplexes south with the A77 for a few miles to the next roundabout.
The southern section of the A719 starts, after its multiplex with the A77, at the Whitletts Roundabout with the B743. The roundabout marks the end of the A77 dual carriageway which has run all the way from the motorway north of Kilmarnock, and formerly started in the centre of Glasgow. Instead, the A719 is dualled into Ayr, but it's quite slow as it's very busy: local residents park on it and it has a bus lane on it (only operational in the morning on the way into Ayr). High Road becomes Main Road and then Whitletts Road in quick succession as the route passes through typical suburbia. A row of older buildings and a parade of shops stand on the roadside, but most of the more modern properties either back onto the road or stand back behind green spaces and service roads. As the route gets closer to the centre of town, the houses are accessed directly off the A719, with a Supermarket and Ayr Racecourse, where the Scottish Grand National takes place, lying off to the right.
After the third signailsed crossroads (and numerous other central reservation gaps) the route crosses the railway line and runs along King Street between a primary school and blocks of low rise flats. The A79 is then met at a roundabout, where the A719 continues straight on, still on King Street. This section flares out either side of an old clock tower to a signalised T junction where the D2 ends as the route takes a sharp left onto Main Street, effectively a TOTSO. Although the unclassified section of Main Street to the right is wide enough for four lanes of traffic (parking bays and wide pavements have reduced its width), the A719 quickly narrows down to cross the River Ayr on New Bridge and so head into the town centre. Immediately off the bridge the A719 meets a one-way system, although whether all of it is actually part of the A719 is not entirely clear. The latest council list says it is but the OS haven't yet updated their mapping. Either way, southbound traffic continues ahead along New Bridge Street and Sandgate to a roundabout at Ayr Bus Station. There is a short oncoming Bus Lane from the High Street at first, but the rest is one way. Northbound traffic continues along Fort Street from the roundabout, and then steals a short section of the B748, South Harbour Street to get back to the bridge.
From the roundabout, the A719 continues along Fort Street, across the end of the spacious Wellington Square and on to Alloway Place. This is soon a genteel area of large stone terraced houses, and before long they give way to even larger detached properties. Obivously, many have been converted to offices, residential homes or flats, but this was once a very fine district. The A70 comes in on the right and terminates at a signalised T junction. Now following the tree lined Racecourse Road, the route follows a long straight through the Seafield area and past the old racecourse, which is now partly a golf course. After a green gap, where glimspes of the sea can be had, houses resume on Doonfoot Road just before the route crosses the River Doon on Doonfoot Bridge into Doonfoot itself. Dunure Road leads through this southern suburb to a roundabout, and then on past a new housing development on the outskirts of Ayr.
Ayr – Turnberry
Once clear of the urban area, the route climbs a little and passes the large Craig Tara holiday camp (formerly Butlins, then Ayr Haven). Otherwise, the route is passing through a patchwork of fields dotted with houses and farms. As it begins to climb again, the Firth of Clyde comes back into view, looking across to Arran, and back along the Ayrshire coast to the north. A summit of 92m is reached near Lagg, from where the route dips down to the village of Fisherton, from where a right turn drops down to Dunure with its harbour and castle about 200 feet below. The A719 stays on the hillside above, and now following a more southerly course, it offers great views of Arran, Kintyre and sometimes Northern Ireland in the hazy distance. can be had on this stretch. As it curves round a corner, continuing to follow the coast whilst climbing, there is a brief view of Culzean Castle in the distance, on the far side of Culzean Bay.
Still climbing , the route turns inland and passes a brown tourist sign for the Electric Brae also known as Croy Brae. It warns of slow vehicles, which is true, although they are usually tourists. The Electric Brae is a form of optical illusion: you are actually driving uphill into a valley but the surrounding features, hedges, etc. somehow suggest you're going downhill, although not everyone gets this sensation. The road is too busy these days to attempt the 'rolling uphill' trick of years gone by. There are some wee ups and downs as the road curves round over the two small burns at the head of the valley, before it begins to climb again, curving further inland and away from the coast. The summit, near Humeston, is around 135m, before the route drops down across the Rancleugh Burn, with a final short climb to reach the B7023. This T junction is a TOTSO where the A719 turns right.
A short straight is quickly followed by a more sinuous section through woodland, which leads to the entrance to Culzean Castle. This palatial residence, spectacularly set on a clifftop, is run by the National Trust for Scotland and stands in an extensive country park, making it a popular destination for locals. There are a few gaps in the trees and a handful of properties are passed as the route continues to wind gently south west, slowly losing height. Fields then open out to the right, but the lie of the land prevents a view of the sea beyond. At length, however, the route winds down past a couple of holiday parks to the harbour village of Maidens. Kirkoswald Road leads past some old houses and round a sharp right hand bend to suddenly reveal the shore ahead. A sharp left hander follows, with the road running across the head of a park stretching down to the sea. Turnberry Road then turns back inland and climbs a little away from the coast.
Just outside the village, the route crosses the old concrete runway of RAF Turnberry. There is no mapping evidence to suggest that the road was ever diverted, although it is difficult to see how traffic could have passed when the airfield was in operation during the war. The airfield was built across old golf courses, which were restored after both wars and are now part of the Trump Turnberry Golf Course and Hotel. Planes and helicopters also occasionally still land here. After a couple of short straights, the road recrosses the runway, before a long straight leads between the golf course on the right and the hotel up the hill on the left. Just before the hotel stand Turnberry Cottages. Some of these are genuine old houses, but the removal of garden boundaries, and the identical colour schemes makes them look a bit toytown. At the end of the straight the route reaches Turnberry village, where it winds round a couple of corners and meets the A77 once again; this wide T junction is the end of the A719.
In 1922 the A719 ran only from Ayr to Turnberry. It was extended north to Laighmuir in 1934 along the A758 and A733. The northern section of the extension, as far as Galston, had been the A733 since 1922, but the section from Galston to Ayr had originally been numbered as the B746. the section running out of Ayr had been upgraded to become the A758 quite early, perhaps in 1926, with that route running east to meet the A76 at Mauchline. The A733 had the been extended south over the remainder of the B746 before 1932. Much later, when the Ayr bypass was built in the 1970s, a short section of A719 was realigned and dualled to form part of the new bypass, which was numbered as the A77. There are, however, short sections of now-abandoned A719 to be seen in a couple of places.
Beyond these changes, the A719 has seen a fair number of localised improvements, particularly north of Ayr. There are several small laybys and wide verges on the bends in the first few miles, hinting at minor realignments. Then, just before Moscow, a long loop to the left has been bypassed with a single sweeping bend, removing three kinks. The old road can be seen running out across the field, but has been blocked by several fences, and partially removed, or perhaps just buried under a dung heap. Further south, at the junction for Crawlaw, a layby on the right is soon followed by one on the left showing the old bends, and around the next corner a much longer loop survives in use as a minor road over the old Alton Bridge. Beyond Galston, there are again a few hints of minor realignments, and then at Crossroads the road used to take a straighter course, passing to the south of the roundabout. This has now been largely reclaimed by the farmer.
The next substantial realignment is at Fail, where a long sweeping curve has been built with a new junction for the B730. A long layby then lies on the right hand side shortly before Sandyford Toll, with the B742 junction being changed as described above. On the bypass, a block of trees on the right hand side hides most of the old A719 deviation, although a farm track crossing in the middle reveals part of the old road. The route then forked right onto Wheatpark Road (no junction was provided here), and crossed the railway and B743 before following Low Road back to the current line. The only improvements to the south of Ayr seem to have been quite small scale, leaving small laybys and wide verges as noted elsewhere on the route.