|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||10.5 miles (16.9 km)|
|Old route now:||A886, B8000|
|Route outline (key)|
The B836 runs east-west through eastern Argyll, running round the northern edge of Loch Striven. In recent years it has seen substantial improvement as a Timber Haul route across the Cowal Peninsula.
The road starts in Dalinlongart, just a mile or so north of Sandbank, the northern end of Dunoon, by turning off the A815 within sight of the Holy Loch. The road heads west and quickly reaches the edge of the coastal plain, after which the road continues west by climbing up the narrow wooded valley of the Little Eachaig River, crossing a narrow bridge over the river after about a mile, with an older bridge lying in the trees to the south.
The road soon reaches Clachaig, the only real settlement along its route. So far the road has mostly been S2, but at the entrance to the village the road narrows more permanently. From Clachaig the road climbs through Glen Lean; this is followed to the summit at Loch Tarsan, a reservoir with two dams, one on each side of the watershed. The road runs alongside the southern edge of the reservoir from one dam to the other, then descends to cross the Glentarsan Burn. Just before the first dam, there is a slight earthwork which forks right from the road towards the parking area. This appears to be the line of the old road before the reservoir was built. It is much clearer below the main dam, where the old road survives as the access road to the base of the dam, although the bridge appears to be new. In between the two it is completely lost below the water.
The steep valley of the Tarsan Burn is followed downstream with the road crossing the burn. Loch Striven, an inlet of the sea, is straight ahead (but invisible at this point) so the road turns northwards in the trees, losing height more gently before descending to the loch shore near the power station from Loch Tarsan. Loch Striven cuts a long way inland, so the road has to detour round the top - and takes a couple of miles to get back to the same latitude on the western shore. The Balliemore Burn is crossed on the coastal plain at the road's northernmost point before it turns southerly to go round the other side of the loch. Again, there is evidence of an older bridge to the north, with the eastern approach still in use as a farm drive, but the bridge is gone.
On the western side of the loch, just before Craigendive (which consists of very few buildings) "weak road" signs once stood, with strict limits placed on the size of vehicles allowed to climb out of the valley. However, recent improvement works have presumably substantially rebuilt the road as the signs have been removed. The road climbs steeply, still hugging the side of the loch and is now S2 for a short distance, before turning round to the right to continue westwards. At times it still seems obvious why the road was classed as weak.
The summit of the road is soon reached, after which the road starts a long, gentle descent across the moor and finally descends more steeply to cross the Auchenbreck Burn. Once across the bridge, the road continues straight, passing a telephone exchange and then reaching a left turn to Auchebreck House. This is the old line of the B8000, later A886 down to Colintraive. A short distance later a right turn is the former line of the B836 (later A886) heading north, whilst today the B836 takes a new line dropping steadily down to the new A886 route.
This route was once much longer. From its current western end it continued along what is now the A886 north to Leanach on the shores of Loch Fyne, to end on the B837, which quickly became the A886 in the mid 1920s. However, sometime in the early 1960s, the A886 was moved inland, swapping with the B8000 and cutting the B836 short. The new B8000 also gained the extreme western end of the original B836 as a spur when the new A886 line was constructed sometime later.