Rest and Be Thankful shut amid Argyll roads’ chaos
Heavy rainfall from Sunday to Tuesday may have caused a landslide which blocked the A83 on Tuesday and Wednesday. As the Courier went to press on Wednesday, preparations were being made to open the Old Military Road on the valley floor which itself was hit when 150 tonnes of material breached a barrier. This week’s storms have caused major problems for Argyll road traffic with drivers facing hazardous conditions and long diversions. Deep surface water and the landslides, which resulted in closure at the A83’s Rest and Be Thankful mountain pass, have caused anxiety and anguish among many travellers. The specially-erected barriers served their purpose and caught most of the debris from the hillsides above the road. A BEAR Scotland spokesperson said: ‘Aerial assessments are being carried out on the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, after approximately 2,500 tonnes of debris was caught in catch-fences. A helicopter has been deployed to check the condition of a number of large boulders which have become exposed, and teams have been reviewing the condition of the hillside. ‘Prolonged heavy rain prevented them from being able to safely access the slope on Tuesday. ‘Work is also under way on the A83 carriageway to install temporary barriers to contain any material from reaching the Old Military Road. Tommy Deans, BEAR Scotland’s north-west network manager, said: ‘We thank motorists for their continued patience as we do all we can to deal with these landslips at the Rest and Be Thankful. ‘We encourage road users to follow the diversion route in place via Dalmally or use an alternative form of travel, and to check ahead using Traffic Scotland for up-to-date journey information.’ A 2014 petition lodged by Douglas Philand and supported by Argyll First Councillor Donald Kelly urged the Scottish Parliament to ensure a permanent solution for the A83. Mr Kelly this week said: ‘Our petition calling for a permanent solution to the ongoing problems with the A83 remains live. ‘This will continue to be the case until all the current issues are resolved.’ There was much anger about the closure. On the Courier’s social media, Daryn Mathieson wrote: ‘How much money have these clowns had? ‘It’s a cash cow and they know it, as they keep getting paid to not fix it.’ Western Ferries, at Dunoon, has laid on extra boats to help travellers who access Scotland’s central belt by either the Tarbert to Portavadie ferry and crossing the Cowal peninsula or drive via Cairndow.
Teams assessing one of the debris fences from A83 carriageway; and right, teams remove 150 tonnes of material from Old Military Road.