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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (6)
From:  Crawick (NS773107)
To:  Thirstone (NS891260)
Distance:  13.7 miles (22 km)
Meets:  A76, B7078
Highway Authorities

Dumfries and Galloway • South Lanarkshire

Traditional Counties

Dumfriesshire • Lanarkshire

Route outline (key)
B740 Crawick - Thirstone

The B740 crosses the Crawick Pass through the Lowther Hills in southern Scotland.


Looking south west near Carco in the lower part of the pass

The Lowther Hills offer some of the best roads in Southern Scotland, twisting and turning up the winding valleys that cut deep into the hills. They are not just good routes for scenery but also for driver enjoyment. The B740 is the most northerly of this group, and while it doesn't climb as high as the B797 to the south, it is still a fine route. It starts rather tamely, however, on the A76 to the north of Sanquhar, at traffic lights which also serve to control traffic crossing the adjacent Crawick New Bridge where the A76 crosses the Crawick Water. The B740 heads upstream through the small settlement of Crawick on the west bank of the river and soon passes under the Carlisle to Kilmarnock railway line. Off to the right, the impressive viaduct carrying the railway over the river can be seen, while off to the left lies the Crawick Multiverse landscape art installation. The road steadily gains height as it winds northwards, climbing out of the valley bottom onto the gentler slopes above. Patches of woodland lie between the fields, and a couple of farms are passed

As the valley floor widens out, the road drops back down towards the river bank, winding down a narrow ledge cut into a steep wooded slope. The centre line is lost in a few places along here, as the road becomes quite narrow in places. Gaps in the trees reveal a very different landscape, with the hills closing in to either side, and when the road emerges from the trees, it is winding along the edge of the slope, with a wide flat valley floor to the right and steep wooded slopes rising up above. The river meanders back and forth across the valley, and there are a scattering of houses and farms along the road as it winds north eastwards. The gradient, however, is gentle, and there is often good visibility across the fields on the insides of the long sweeping bends. As the road continues the terrain becomes bleaker and the valley narrower, with the river increasingly flowing just a few metres from the edge of the road.

The views up some of the tributary valleys are tantalising glimpses of rugged slopes tumbling down in a sharp V shape. Eventually a tributary, the Spango Water, is crossed at Spango Bridge, with the main flow of the Crawick also coming in from what is effectively a side valley, leaving the B740 to climb ahead alongside the Whitecleuch Burn. The valley now begins to peter out and soon the road reaches the open moorland around the watershed. A snaking series of S bends, much tighter than the long sweeps lower down the valley, take the road across the valley to its eastern side. They also lift the road slightly with large grazing fields spreading out to the left, and rough moorland rising gently up the slopes of White Hill to the right. The summit actually comes at the head of the next valley, the route grazing the 290m contour before dipping down towards the Duneaton Water .


The route soon drops to the banks of the Duneaton Water, and crosses it to follow the western bank downstream. The river meanders back and forth, close to the road for about half a mile before the road climbs a little through a crossroads with a series of snaking bends. After skirting the lower slopes of Mountherick Hill, it enters the tiny and remote village of Crawfordjohn. A right turn here continues to follow the meandering river downstream, but the B740 takes a shorter route to the B7078 (former A74). It therefore turns hard left at the junction and climbs through the village as it turns away from the river valley. After dipping over a small burn, it goes over the top of a hill, actually reaching a higher altitude than in the pass earlier, at around 305m. From this summit it drops steeply down to cross the Black Burn, before climbing once more.

The route ends a few hundred yards further on, at a T-junction on the B7078. This route used to be the dual-carriageway A74; when it was downgraded following the construction of the parallel M74 it was also singled. The former northbound carriageway, which is crossed to reach the T-junction, is still partly in existence at this point as a parallel cycle path.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Junction with A76 near Sanquhar - Standmuir

Related Pictures
View gallery (6)
Entering Crawfordjohn from the southwest - Geograph - 1305912.jpgDuneaton Water and B740 road - Geograph - 994383.jpgCarco Back Wood - Geograph - 870940.jpgOriginal A74 near Crawfordjohn B740 - Coppermine - 18612.JPGB740 just south of the Crawick rail bridge - Geograph - 1324062.jpg
B700 – B799
B700 • B701 • B702 • B703 • B704 • B705 • B706 • B707 • B708 • B709 • B710 • B711 • B712 • B713 • B714 • B715 • B716 • B717 • B718 • B719
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
B780 • B781 • B782 • B783 • B784 • B785 • B786 • B787 • B788 • B789 • B790 • B791 • B792 • B793 • B794 • B795 • B796 • B797 • B798 • B799
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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