|Location Map ( geo)
|The west end of the A760 in largs
|13.2 miles (21.2 km)
|A78, B784, B780, B786, A737
|Route outline (key)
The A760 is a very scenic and hilly road, which considering its proximity to Glasgow is something of a surprise.
Largs - Kilbirnie
The route starts on the A78 on a traffic light controlled T-junction in the south side of Largs. The junction is forked with the A760 facing north towards the town centre, but also wide as it sits on a crest about 30m above sea-level with high stone walls on all sides obstructing the visibility. Dalry Road, which leads To Haylie House, is also controlled by this set of traffic lights.From the junction, the route heads east, climbing steadily past Largs Cemetery which sits on the left, and a golf course on the right. The road is known locally as Haylie Brae, and steepens as it heads into the trees. There is a short straight before the first tight bend to the left, by which point the road has already climbed 30m in only 400m from the junction. Another 400m further on, having climbed a further 33m, traffic has to negotiate a hairpin bend to the right. This bend is surrounded by mature deciduous woodland and so offers no views of the receding Largs and the Clyde Coast.
Still climbing quite steeply and steadily, the road passes a picnic area with car park on the left. From here paths lead out to viewpoints on the hillside from where there are spectacular views across Largs with its two prominent spires, and on across the Clyde to Cumbrae, Bute, Arran and on a clear day perhaps the hills of Kintyre can be seen on the horizon. Next on the left is Haylie Reservoir, where trout fishing is available, while views of the Firth of Clyde and its islands can also be glimpsed through breaks in the dry stone wall around Kelburn Estate on the right. Nearing the top of the brae, the road having steadily turned back towards the east, there are patches of woodland below the road and the towns recycling centre incongruously sits on the hillside to the left. The top of the Haylie Brae is reached as the road exits the trees at the 'back gate' to Kelburn Estate. At this point the road has climbed around 190m in the 3.5km since the A78 junction. However, the high point of the road (232m) is 700m further on at Mutton Hall.
From the top of the Haylie Brae, the road is out on open moorland, with a few tumbledown dry stone walls and small clumps of trees here and there. There are a scattering of farms and houses even though this road is on average about 200m above sea level, and also a crematorium. On this sparse bit of the road, however, the main population is sheep. As the road drops down past Blairpark, the Muirhead Reservoir can be seen ahead, but even though the road runs along its northern shore, a thin line of trees means there are only glimpses of the water from the road. Although further from the road, the Camphill Reservoir is not so well screened, and its expansive sheet of water can be easily seen from the road. These reservoirs were built on the Rye Water to supply drinking water to Paisley and district. Muirhead Reservoir which is the smaller of the two was built in 1942, while Camphill is much older, having been built in 1881. Both reservoirs and the adjacent water treatment works are owned and managed by Scottish Water.
Camphill Dam is hidden in the trees, but the road is soon winding down the hill, past a house, then South Camphill farm and the waterworks. The forestry on the hillside above and below the road has been felled and replanted in recent years, providing some fine views in places, but they are likely to be lost once more as the forest regrows. Mid way around a long sweeping left hander, the B784 turns off to the right and leads south-east towards Dalry. There are fine views from around the junction out across the gently rolling landscape of fields and villages which cover much of northern Ayrshire. The road itself continues to descend, winding this way and that in long sweeping bends before finally reaching the outskirts of Kilbirnie, with a golf course just before the first houses. Before the golf course, the old houses of Place and Kilbirnie House sit back from the road in the trees.
Kilbirnie - Lochwinnoch
Kilbirnie is not a big town but the biggest along the route. The A760 enters town on Largs Road, passing a mixture of old and new housing, and then runs down School Wynd to a mini roundabout, where it turns sharp right onto the curving Bridge Street. The next roundabout sits astride the River Garnock and is where the A760 meets only the second classified road on its route, the B780 which follows Main Street through the town centre to reach Dalry. The roundabout is dominated by the Art Deco Radio City building on its northern side. The A760 turns sharp left here, around the Radio City building, onto Bridgend and past a supermarket with the W & J Knox Threadmills, where nets for the British Army are still being made, visible behind. Bridgend becomes Stoneyholm Road as it winds out of the town, climbing a little and passing between detached and semi detached houses and bungalows.
On the outskirts of Kilbirnie, the road crosses above the former Glasgow and South Western Railway 'Lochwinnoch Loop' line, which is now part of the National Cycle Network. A little further on, the road reaches a low summit of 'only' 72m, from where Kilbirnie Loch can be seen down to the right with the electrified railway to Ayr on its far side. A right turn at Kerse is a busy minor road that leads across to Beith, and then the route meanders across an undulating landscape with a scattering of farms set back from the roadside. Barr Loch comes in to view down to the right and towards the far end of the loch, the fairly intact remains of Barr Castle sit on a slight rise in a field alongside the road. Before the castle, the abandoned railway line which now carries a cycle route, has passed over the road at a sharp double bend, taking a straighter line into Lochwinnoch.
The road very gradually turns right to enter the pretty village of Lochwinnoch, which lies to the north of the River Calder, while the A760 remains to the south of the river. It is worth making a stop for a wander around the village, however, with its colourful streets, and interesting churches. The first left turn into the village is the penultimate junction with a classified road, the B786, which leads over the hills to Kilmacolm. The junction is signalised, with buildings around it, but the road quickly regains a rural feel as it runs through trees on the river bank and under the old railway line once more. A minor road turns left across Calder Bridge into the village, and then the road stretches out across the low lying ground at the foot of Barr Loch. The road here is flatter and faster, but also prone to flooding from the River Calder, Barr Loch and the much larger Castle Semple Loch, which is home to many watersports at the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park visitor centre there.
The final stretch of the route then crosses the electrified Ayrshire Line railway line at Lochwinnoch station, which is around a mile from the centre of the village before arriving at the terminal Roadhead Roundabout on the A737. This roundabout was rebuilt in 2007/8 removing an unusual Give Way line on the roundabout itself. From this roundabout, it is only 17 miles to Glasgow city centre and 9 miles to Glasgow Airport, via the A737 and M8.
The A760 was originally numbered as the B785 in 1922, but upgraded to be an A road in the later 1920s. Since then it has been widened along much of its length, and also seen a significant realignment above Camphill Reservoir. A half mile long remnant of the old alignment of the road can be seen at Camphill Reservoir, in the vicinity of Routdaneburn Farm. Gated sections of this stretch of the old road are still in use by Scottish Water and by local farmers. The old road twists and turns as it closely follows the bank on the east side of the reservoir. It crosses the same water channel on low bridges twice in quick succession along its length. Old maps show that this section of the road was still in use in 1972. It runs from Routdaneburn Bridge in the north to the dam wall at the south end of Camphill Reservoir. There are also some shallow cuttings and other evidence of the slight realignment of bends between the top of Haylie Brae and Camphill Reservoir.
Further along the route, a lay-by on a bend at Place Farm just before Kilbirnie and two lay-bys on bends near West Lochridge Farm, just beyond Kilbirnie were possibly created by realignments some time in the past.