|From:||Pitreavie, Rosyth (NT111846)|
|Distance:||28.8 miles (46.3 km)|
|Meets:||A823(M), B980, B916, B9156, A907, B9155, B915, B914, A977, A91, B934, A9, A822|
|Old route now:||B980, A977|
|Route outline (key)|
The A823 is a lengthy route which crosses Fife and the small counties of Kinross and Clackmannan, and ends in Perthshire, just a few miles north of the A9. Indeed, most of the route is in Zone 9, making it a real rarity in Scotland. Along the way the route passes through some of the most stunning landscapes in the area as it crosses the Ochil Hills through the picturesque Glen Devon.
Rosyth - Muckhart
The A823 begins at the terminus of the very short A823(M) link from the M90. The junction is a roundabout offering access to Rosyth via the B980, Carnegie Campus and Dunfermline on the A823 itself. Before the motorways and the Forth Road Bridge were built, it began on the A90 (now B981) on the edge of North Queensferry, with this former section now mostly the B980.
The road starts by heading north west into Dunfermline on a dual carriageway passing by various business parks and roundabouts along the way, including a sharp right turn at Bothwell Gardens Roundabout underneath the Bothwell Street Railway Viaduct. The next section is a new-build town-centre relief road cutting across Sinclair Gardens to meet the A907 at Sinclair Gardens Roundabout. The two routes then multiplex (the first of many) westwards along the dualled Carnegie Street signed towards Stirling. Not long after the multiplex we turn right at a new traffic-signal-controlled junction, built to accommodate the new Tesco Store. Pilmuir Street heads almost due north and before long we have left Dunfermline altogether. The remainder of our journey is on fairly quiet and scenic rural roads.
After passing a junction with the B915, we turn sharply westwards with a couple of short straights before the road swings north once more. After a couple more short straights, we come to a cross roads with the B914 signposted to Saline westwards and Kelty to the east. In the early 2000s the priority at this junction was changed in favour of the B914, understandable given the layout of the approaches to the junction. Instead of erecting new signs, the old ones were patched over, resulting in the rather tatty effort pictured here. Once through the junction our road sweeps round a hill and climbs the contours into forestry. Within a mile or so we pass Knockhill racing circuit which can result in fairly sizeable queues on this section on major racedays (generally 2-3 times a year). A long straight past the circuit dips over the Nettly Burn, and then follows the contours of the hill.
A fairly winding section is tackled next, before another multiplex, this time with the A977 which is met at a simple give way T-junction in the tiny village of Powmill. Just under a mile to the north, the two routes split again with the A823 turning left at an improved junction - there is a turning lane! While the A977 swings eastwards to avoid the River Devon, the A823 continues north, dipping down to Rumbling Bridge. Despite crossing the river at right angles, much of the rest of the route follows the same river northwards, but first we have to cross the low hills to the Muckhart Crossroads at Yetts O'Muckhart where yet again we find a multiplex, this time with the primary A91. To be honest it's more of an elongated roundabout than a true multiplex, as historically the two roads crossed and then ran parallel briefly.
Muckhart - Westerton
Soon after leaving Muckhart, the B934 forks right and then we start climbing over the Ochil Hills. The road wiggles through fields and copses, before reaching a much straighter, improved alignment along the side of the Castlehill Reservoir. This is one of a series of reservoirs in Glen Devon, used to provide fresh water to the surrounding area. At the north end of the reservoir, the road narrows again, diving into trees before swinging sharp right-left across the Blacklinn Bridge. This takes it over the River Devon and into the strung-out village of Glendevon. The historic droving route between Dollar and Auchterarder crosses the A823 here, although no more than a footpath any more.
The road winds north and then west through the narrow glen, never far from the river, and with some stunning views to take in, not least into upper Glen Devon as the road finally leaves the river and turns north over the pass into upper Glen Eagles. The descent of Glen Eagles is perhaps even more enjoyable, although over far too quickly. The road follows a narrow, winding ledge cut into the hillside above the valley floor, passing through some length woodland stretches before the contours finally ease and we emerge at the recently upgraded junction with the A9 west of Auchterarder.
However, the A823 simply carries on over a bridge and passes by Auchterarder and the Gleneagles Hotel and many golfers wandering about. On leaving the area we approach only the second roundabout on the route since Dunfermline although most maps just acknowledge it as a crossroads. It is in fact a mini roundabout at the end of the former (possibly still a spur) A824 from Auchterarder. We carry straight on regardless and shortly afterwards meet the end of our road at a T-junction with the A822 (both ways end on the A9) around 5 or so miles from Crieff where the signs have been pointing since we entered Dunfermline.