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