|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||8 miles (12.9 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The A8003 is a fairly new road, built in the 1960s to connect the previously remote communities of Tighnabruaich and Kames to the rest of civilisation more readily than the old road (now the B8000) did around Cowal's West Coast.
We start on the A886 midway between the head of Loch Riddon and the tiny settlement of Clachan of Glendaruel. The road is mainly single-track as we cross the River Ruel and start our journey through the forest to Ormidale. This section of the road existed before, as a quiet road connecting the scattered properties along the coast. We reach Loch Riddon at Lochead, and follow its shore for a while, before forking right at a junction and starting the climb through the forest. This is now the new section of road, and it is obviously such as it is a good, wide S2 route with sweeping curves in place of the narrow, single-track road with sharp bends that we are leaving behind.
This new road is plentifully supplied with laybys and a couple of picnic site viewpoints. Unfortunately, the trees have grown a little too tall and none seem to offer anything other than some conifer trunks to look at. After several miles, the road drops back to single-track, but this probably reflects the difficult terrain rather than an older road. Then, just after the road widens again, we round a bend, and a long layby on the left is no longer impeded by trees and opens up to a stunning vista across the Kyles of Bute to the Island, as well as Arran and Kintyre in the distance. This is a layby worth stopping in!
It is now just a mile at most as we drop round the back of Tighnabruaich before we reach the coast in the heart of the village. The road ends at a T-junction with the B8000, which continues east to the village pier, or west around the coast of Cowal to meet the A886 many miles to the north at Newton Bay.