|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||35.7 miles (57.5 km)|
|Meets:||A83, A886, A880, A885, A885, unclassified|
|Route outline (key)|
The A815 is approximately 40 miles long and forms a connection between the A83 trunk road and the tip of the Cowal Peninsula; however it carries very little through traffic to and from the central belt of Scotland, as the Clyde ferries carry the bulk of traffic across the river, cutting journey times substantially, and making commuting from the Clyde coastal resorts to Glasgow and its satellite towns a possibility for many. The A815 can easily be considered a road of two halves, its relatively short length notwithstanding, as the sections to the north and south of its TOTSO at Ardnadam are very different in character.
Cairndow - Ardnadam
At the northern end, the A815 commences at the Dunoon Road End T-junction with the A83 in Glen Kinglas, close to the village of Cairndow. Heading south, it almost immediately crosses Kinglas Water and bends sharply to the west shadowing the course of the nearby A83 for a short while before sweeping south-westwards across a long straight through forestry land. It passes through a T-junction with the single-track B839 Hell's Glen Road and the Tinkers' Heart, a Scottish travellers' monument comprising 26 quartz pebbles, before skirting along the eastern shores of Loch Fyne.
The early stages of the A815 are mostly fast and forested, except where it passes through the villages of St Catherines and Creggans, before it turns inland at a T-junction with the A886 in Strachur. Now heading south-east, it crosses the River Cur and passes between the villages of Glenbranter and Invernoaden to pass along the eastern shore of Loch Eck. After passing through Whistlefield and Coylet, the road leaves the loch behind to follow the course of the River Eachaig. It passes Benmore Botanic Gardens and the Puck's Glen ravine and waterfalls before meeting the A880 at Ardbeg, more often referred to as Kilmun Turn.
The road almost doubles back on itself as it crosses the River Eachaig, before turning south and also crossing the Little Eachaig River. It straightens out again, now bound south-east once more, before entering the rather strung-out settlement of Sandbank on the western shores of the Holy Loch. In the centre of Sandbank the road turns north-east briefly at a 90-degree TOTSO with the A885. Almost immediately, it meets the very edge of the loch and turns resumes its south-easterly course towards Ardnadam. From here it forms the coastal route to Dunoon, while the A885 provides the more direct route into the centre of the resort.
Ardnadam - Toward
After Ardnadam, the character of the A815 is much changed from its earlier forested surroundings, as it hugs the coast for most of the remainder of its itinerary. The road rounds Lazzaretto Point before entering Hunter's Quay, where the small ferry terminal offers the prospect of fast and frequent crossings to McInroy's Point on the south bank of the River Clyde near Gourock. From here it passes through Kirn along the appropriately named Marine Parade, and then into Dunoon where it meets the other end of the A885 at a mini roundabout with a tiny centre circle.
Heading south from the centre of Dunoon, it is clear that the town grew to prominence as a Victorian coastal resort, thanks to the steamers bringing it within easy each of many thousands of Victorian holiday-makers travelling from Glasgow and the industrial towns of Lanarkshire. The A815 passes the ancient remains of Dunoon Castle, the very obviously Victorian Castle House Museum, and Dunoon Victorian Pier before reaching its second ferry terminal, from which passenger ferries continue to make frequent crossings to Gourock.
The road performs a U-turn at the headland between the Rock Café and the University of the Highlands and Islands' Argyll College, before continuing southwards along the western shores of the Firth of Clyde. It passes through Bullwood, Ardhallow (with its early twentieth-century coastal battery), Innellan (with its golf course), and Newton Park, before passing its first junction for the village of Toward and Toward Point Lighthouse. Here the road turns away from the water and heads westward for almost half a mile before reaching its current and rather inconspicuous terminus at the second junction for the village of Toward.
The carriageway continues west from this point, but is unclassified. In 1922, the original ending of A815 was at the first of the two junctions towards Toward, but it was soon extended westwards along the increasingly narrow unclassified road to end abruptly on the shoreline at Port Lamont. The classified route appears to have been cut back again to the second of the Toward junctions in the 1970s, although it is not clear why.