|From:||St Catherines (NN158085)|
|Distance:||6.3 miles (10.1 km)|
|Meets:||A815, B828, Unclassified|
|Route outline (key)|
The B839 is a cross-country B-road near the head of the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll. Much of its route is through the intriguingly named Hell's Glen
Starting at Ardno north of St Catherine's, on the shores of Loch Fyne, the B839 immediately starts to climb. Comparison with old maps suggests that the junction is now a little further north than it used to be, thanks to the improvements to the A815, but there is little evidence in the landscape to support this. The road climbs up through a series of switchbacks, passing through forestry land, but some recent felling has opened up views most of the way. The summit is quickly reached, and then the road starts the descent of the pretty Hells Glen, also known as Glen Beag. Much of this section has been improved, or at least resurfaced recently, perhaps related to the forestry operations.
Towards the bottom, the hill steepens, turning round a hairpin, before doing a dogleg over the bridge over the Allt Glinne Mhoir. Just after the bridge, the B839 meets the B828 at what used to be a TOTSO but the junction has now been relined. Turning left, the road runs along between the river and forestry, with some good long straights through this scenic valley. The River Goil is then crossed with sharp bends either side of the bridge, only to be recrossed a little further on.
The second bridge lies just before we enter the village, and the long dead-end unclassified road to Carrick Castle turns off to the right, before it, running down the western shore of Loch Goil. Our road continues into Lochgoilhead, nestled around the head of the loch and reaches a large car park on the shore. The loch is used for Watersports and is lined with Hotels and holiday parks. Technically the route continues some way down the east side of the loch, past a line of luxurious detached Victorian villas, but the road steadily deteriorates in quality until it becomes a rough partially tarred track. Certainly the road is classified as far as the pier by the no through road signs, and probably further - so longer than might be expected.
From its number, and looking at a map, it seems odd that it is the B839 that runs into Lochgoilhead, rather than the B828. However, the reason behind this is that back in 1922 the B828 number was originally used in Callander, the current B828 route being numbered as such several years later.