|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Springfield, Loch Riddon (NS012789)|
|Distance:||2.8 miles (4.5 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The B866 follows the original lochside alignment – via Port an Eilein – of the A886 (former B8000) between Springfield and Dundarrach, immediately north of Colintraive. It is signed as a 'coastal route', although this is almost an exaggeration, as on the southern half of the route it is almost impossible to see the Loch below, through the dense foliage of the trees! The new line of the A886 is shown as under construction on the 1976 OS Landranger map, with the B866 number being applied to the old road when it opened.
The road starts at a re-aligned junction with the A886, and runs southwards along the east shore of Loch Riddon. Depending on the state of the tide, the south end of the extensive mudflats at the head of the loch can be seen for the next half mile or so. By the time it reaches the houses at Salthouse Point, the mudflats have been left behind and the more typical rocky shoreline begins. Several small boats and yachts can normally be seen moored on both sides of the loch during the summer season. The road then briefly turns inland, gently climbing and descending through woodland and fields to Port an Eilein. A short and fairly flat coastal stretch south of Port an Eilein comes to an abrupt end when the climb to the summit at The Birches begins.
As soon as the road leaves the coast and turns inland south of Port an Eilein it starts to climb fairly steeply. It is evident that the road at the start of this climb has been cut through the bedrock, which appears to be close to overhanging the road at one point. The road crosses a few burns as it climbs through the trees and fields. Views of the loch are restricted by the trees on most of the climb, but the panorama opens to the south after crossing the Allt na Fearnoch Burn on a stone arched bridge on one of the numerous bends. After this bridge, a surprising long (300m), flat(ish) and straight(ish) section is reached and it is from here that the best views of the loch can be seen.
After Fearnoch, the road climbs again through woodland, to reach the 37m summit at The Birches. Now on the final descent towards the outskirts of Colintraive at Glachavoil, the gates at Caol Ruadh are passed on the right. Further along, eventually (for a road that is less than three miles it seems far longer!) the A886 suddenly runs briefly parallel immediately on the left until, after turning away from it briefly, the two routes meet at another re-aligned junction. A a stub of old road continues ahead, leading to the pavement into Colintraive.