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B729

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B729
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (14)
From:  Holywood (NX949796)
To:  Carsphairn (NX567931)
Distance:  28.8 miles (46.3 km)
Meets:  A76, A702, B7000, A713
Old route now:  A702
Highway Authorities

Dumfries and Galloway

Traditional Counties

Dumfriesshire • Kirkcudbrightshire

Route outline (key)
B729 Holywood - Kirkland
(A702) Kirkland - Moniaive
B729 Moniaive - Carsphairn

The B729 is a long B-road which passes through some spectacular landscapes in southern Scotland.

Route

Holywood - Kirkland

Fork Junction at Nether Gribton

The route starts on the A76 at a T junction at Holywood, a short distance to the north of Dumfries, and briefly heads south west, before curving to the west. This first section was originally unclassified, but upgraded as part of the Newbridge bypass on the A76. It follows the river upstream for a little while, before turning to the north west at Nether Gribton and crossing the old Moniavie branch line. It soon starts climbing up into the hills past a scattering of farms and houses. The route becomes twistier after a crossroads as it works its way into the narrow valley of the Glengaber Burn, where it runs along the hillside above the burn, just below the point where the gradient noticeably steepens. This means that there is occasionally a short cutting on the uphill side of the road to alleviate the steepest parts of the slope. The climb levels off and provides a long summit section at around 140m which passes above the watershed into the upper valley of the Laggan Burn. Here the route starts a gentle descent into Dunscore.

The B729 follows the main street through the small village, meeting a minor road at a mini roundabout at the war memorial near the centre. It forks right and then has a short, sharp drop down into the valley of the Cairn Water, which is a tributary of the Cluden Water which was followed at the start of the route. The wide valley floor is reasonably flat at first, allowing some longer, tree lined straights to stretch ahead as the route continues north west. As the route starts climbing again, it becomes more sinuous, and passes through Dardarroch Wood to reach the tiny, scattered village of Wallaceton. Another series of gently undulating straights follow, taking the route across fields between dry stone walls. A prominent house on the left marks the point where road and river almost meet, although the water is hidden by trees on the banks. Soon after the route climbs away a little and skirts the grounds of Maxwelton House. Half a mile further on, it reaches Kirkland and a realigned T-junction on the A702. It turns left here and multiplexes along the A-road for over two miles into Moniaive. Originally, however, the other road was the B730 and so it was the B729 that was dominant.

Moniavie - Carsphairn

TOTSO with A712 in Moniaive

In Moniaive the A702 bends to the left to cross the Dalwhat Water on Moniaive Bridge before narrowing for a short distance as it works its way along the pretty High Street. As it widens, the original priorities can be seen as the A702 TOTSOs left and the B729 continues ahead, with the old market cross standing out in the road awaiting unwary drivers! Ahead stands a prominent clock tower, looking down on the largely single storey cottages which line the roadside. The B729 is still heading west as it follows Ayr Street out of town, now following the Craigdarroch Water upstream. For a couple of miles it runs along the base of the steep slopes, just above the meandering river, before climbing into woodland at Craigdarroch. The river is never that far away, however, and can be glimpsed at the bottom of the field when the road emerges from the trees again. Still climbing steadily, the river is then crossed at Knockaughlie Bridge.

The road is now snaking westwards up the hillside above the tributary Storanshalloch Burn. A seemingly never ending series of left-right bends carries the road up into woodland and forestry, with the wee burn never far away below the road. Some of the lower slopes have been felled and replanted, and in places the road follows a wide grassy swathe through the trees, but for much of the climb it seems to be hemmed in between greenery. The burn is crossed, but still the road climbs, up to a summit of over 310m. Just before the final top, however, the road emerges from the forestry and a minor road forks left, climbing even higher before dipping down into The Glenkens. There is a cattlegrid at the junction, and the B729 loses its centre line here, but remains wide enough for two cars to pass at first. From the summit, a vast panorama of distant hills begins to open out ahead, drawing the driver on as the road starts a snaking descent with passing places on most of the bends.

Smittons Forest

The road heads west across open moorland for a couple of miles, dipping down to cross the shallow valley of the Carroch Lane, before passing between two low hills. More blocks of forestry sit on the hillsides to either side as the route turns and starts to drop into the headwaters of the Water of Ken. A series of small stream are crossed as it makes its way down to the main river. This section of road was badly damaged in 2020 by heavy traffic for a windfarm to the north not following the approved access route. This resulted in a long stretch of the road having to be rebuilt, so it is now wider with longer passing places than it used to have. The Southern Upland Way briefly follows the road, before it crosses a low rise and dips down to Smittons Bridge over the Water of Ken. On the far side of the bridge, a right turn heads north past the windfarm, while the B729 turns left to enter another forest. After winding through the trees for a mile or so, the road widens and meets the B7000 as it sweeps round to head west once more.

The route now drops through the trees to meet the shore of Kendoon Loch, a reservoir, and follows it north west. a left turn leads across the loch on the substantial Kendoon Bridge, a single track four span truss structure. As the B729 continues north, the loch narrows into a river, the Water of Deugh, which is followed for the remainder of the route. The road doesn't deviate far from the river bank, even when it passes through a block of trees, and after a couple of miles the road reaches a T-junction opposite a war memorial. This is the original end of the route on the A713. However, that road has been straightened leaving this loop behind; the B729 therefore splits and runs in both directions to end on the current route of the A713 just north of Liggat Bridge.

History

The route originally started further south on the northern side of the New Bridge and was moved to Holywood when the A76 was rerouted to bypass Newbridge and cross the river slightly further east. The junction with the A713 has also been changed, as noted above. Otherwise, the route still essentially follows the same alignment throughout. There are perhaps a handful of places where it has been slightly realigned, mainly at junctions, and numerous stretches have been widened, but there is little surviving evidence of the old road anywhere other than under the current alignment.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: New Bridge - Moniaive - Carsphairn





B729
Crossings
Related Pictures
View gallery (14)
A702 junction,Kirkland - Geograph - 556890.jpgSmittons Bridge - Geograph - 553963.jpg20130610-180917 - B729.JPGSmittons-br.jpgB729-smittons-br.jpg
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B720 • B721 • B722 • B723 • B724 • B725 • B726 • B727 • B728 • B729 • B730 • B731 • B732 • B733 • B734 • B735 • B736 • B737 • B738 • B739
B740 • B741 • B742 • B743 • B744 • B745 • B746 • B747 • B748 • B749 • B750 • B751 • B752 • B753 • B754 • B755 • B756 • B757 • B758 • B759
B760 • B761 • B762 • B763 • B764 • B765 • B766 • B767 • B768 • B769 • B770 • B771 • B772 • B773 • B774 • B775 • B776 • B777 • B778 • B779
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Earlier versions: B705 • B706 • B707 • B708 • B713(E) • B713(W) • B714 • B715 • B716 • B724 • B727 • B730 • B734
B735 • B736 • B739 (S) • B739 (N) • B743 • B744 • B746 • B752 • B761 • B762 • B763 • B765 • B773 • B783 • B785 • B789 • B791 • B795
Anomalous numbers: B77

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