The Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll, Scotland
An Ancient Feature of Glacial Erosion and Present Day Beauty
A Welcome Pitstop for Weary Travellers
The Rest and Be Thankful is quite literally named as a place where travellers in olden times would stop, rest and be thankful that they had reached the top of their steep climb, before continuing on to their destination. The original road was built by soldiers in the mid-18th century and a stone was erected, bearing the words Rest and Be Thankful, as a permanent monument, upon its completion in 1750.
There is presently a car park and a number of wooden viewing benches located at the Rest and Be Thankful, from where the photographs on the relevant parts of this page were taken. There will also occasionally be a snack van present, where limited refreshments of different types may be purchased. It is more than worth taking even ten minutes out of your journey to stop and admire the truly magnificent scenery, to which no photographs can ever do full justice.
If you have never negotiated the Rest and Be Thankful before, you should not be surprised if your ears pop - the same way as they may do on an aeroplane - as you gain altitude often a lot quicker than your eyes would have you believe.
The Climb to the Rest and Be Thankful Starts at Loch Long
When you are headed in the direction of the Rest and Be Thankful from Glasgow and the South, you will leave the A82 and Loch Lomond at Tarbet and join the A83 Campbeltown road. It is only about a mile to the village of Arrochar on Loch Long, which explains the collective name for the mountains in the area, the Arrochar Alps, among which the Rest and Be Thankful will be found. The A83 follows the shore of Loch Long as far as the tiny village of Ardgartan, where it turns North and the climb begins...
The modern day A83 over the Rest and Be Thankful can still know closures, due to adverse winter weather conditions, or even rock slides. Getting caught on this stretch of road during a sudden and severe winter blizzard is far from being a pleasant experience! The old, single track road, however, meandering through Glen Croe (not to be confused with Glen Coe), must have presented even greater challenges to travellers, many of whom would have been on horseback, or even on foot.
Loch Restil is a freshwater loch, to the immediate north of the Rest and Be Thankful. It is possible to fish the loch for brown trout in the summer months with fly only, provided you arrange the appropriate permit in advance by calling (01499) 600284.
The area around the Rest and Be Thankful is also very popular with hikers and climbers and a number of routes are to be found through the mountains. As you begin your northward descent, you will soon come to a large parking area, from which many organised trips begin.
Loch Fyne is Coming in to View and the Descent is Almost Over
The A83 returns to sea level at the village of Cairndow, on the shore of Loch Fyne. Less than a mile beyond Cairndow, right at the head of the loch, you will see the original Loch Fyne Oyster Bar. Although there are now branches throughout the UK, this is where it all began, originally when oysters only were sold from the back of a van. If you are visiting the area, you should stop and browse the magnificent local produce in the farm shop, or even attempt to get a table in the adjoining restaurant, to sample Scottish seafood and more, as fresh and as good as it gets.
Have You Visited the Rest and Be Thankful?
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