|Distance:||40 miles (64.4 km)|
|Meets:||A8, A77, A804, M8, A739, A741, A8014, A82, A812, A818, A817, A83|
|Old route now:||B872|
|Route outline (key)|
It is difficult to imagine a route which can change so much in under 40 miles, from a high speed inner city dual-carriageway to a country lane sauntering up the side of a loch. That's the A814. Then again, the A82 does the same a few miles away!
Section 1: Glasgow - Clydebank
The eastern end of the road is Clyde Street, which starts at a light-controlled junction with the westbound leg of the A8 (junction of Clyde Street, Crown Street, and Saltmarket), less than half a mile from Glasgow Cross.
The road heads west along the north bank of the River Clyde as a one-way street before becoming two-way after crossing the eastbound leg of the A8, becoming the Broomielaw. Now it continues under the main rail tracks heading into Glasgow Central station. In years past Broomielaw was the departure point for holiday makers heading to the Clyde coastal resorts on the many steamboats that plied these busy routes.
At this point the road takes two different routings:
The southern routing becomes Anderston Quay as it passes beneath the Kingston Bridge (which, high above, carries the M8 motorway across the river), then becoming Lancefield Quay to a mini-roundabout junction with Finnieston Street where it heads north to join the northern routing at a grade-separated junction on the Clydeside Expressway. This mini roundabout is where the new Clyde Arc joins.
The northern routing turns north from the Broomielaw as James Watt Street before turning east as Argyle Street to Anderston Cross. At this point slip roads to and from the M8 Anderston Interchange meet the road. Prior to the building of the M8 this was a vibrant residential area which was obliterated to make way for the motorway; all that now remains is the suburban low-level railway line and its station. Continuing west, first as Stobcross Street, then as the Clydeside Expressway, the southern routing is met at a grade-separated junction close to the S.E.C.C. (Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre).
The route continues west as the Clydeside Expressway which was opened in 27th April 1973. Its first junction used to be a large roundabout where it met Ferry Road. However, there is now a complex new junction set near here, serving an area of riverside development, and a new parallel bridge across the River Kelvin, linking up to the next junction at Hayburn Stree, which is a grade-separated junction with the B808 for the Partick district. A short distance further on we cross over a roundabout junction with the much older Dumbarton Road and immediately after this rise up over the A739 at a complicated grade-separated junction providing access to the south and the Clyde Tunnel or the north and Anniesland Cross. Intriguingly, only one lane is provided in each direction for traffic staying on the A814, and the two flyovers are very separate structures!
The road then drops back to street level as Victoria Park Drive passing Victoria Park with its fossilised trees and the conservation area of Whiteinch. At a roundabout the road meets and becomes Dumbarton Road, having largely by-passed that road to this point. It continues west through the districts of Scotstoun, Scotstoun West, and Yoker where it passes the northern end of the A741 down to the (pedestrian only) Yoker Ferry.
Crossing into the town of Clydebank as Glasgow Road and continuing west it passes ship yards and Clydebank Town Hall before becoming Dumbarton Road once more and passing through the districts of Dalmuir and Dalmuir West, where the Terminus Store marks the one time western end of the Glasgow Corporation Tramways system.
Section 2: Clydebank - Arrochar
Becoming more rural in nature the road crosses under the A898 Erskine Bridge, after which a road goes off to the right, numbered (depending on which map you look at) as the A878 or a spur of the A814 - either way it doesn't actually link to the A898 but to the A82. The A814 mainline continues ahead through the village of Old Kilpatrick, briefly swinging north to a parallel course with the A82 and meeting it at a roundabout junction (Dunglass) after running through the village of Bowling. The two roads multiplex for a mile through Milton before diverging close to the Dumbuck Quarry, the A814 heading west through Dumbuck, and the eastern suburbs of Dumbarton as Glasgow Road, before by-passing the Town Centre and Crossing the River Leven.
At Dalreoch Station the A812 joins from the north, and the A814 continues west through Westcliff and Castlehill. Leaving Dumbarton as Cardross Road it runs through the village of Cardross and open countryside beside the River Clyde with views over to Port Glasgow, Greenock, and Gourock. The district of Craigendoran is next, followed immediately by the larger town of Helensburgh, first as Clyde Street, then as West Clyde Street, past the small Helensburgh Ferry Terminal where passenger ferries depart for Kilcreggan and Gourock.
Following the Gare Loch the road heads north west through the villages of Rhu and Shandon, and past the Faslane naval base before completely by-passing Garelochhead. This bypass is part of the same road improvements as the A817, a Cold War military road built in the 1980s connecting the Clyde Submarine bases with the trunk A82 at Loch Lomondside. The old route through Garelochhead (still signed as the A814 at either end) is the B872; signs on the bypass give the bypass's number as "(A814)". At the northern end of the bypass, the final piece of the military road network leads across the hills to Coulport at the end of the B833. This road is not classified, as it is still technically a military road albeit open to the public. The roundabouts where the bypass meets the A817 and the military road to Coulport are built as "hamburgers", with a road through the middle taking the Faslane<->Coulport line blocked by gates.
Now back on worse quality road, the village of Portincaple is soon passed, and the A814 drops down to the shore of Loch Long and remains there for the rest of the journey to Arrochar. However, this is not as pleasant as you may think! The views through the trees can be pretty stunning, and there is the prospect of seeing large ships moored, possibly even at the military pier, but the road won't let you look away for long. It is a real rollercoaster, going up and down, left and right, with some of the bends so quick that it is virtually impossible to stay in your half of the narrow carriageway. Nevertheless, it is fun to drive, and makes an interesting change to the dull monotony of the A82 from Balloch to Tarbet.
Presently the road reaches Tighness where the B838 heads off to the right to cut off the corner to the Tarbet-bound A83. The A814 bears left into Arrochar to meet the A83 itself close to the head of the loch. Turn left for the Argyll peninsulas.
Originally, the A814 started on the A82 in Dumbarton. In 1935, the A82 was diverted onto the relatively new Great Western Road out of Glasgow, so the A814 was extended along the ex-A82 into Glasgow. Apart from a few bypasses and diversions, it still follows the same route. See A82/Great Western Road for more details on the renumberings.
Original Author(s): Fraslet