|Location Map ( geo)
|St John's Town of Dalry (NX614820)
|Tongland Bridge (NX691534)
|New Galloway, Laurieston
|20.5 miles (33 km)
|A713, A712, B795, A75, A711
|Route outline (key)
The A762 is a north-south route in Kirkcudbrightshire.
New Galloway - Laurieston
The route begins a little to the northwest of St John's Town of Dalry, at the point where the A713 bears left to cross the Water of Ken on Allangibbon Bridge to reach the town. The A762 turns off at the corner just before the bridge to remain on the west bank of the river. While the junction is spacious, the road soon reduces to a narrow, windy country lane, curving past a power station before turning away from the river which meanders off to the east. A couple of long, bumpy straights follow as the road crosses the fields and converges with the meandering river bank once more. This section is liable to flooding at times. The Coom Burn is crossed on the narrow Coom Bridge, and soon after the outflow from another power station is crossed, both flowing east into the Water of Ken. A minor road then comes in from the right as the A762 turns hard left, and begins a long gentle climb over the hills. Although never more than a mile from the riverbank, it reaches a summit of 108m just past Fintloch Farm, the highest point of the whole route.
As it drops down the hill, it soon reaches the edge of New Galloway, curving past the parish church which sits high on the hillside above the village. It then winds down through woodland to find the first houses on Kirk Road. At the bottom, the A762 meets the A712 at a sort of staggered crossroads. Signage, such as it is, suggests that the A762 has priority on the short multiplex which exists between the two parts of the junction, so the A762 first TOTSOs right, before keeping priority as the A712 turns off to the right a few yards later. Although it may sound complicated, there is so little traffic that the junction doesn't cause any problems. The route then heads south along Kenbridge Road and High Street, forming the villages Main Street, which is lined with pretty, often brightly painted, stone houses stood at the back of narrow pavements. The street itself is also narrow, and with a row of parked cars all along one side, it can be a bit of a juggle to pass oncoming traffic in the few gaps left between cars. There is a village car park, however, for those people wishing to explore this pleasant place.
In the middle of the village, the A762 crosses the Old Edinburgh Road, although never a classified route at this point, it was once the main road between Edinburgh and Galloway, making New Galloway an important staging point. The route then climbs steadily out of the village, and through woodland before dropping back down to Kenmure. Here, the old Kenmure Castle stands ruined on a Motte between the road and the river. A small burn is crossed at Burnfoot Bridge, and then as the river widens out into Loch Ken, the A762 is squeezed into the strip of land between the loch and the wooded hill to the right. There are some longer straights at first, but the road is still narrow and bumpy, with funny little kinks waiting to catch out distracted drivers. For nearly two miles, the road runs along the wooded shore, passing a scattering of laybys and parking areas. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the view across the loch to the low hills beyond.
Presently, however, the lochside curves off to the east, whilst the A762 continues ahead to climb up into the woods. Just after leaving the waters edge, a forest road climbs up to the right to a small car park, with paths to some stunning viewpoints. A little further on, as the road emerges from the trees, a forest drive turns off to the right and crosses the hills to meet the A712 at Clatteringshaws Loch. Now crossing rough moorland fields, the A762 continues south, past the few houses at Mossdale before dropping down to cross the Black Water of Dee at Hensol Bridge. After a long sweeping double bend, the drops down to run alongside Woodhall Loch (on the right this time), with a couple of parking areas in the trees on the shore. The thickly forested Kenick Hill rises up on the far side, but there are still some pleasant views. A little further south lies the tiny village of Laurieston where the B795 (towards Castle Douglas) turns off to the left, and a minor road turns right heading for Gatehouse of Fleet.
Laurieston - Tongland Bridge
Laurieston is quickly passed and a couple of miles of surprisingly flat land follow as the road crosses Beoch Moor. The road itself is rarely straight however, and seems to find a number of dips and hollows as it crosses the moor. More bends follow as it winds down the small valley of the Tarff Water, between a couple of hills. There are a couple of points where the road is squeezed up on the river bank, and again flooding is possible in places on this section. The steep, wooded hillside on the left finally peels back and the road opens out as it stretches across the fields. This section is not exactly wide, but after so many miles of narrow, undulating, twisty tarmac, it feels like a much better road. It is short lived, however, as it soon reaches Ringford. A line of houses sit back behind a service road - hardly needed with the low traffic volumes on the main road, and then the route has to TOTSO right at a T-junction. This is the original line of the A75 but now that the village is bypassed the road to the left is a dead end, terminating in a turning head alongside the bypass.
Ringford is not a big village, and after passing between a couple of rows of whitewashed houses, the route curves round to the left and comes to a temporary end on the A75 at another T-junction. The two routes then multiplex south, to the right, for a mile or so to the equally tiny village of Tarff. The village sits astride the Tarff Water, and has also been bypassed, meaning that the A762 turns left at a new junction on the bypass to regain its number. Still heading south, the route follows the meandering river for another couple of miles. The road is generally wider than before, but not by much as it snakes this way and that across the fields. Even the longer straight past Underwood Farm has just enough curvature and undulations to make overtaking tricky. After passing a minor road which crosses the Low Bridge of Tarff to head west to Twynholm on the A75, the road reaches the estuary of the River Dee. Here, it bears round to the left, often just a few metres from the shore.
A sharper left turn follows, with trees now along the roadside, but a layby and shore path provide opportunities to view the vast tidal expanse of the River Dee as it stretches south round meanders to Kirkcudbright. The road ends at another T-junction on a sharp bend, this time on the A711 adjacent to the Tongland Bridge over the Dee. Just as the junction at Allangibbon Bridge was all those miles to the north, the junction is a spacious one with a traffic island in the centre, but there is rarely enough traffic to cause any hold ups.
The two sections of the A762 were unclassified when the UK's roads were first numbered in 1922. They were soon upgraded, however, initially being numbered as the B795, probably as early as 1924. A few years later the route was further upgraded, and had become the A762 by 1932. The route has only seen minor changes since then, however, apart from at either end of the A75 Multiplex. Numerous small laybys and parking areas can be found along the route, many of which are noted above, and the majority of them mark places where the road has been realigned a little to ease a bend or just straighten the route a little. The narrow, twisty nature of most of the road shows, however, that these improvements are mostly very localised, and in a couple of places may have even been done to provide a lochside parking area as much as any desire to improve the road.
At either end of the multiplex the A762 has seen more substantial changes. At Ringford, the route used to stop at the T junction in the village, but was extended a short distance along the former A75 line when the bypass opened. At Tarff it is more complicated. The A762 used to turn off the A75 immediately before the High Bridge of Tarff, and curve round below the church. This is now signed as a private road, which serves a couple of properties before coming to an end at the top of the shallow cutting through which the bypass curves. On the far side, the old road alignment lies to the east of the current line and now seems to be used as a storage yard for the farmer or a haulage contractor.