|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||36.4 miles (58.6 km)|
|Meets:||A79, A77, A719, B7035, B742, B744, B730, A76, B7037, B713, A70, B745, A71, A723|
|Former Number(s):||A758, A723|
|Route outline (key)|
The B743 is an L-shaped secondary road, mostly in Ayrshire.
The road starts at traffic lights on the A79 in the Woodfield area of Prestwick. It heads east along Heathfield Road, which starts off residential then runs through an industrial estate and goes over a railway line. The Whitletts Roundabout is soon reached, where we cross the A77 Ayr bypass and also meet the A719 from that town's centre.
There's a brief rural section before the road passes Auchencruive House and then continues on to Mossblown. The B742 crosses on the near side of town and we run through the village along Mauchline Road, crossing a railway line before reentering open country. We cross two B-roads radiating from Tarbolton, a short distance to the north, and then go under the railway line again. The road descends into the valley of the River Ayr to go through Failford before climbing out as it follows a straighter route than the river. After another railway underbridge we enter Mauchline and run along one of the main shopping streets to reach the A76 at traffic lights; this is crossed at a staggered crossroads.
After running along the High Street we soon leave town. We go round the edge of a hill, with excellent views to the left. The road then continues on with hills in the distance, meeting the B7037 before a steep descent takes us back into the valley of the River Ayr. This is followed to Sorn, where we meet the B713 which comes in across the river, and then we climb out again for another few miles across the undulating fields. The river is met, and left, again before we reach a T-junction on the A70.
There's a multiplex to the east for a couple of miles before the B743 regains its number by turning left at traffic lights in Muirkirk. It climbs out of town and goes over a ridge before going back down to cross the Greenock Water. The valley is followed upstream to Head of Greenock Water (not the source but the point where the Water is formed by the meeting of a couple of burns) and the road continues north onto the moors. We soon enter a wood and descend gradually into the valley of the Avon Water, which is itself crossed. A few bends take the road over a dismantled railway line (the bridge still exists, although the course of the line is not too obvious), after which a dead-straight section takes us into Strathaven. We enter town along Muirkirk Street and soon bend slightly left to end at a T-junction on the A71.
When road numbers were first allocated in 1922 the majority of the B743 was unclassified: it was only the section between Muirkirk and Strathaven that had Class II status - as the southern end of the B744. By 1932 the B743 had come into existence but only took up the section between the A76 and A70; west of the A70 into Prestwick had become the A758.
In 1935 the B744 had been renumbered A723 and this situation continued for some years. It was not until the late 1980s that the B743 was given its current length, being extended in both directions along the two A-roads. This has given the road its long multiplex along the A70.