|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Tighnabruaich Pier (NR984733)|
|Distance:||25.4 miles (40.9 km)|
|Meets:||Pier, A8003, A886|
|Route outline (key)|
The B8000, a long road around the western shore of Cowal, is a delight to drive, but not many people seem to bother. With the 'new' A8003 route connecting Tighnabruaich and Kames more directly to the outside world, there seems to be little need for anyone to drive the B8000 unless they live on it or are Sabristi! Anyway, to save you the bother too, here we go:
Tighnabruaich - Millhouse
If people do drive the whole length of the B8000, it seems most likely that they will start in Tighnabruaich after crossing Cowal from Dunoon, or they will start from the Portavadie Ferry, so we too shall start our journey at the southern end. The road starts at Tighnabruaich Pier, another instance of a Scottish B-road starting at a pier. To the east, an unclassified road continues along the shore and through the village before becoming a driveway serving the further houses along the Kyles of Bute.
Heading west then, we soon reach the junction where the A8003 now drops into the village, but this is the last junction with a classified road for the next 22 miles! Another mile on, and we turn sharp right outside Kames Police Station. There is a crossroads here, with the other two arms dropping down to the shore and eventually curving round the headland to rejoin the B8000 a mile or so to the west at Millhouse.
Millhouse - Otter Ferry
Millhouse is another crossroads, with the rather awkward straight-on route dropping down to the shore at Portavadie, where the Portavadie Ferry crosses to Tarbert on Kintyre. However, we turn right again and start the long journey north. The map shows the road as single track, but for much of the way it is really S1.75, in other words just about wide enough for two cars to pass slowly anywhere along the way, but heaven help anyone who comes across a lorry, as the passing places are few and far between!
After passing through some forestry, a dam and reservoir appear on the right, sparkling in the afternoon sunshine in the otherwise desolate landscape. The road then dives into more forestry and drops to a genuine single-track as we descend the hill towards the coast. However, while that coast is often spotted in the near distance, it is many miles before it is reached. Along the way we pass through the small settlement of Kilfinan, and many more forestry plantations, before a road to the right is signposted 'Clachan of Glendaruel'. This narrow, winding hill road crosses to the A886 just to the north of the A8003 junction - a very long way to get back where you started from!
Otter Ferry - Leanach
Shortly afterwards, we burst out onto the coast at Otter Ferry, where the road takes a sharp right to avoid thrusting us into the sea. As the name suggests, this is an ancient ferry crossing of Loch Fyne, and the little stone pier ahead of us proves it. Behind us as we turn right is the Oystercatcher Pub; set in an idyllic place it is a real 'get away from it all' destination!
We are now heading north on a narrow shelf right on the water's edge, with overhanging trees dappling the sunlight as it dances across the road ahead. After a mile or so we duck inland at Largiemore Holiday Park, but not for long. The same happens at Lephinchapel and Lephinmore, but while the road is a little wider again, we are still within jumping distance of Loch Fyne. Finally, at Lachlan Bay, the road turns away from the shore and we head up Strathlachlan towards the A886. Nothing is ever that simple though, and the road forks before the junction, the right fork climbing quickly to the main road at Leanach while the left fork, now more or less S2 again, takes a slower route to a reprofiled junction at Leachd.