Can 211-year-old plan end mis­ery of Rest and Be Thank­ful?

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Milly Vin­cent

IT is a road no­to­ri­ous for land­slides, flood­ing and snow­drifts.

Yet the prob­lems blight­ing the A83 at Rest and Be Thank­ful could be solved by a plan de­vised by a Scots aris­to­crat 211 years ago.

The route – that took its name from words in­scribed in stone by sol­diers who built the orig­i­nal road in 1753 – has cost tax­pay­ers some £70mil­lion in main­te­nance and land­slip con­trol since 2007.

Plans to build a pro­tec­tive canopy over the road or a re­place­ment tun­nel have been rejected in favour of per­sist­ing with the orig­i­nal land­slide-prone route be­tween Loch Lomond and the Kin­tyre penin­sula. But all could be solved by a di­ver­sion pro­posed in 1807 by John Camp­bell, 7th Duke of Ar­gyll.

Dis­cov­ered re­cently at In­ver­aray Cas­tle, the plans pro­pose a new route cut­ting out the trou­ble­some hill­side, run­ning north from Ar­rochar along the shores of Loch Sloy and around Beinn Ime, re­join­ing the ex­ist­ing road at But­ter Bridge.

The Duke is said to have com­mis­sioned Charles Aber­crom­bie to carry out the sur­vey af­ter

Road block: En­gi­neers work to clear yet an­other land­slip at Rest and Be Thank­ful

be­com­ing frus­trated by the ‘dan­ger­ous and dif­fi­cult’ jour­ney to and from his cas­tle.

His­to­rian Gerry Burke said: ‘Be­fore any­body starts blast­ing holes for a tun­nel or roofing the Rest and Be Thank­ful road­way, the present Duke of Ar­gyll might have a so­lu­tion in the ar­chives at In­ver­aray Cas­tle.

‘Charles Aber­crom­bie’s plan was es­ti­mated to cost £6,895 but there is no ev­i­dence to why the new road wasn’t built. His rep­u­ta­tion as a land sur­veyor was first class and he has laid out a so­lu­tion for them to con­sider.’

Af­ter the lat­est land­slip, Trans­port Sec­re­tary Michael Mathe­son told MSPs: ‘We clearly need to re­visit the is­sue.’

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