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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (1)
From:  Cardoness Castle (NX588551)
To:  New Rusko (NX544624)
Via:  Gatehouse of Fleet
Distance:  7 miles (11.3 km)
Meets:  A75, B727, unclassified
Former Number(s):  A75
Highway Authorities

Dumfries and Galloway

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
B796 Cardoness Castle - New Rusko

The B796 is a cross-country B-road in west Kirkcudbrightshire. It heads north west into the hills from Gatehouse of Fleet.

The route now starts at a T junction on the A75 at the western end of the Gatehouse of Fleet bypass, and follows the old main road into the town. Just around the first bend, a parking area on the left gives access to the ruinous Cardoness Castle, which stands sentinel on a rocky lump above the road. The route continues north alongside a section of the Water of Fleet known as The Canal, due to its straight channel, and then winds through woodland into town. A sharper right turn leads onto the wide Fleet Street, which is lined with terraces of often brightly painted old stone houses on both sides. The B796 then TOTSOs left just before crossing the river; ahead is the B727 which continues over Fleet Bridge and along the pre-bypass A75 through the town. The B796 now follows the long, straight Old Military Road north past the school and through more modern housing, although most of the houses back onto the road.

Old Military Road is part of the military road built by Major Caulfeild in the 1750s between Dumfries and Portpatrick, designed to move troops and equipment to Ireland more quickly. It therefore starts off straight, flat and narrow, but soon forks left to take the notorious Corse of Slakes road over the hills to Creetown. The B796 continues ahead and becomes more winding and more hilly, as it begins to climb out of the valley. There are few roadside properties as the route winds through patches of woodland and across fields, but lanes and drives lead off to houses hidden in the folds of the landscape. The route continues north with the air of an unclassified rural road, although (faded) white lines are occasionally visible in the middle of the road. It is never a fast road, and yet despite appearances, the river is still quite close below on the right. At length, a right turn leads down to a bridge across the river at Nether Rusko, and here the fun really begins!

Approaching a cattle grid on the B796

The junction lies in a longer stretch of open fields, which allows the fine views to the north to be enjoyed. As the route starts to really climb, however, there are more patches of woodland, with the road returning to the open fields after each block. The constant, snaking left-right-left-right eventually leads to a couple of longer bends as the road cuts in around a stream at Woodhead, after which the road finally emerges from the trees. It is now crossing a steep hillside of rough fields lined with trees. There are some fine views ahead up the valley of the Big Water of Fleet, which is now much further below the road, meandering through the thick forestry that covers the valley floor. The gradient has never been steep, but eases, as does the curvature of the incessant bends, as the road approaches Upper Rusko. Beyond this lonely farm, the road levels out and strangely becomes wider and apparently better engineered as it crosses the moorland.

The snaking bends soon return as the climb resumes, and the road curves westwards across the hillside while the Water of Fleet meanders off to the north. After entering a final wood, the road reaches New Rusko and a T-junction. The B796 ends here with the other road unclassified. Directly ahead is the old station approach, now serving a Forestry Commission car park - the station building is still in existence to the left but the line closed in the 1960s, technically removing the B796's raison d'être. The road to the left descends to Creetown, while the road to the right is well worth exploring if you have made it this far. It drops down to the river bank, becoming more and more potholed as it goes, before becoming an unsurfaced track. Persevere, however, and you will reach a small parking area under the magnificent arches of the sadly disused Big Water of Fleet Viaduct.


The route was originally unclassified but came into existence in the mid-1920s, probably as early as 1924 judging by its number, to link Gatehouse of Fleet with the town's station (now closed), six miles away in the hills to the north. Even before the closure of the line, the road was quiet, few people venturing so far to catch a train when the bus services along the A75 had developed. The road itself appears to have been either partly built or improved by the railway company to try and encourage passengers to use the station, and there are some hair-raising tales of horse drawn connections, particularly coming down to the town!

The Gatehouse bypass on the A75 opened in 1986, which saw the route extended almost a mile from its erstwhile terminus by the bridge in the centre of town out to the western end of the new bypass.

Related Pictures
View gallery (1)
A new cattle grid on the B796 - Geograph - 2758167.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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