The A771 Tarbet Street, Gourock, is a very short road. At barely a ¼ mile, it isn't Britain's shortest A-road but it is certainly one of the shortest.
It starts at a simple T junction on the A770 Cardwell Road just before the railway bridge and tight right-hander. Although the road number isn't on the signs the road is signposted by the standard ferry sign, albeit with the car and lorry symbols now badly patched out as the ferries here are normally only for passengers. Tarbet Street drops down to the chore of Gourock Bay and swings round to the left to follow the coast to the car parks for the Gourock to Dunoon Ferry. The A771 ends at a mini roundabout which is the end of the public road. Ahead lies the ferry terminal, which is still occasionally used by Calmac as a port of refuge for their Arran and Bute services, but is normally only home to the passenger services to Dunoon and Kilcreggan.
Gourock c1960, before the A771
The road itself is relatively new. The short straight section of Tarbet Street leading down to the shore is old, but the road along the shore seems to postdate 1972, and appears to have been built on re-claimed land as part of a pier improvement scheme. The 1960s 1:25,000 OS sheet (left) shows a road running around Gourock Station to the north along the old pier; this has now been demolished and the remains of the road are now used as a footpath to the ferry terminal. When the road was first opened it was numbered as the A825. However, when the A78 was rerouted to go though the Spango Valley in 1985, the end of the A8 was cut back to Greenock and this short route was renumbered as the A771 as the zone boundary moved to the Clyde.
In other zones, the A771 would perhaps not be an A road at all, or at least get an Axxxx number as all Axxx numbers are used up. Its not the case in Zone 7: this road just shows how few important routes there are in South West Scotland.