Road: A83 Rest and Be Thankful

[View down Glen Croe from the top of Rest and Be Thankful - the road in the foreground is the diversion route]

Safe passage by road between most of Scotland and much of coastal Argyll is blocked by the Arrochar Alps - a range of hills far smaller than their European counterparts but still with plenty of ruggedness of their own. Rest and Be Thankful is the summit of a scenic road pass well worth driving for the views alone, even if you aren't using it to get somewhere. Beinn an Lochain, Ben Donich and several more of the "Alps" are all well seen (and climbed) from the road, with an equally fine view down Glen Croe (not a typo, and totally separate from Glencoe!) from the top. This pass has been the way across since 1752 when soldiers constructed a military road over the bealach here - imagine the effort involved in ascending before cars were invented and the reason for the name becomes obvious. The pass is still vulnerable in poor weather: although the road doesn't reach a particularly great height, heavy rain can (and does) cause landslides or rockfalls at any time of year, despite multi-million pound efforts to prevent them. In case of closure, a winding but more reliable single-track diversion (ironically using the exact line of the old military road) provides a potential work-around, provided it isn't threatened by landslides itself.

[The pass and Loch Restil from the ascent of Beinn an Lochain (May 2015)]

Name: A83 Rest and Be Thankful ★★☆☆
Location (summit): A83 between Arrochar and Cairndow, G.R.: NN 230075 / spilling buckling reach

Distance (Ardgartan to Cairndow): 16 km / 10 miles
Height gain: 260 metres
Type of road: Surfaced A-road
Open: Always, except for weather-related closures (usually due to landslide risk after heavy rain)
Cost: Free

[Descending through Glen Croe on the south side of the pass - spot the rockfall barriers up to the left]


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