|To:||Carnassarie Castle (NM842008)|
|Distance:||23.7 miles (38.1 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The B840 is a long B-road in Mid Argyll, following Loch Awe for much of its length.
The road starts at a junction with the A819 near the village of Cladich, and winds down the hill to cross the Cladich River in the village. Just across Cladich Bridge a no entry road continues ahead while the B840 turns sharp to the right. This one-way road is the other half of the former A819 route through the village, and was until recently classified as a spur of the B840 on maps. It is also the last junction for nearly 20 miles!
There are signs just past the junction describing the road as narrow and advising drivers to allow others to overtake, as well as a pre-Worboys sign prohibiting large vehicles from the road. Climbing steadily out of the village through woodland and small fields, the road crosses the Archan River on a concrete bridge alongside the old stone arch, now hidden by trees. After a couple more bends, the highest point of the road is reached at 140 m. It then drops steadily down past Ardbrecknish and into the village of Portsonachan, where the shore of Loch Awe is met.
At the Portsonochan Hotel, old slipways line up with those on the north side of the loch and show the old ferry point to the B845 at North Port, Kilchrenan, which stopped over 50 years ago. A short climb takes the road through the western end of the village, before the road drops back to the shore again. From here the road heads in a south westerly direction following the southern shore of Loch Awe, often closely. From time to time it climbs over bumps, or turns inland around patched of shoreside grazing land, but mostly the road is on the shoreside. However, the density of the woodland makes views of the loch difficult to come by, unless you pull into a layby and take one of the many fishermen's paths down to the shore.
There are occasional houses and farms along the road, but chalets and static caravans seem to be more common, mostly privately owned holiday retreats. At Ardchonnel, a couple of islands lie close in to the shore, the first home to Ardchonnel Castle, an ivy-clad ruin which is only accessible by boat. A small bay has to be navigated around the outlet of the Kames River, with the mothballed Ardchonnel School nearby. Then its up the hill to the tiny settlement of Eredine.
For the next mile, the road is further inland than before, but after crossing the Abhainn a Bhealaich it rejoins the shore for most of the way to Ford. The road is still heavily wooded, although as with so much of the route the resulting colours of the Bluebells, Wild Garlic and other flowers under the canopy of trees is quite beautiful in spring and early summer. Just before reaching the head of the loch, the road turns inland once more, crossing more low hills to Ford.
Eventually, and doubtless to great relief, the village of Ford is reached. The road crosses the bridge over the River Ford and then turns round to the left outside the Ford Hotel, where the minor road down the north side of Loch Awe from Dalavich meets it. This route eventually leads back to the B845 at Kilchrenan, quite a detour without the ferry!
The pass which the road now winds through was once, millennia ago, the outlet of Loch Awe before the Pass of Brander was breached. Today it is home to the small Loch Ederline, beyond which a left turn to Kilmichael Glassery turns off, but it is now just over a mile to go to the end of the B840 on the A816 in the shadow of Carnassarie Castle.