|Location Map ( geo)
|Castle Douglas (NX772642)
|6.1 miles (9.8 km)
|A711, B727, A713, A75
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
The A745 is a winding A-road connecting the Kirkcudbrightshire town of Dalbeattie with the trunk A75 near Castle Douglas. It is one of those short, insignificant looking routes on the map that actually carries a fair amount of traffic, for South West Scotland anyway, as it provides the main route west for Dalbeattie traffic and is also occasionally called on as a diversion when the A75 is closed.
The route starts on the A711 to the west of Dalbeattie on the western side of the Urr Water. The junction is a signalised T junction where the A711 crosses the river on Craignair Bridge and turns sharp left to become the coast road whilst the A745 turns right, initially running northwards. It climbs, gently at first, across the steep, thickly wooded hillside below the closed Craignair Quarry, although in winter when the trees are bare there are excellent views of Dalbeattie. For those into industrial heritage the road runs beside the former site of the Aerial Ropeway - a unique bucket link to take crushed granite from the quarry to the former railway on the other side of the valley. At the top of the hill the road makes a long hairpin bend curving round to the left to head south, winding across fields through some rather stunning scenery of rolling hills capped with woodland. After passing through a shallow cutting at the summit, the first houses appear ahead, scattered on either side of the road. A pond is passed on the right, and then a crossroads.
About two and a half miles from Dalbeattie the route meets the B727 (the direct route to Kirkcudbright) and curves round to the north west on a new alignment. After all the twists it is a shock to end up looking down a gentle hill and seeing a one-mile straight ahead. Large laybys show the previous winding route. The road is now characterised by long, wide, open bends and decent straights between them. The landscape continues to be one of gently rolling hills, the road winding a little to minimise the gradients. A prominent line of pylons marches across these hills, but there is little other evidence of development. A single farm sits up above the road before it sweeps round to head west again, crossing a small concrete bridge over the Birkland Burn next to a junction. A short distance later, the former railway comes in from the right hand side on a low embankment. For the next mile the road follows the old trackbed, through and along a couple of short straights as a flat, wide, open road.
The railway alignment is left about half a mile from Castle Douglas on a wide bend while the railway continues ahead under an overgrown bridge. The route enters the town, first along Dalbeattie Road, then makes a sharp right kink onto Oakwell Road before continuing to the main roundabout next to the towns supermarket. This roundabout used to be on the A75 but since the bypass has been built the A745 and A713 alignments have been changed. The A713 has been extended east to this roundabout to meet the A745, which has in turn been extended further to the east. The route therefore turns right and continues through the exclusive residential street of Ernespie Road, lined on the left with large detached properties in large gardens, some of which are expensive hotels. All enjoy views out across the open fields to the south. At the end of the straight, the road curves through trees to a roundabout for a medical centre and new housing development.
Beyond the roundabout, the road opens and continues north east towards the bypass. It passes an old filling station, closed since the rerouting of the A75, and curves gently past the last houses and out into the fields beyond. A low hill on the right drops away to reveal a wide vista back towards Dalbeattie, although the town itself is hidden in the folds of the landscape. The A745 finally comes to an end at the Allanton Roundabout at the northern end of the Castle Douglas bypass.
The A745 did not exist in 1922 but came into existence later in the 1920s, probably as early as 1924, when it took over the former route of the B727. When originally reclassified, the route started on the A711 at Craignair Bridge and ran north west to end on the A75 in Castle Douglas. A few years later, between 1927 and 1932, the route was extended south east via a short multiplex with the A711, along the original line of the B793 to meet the A710 at Caulkerbush. This situation remained until the early 1970s when the eastern half was downgraded, and regained the B793 number.
The route of the A745 from at least 1932 - 1972 therefore followed the current B793 from Caulkerbush then the unclassified Moss Road into Dalbeattie. It then multiplexed with the A710 on Dalbeattie High Street (the A710 has since been moved to the western bypass of Dalbeattie). At the top of the High Street (junction with A711) it entered a triple multiplex for a hundred yards with the A711/A710. The A710 then departed up Maxwell Street to Haugh of Urr and an eventual joining with the A75 (this has been partially declassified and partially reclassified to the B794). The A745 then multiplexed with the current A711 as far as Craignair Bridge where the current split occurs on its western side.
At the other end, as stated above, the route originally ended on the A75 in Castle Douglas town centre. When the bypass opened in 1988, the A745 was extended north east along the pre-bypass route of the A75, the A713 and B736 also being extended along the remainder of the former A75 route through the town.
Over the years, the A745 has seen some significant improvements. The initial run north from Craignair Bridge is still a narrow road through the trees, but the bend around the end of the hill has been widened by shaving the hillside back in the late 90s or early 2000s. Vegetation has once more covered the once bare slopes above the road. From here to the junction with the B727, there are a couple of wide verges on bends indicating a minor realignment, but the junction itself has been rebuilt, removing what was once a crossroads where the minor road still meets the B727, with the A745 originally having approached through the yard, then turned right at the crossroads, and run past the house and workshops. The road was realigned in the late 1950s, the new layout first appearing on the 1961 OS One Inch map. The long straight that follows appears to have been realigned in two phases. The section past Little Knox Farm is also shown in 1961, but the further end of the straight post dates the 1968 1:10,000 sheet. In both cases the old line can be traced to the north east of the road, past the farm and then through the undergrowth, with a layby on the opposite side between them
A little further north, the road now follows the old railway alignment for about a mile. Again, the 1968 OS 1:10,000 sheet still shows the old line, with the railway still marked. Before reaching the old trackbed, there are a couple of corners with wide verges suggesting minor realignments, and the bridge over the Birkland Burn is new. The old road then forks right to pass under the old railway embankment, and is clearly visible, although cut off by a fence and gated at the junction with the minor road beyond. As the minor road curves round to join the A745, the old road can be seen continuing ahead, again gated, and meanders along to the north of the modern line for some distance before also turning to meet the new road. The next section of the old road is overgrown as it runs through a small wood and then curves around to cross over the old railway line, before resuming the current line into Castle Douglas. Heading out of town on the former A75 alignment, there is a shallow cutting on the right hand side which shows where a couple of slight bends have been removed.