|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||North Port (NM959415)|
|Distance:||15.2 miles (24.5 km)|
|Meets:||A828, Loch Etive, A85, Loch Awe|
|Route outline (key)|
The B845 is split into three unconnected sections and on the map looks like rather a pointless road. However, the road was designed to be a through route, connected by ferries. Although effectively single track throughout (except in Taynuilt village), the B845 has been widened in numerous places by merging passing places, cutting back verges or other localised works. This has primarily taken place to ease traffic around some of the blind corners and over crests. The result is that, over the years, much of the original route from Taynuilt to Kilchrenan has become just about wide enough for 2 cars to pass cautiously, but care still needs to be taken, especially when meeting larger vehicles.
Barcaldine to Bonawe
Leaving the A828 at Barcaldine, the road initially winds past some houses before it climbs up through the forested Gleann Salach, crossing the Dearg Abhainn about half way up. It then emerges from the forest and reaches a summit of over 150m before dropping steeply back towards sea level on the shores of Loch Etive at Ardchattan. Just beyond the summit, the road swings round to the right and suddenly the view across Loch Etive opens up below. At the bottom, the B845 meets the shore road at a steeply graded triangle junction, and TOTSOs left, almost doubling back on itself to cross the River Esragan. After passing a farm it quickly finds the shore, as it heads south east passing through the small village of Bonawe to the Quarry beyond. To the modern visitor, this seems to be the end of the road, with large car parking areas near the Quarry entrance. However, the rather perilous road that winds through the rocks along the shore at the narrows of Loch Etive leads to a disused slipway that once provided a ferry across to Taynuilt.
Bonawe to Taynuilt
This is the shortest part of the B845, running from the southern slipway of the former Bonawe Ferry crossing into the village of Taynuilt and the A85. It starts in a small car park area popular with fishermen, but soon disappears between high hedges. These hedges successfully disguise the fact that the road is on a narrow (natural) causeway poking into the loch at the mouth of the River Awe. The road is, as with the other sections, narrow and only sparsely served with passing places although today this is probably one of the busiest sections with regular coach trips passing through Taynuilt to visit the Bonawe Ironworks, and boat trips from the pier. The road TOTSOs right at a T-junction in Brochoy before crossing the Glasgow to Oban railway by Taynuilt station to end at a T-junction on the A85.
Taynuilt to North Port
After a short sojourn east along the A85, the B845 once more appears, at the eastern end of Taynuilt village. It starts at a sharp fork and runs parallel to the main road, albeit climbing the hill as it heads east. There is then a sharp hairpin bend before the road turns southwards. After the initial sharp climb, the road dips a little to enjoy a pleasant run through Glen Nant, the road often winding through the trees along the riverbank, with occasional deviations around rocks or side streams. After a couple of miles the River Nant turns to the south west, but the road keeps climbing to the south east past a quarry and up to a low pass with a summit around 150m, at Barachander Farm. The road then skirts the edge of a small moorland plateau, with Loch Tromlee off to the left before passing a scattering of houses amongst some trees.
The road continues down hill, dropping into the small village of Kilchrenan where it crosses the Kilchrenan Burn, and meets the long dead end out to Ardanaiseig in front of the Inn. Half a mile later, at Annat, the road TOTSOs with another minor road that heads south-west along the shores of Loch Awe to the remote forestry village of Dalavich, and on to Ford at the southern end of the loch. The B845, meanwhile, continues to curve south east to the shores of the loch at North Port, coming to an end at the entrance to the Taychreggan Hotel.
Loch Awe Ferry
As with Loch Etive, a ferry service once operated across Loch Awe to the B840 on the southern shore, but by the 1960s it too had become uneconomic, and was withdrawn. Today there is no obvious public access to the former slipway. The road now terminates in the front yard of the Hotel, which is a common feature at ferry crossings in the Highlands, and the slipway lies within the landscaped gardens, with an old telephone box at the top. It is questionable, however, as to whether the ferry every carried cars. It is marked on maps from the 1930s and before, occasionally with a P indicating it was a passenger only ferry, but is no longer marked in the 1960s. Online sources suggest it was still operating a passenger service in the 1950s, but others suggest it ended before the war. There is no evidence that it ever carried cars, however. This seems to be at odds with the fact that the original classification of the B845 in 1922 stated that it ran to Portsonachan, which lies on the south shore of the loch on the B840.
As can be seen from the map to the left, the B845 did not originally extend to the north of Loch Etive, rather it started at Taynuilt on the A85 and ran south to Taychreggan. The extension to the north seems to have been made in 1945/6, as the OS 10 mile map from 1946 is the first to show the B845 reaching Barcaldine.
Since the route was extended to Barcaldine, the only significant change to the B845 has taken place. The junction with the A828 originally lay to the south west of the current junction, the A828 originally looping past the houses, and then following what is now the NCN78 cycle track route back to meet the current route to the west. The current junction dates from the substantial improvements carried out along the A828 in the late 1960s, after the railway was closed.