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The Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll, Scotland

Updated on June 28, 2016

An Ancient Feature of Glacial Erosion and Present Day Beauty

Looking south from the Rest and Be Thankful and down Glen Croe
Looking south from the Rest and Be Thankful and down Glen Croe
The Rest and Be Thankful is found in the Argyll Forest Park
The Rest and Be Thankful is found in the Argyll Forest Park

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

The head of Loch Long at low tide, looking West to where the road will soon veer North and the climb to the Rest and Be Thankful will begin
The head of Loch Long at low tide, looking West to where the road will soon veer North and the climb to the Rest and Be Thankful will begin
The village of Arrochar on the southern shore of Loch Long lends its name to the mountain range in this part of Scotland, the Arrochar Alps
The village of Arrochar on the southern shore of Loch Long lends its name to the mountain range in this part of Scotland, the Arrochar Alps

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...

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All around, mountains tower over the Rest and Be ThankfulIt is unlikely you will ever see exactly the same view twice from the Rest and Be Thankful. The changing seasons and weather, even the shade from cloud cover, can alter the appearance of the landscape dramaticallyA car park now sits on the Rest and Be ThankfulRoad signs on the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, in both English and Gaelic
All around, mountains tower over the Rest and Be Thankful
All around, mountains tower over the Rest and Be Thankful
It is unlikely you will ever see exactly the same view twice from the Rest and Be Thankful. The changing seasons and weather, even the shade from cloud cover, can alter the appearance of the landscape dramatically
It is unlikely you will ever see exactly the same view twice from the Rest and Be Thankful. The changing seasons and weather, even the shade from cloud cover, can alter the appearance of the landscape dramatically
A car park now sits on the Rest and Be Thankful
A car park now sits on the Rest and Be Thankful
Road signs on the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, in both English and Gaelic
Road signs on the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful, in both English and Gaelic
The modern day A83 replaced the old road through Glen Croe (both seen in picture)
The modern day A83 replaced the old road through Glen Croe (both seen in picture)
Lonely Planet Scotland
Lonely Planet Scotland

The beauty of buying a book in the Lonely Planet series is that you can do so with absolute conviction that the writers and photographers have actually visited the places they feature. There are no patched up, Internet research only pieces in these productions. If you can't visit Scotland in the near future, why not therefore allow Lonely Planet to bring Scotland to you, in 500 magnificent, full colour pages.

 

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.

Looking north from the Rest and Be Thankful, across the waters of Loch Restil
Looking north from the Rest and Be Thankful, across the waters of Loch Restil

Loch Fyne is Coming in to View and the Descent is Almost Over

Loch Fyne pictured from a track in the Ardkinglas Estate, near Cairndow
Loch Fyne pictured from a track in the Ardkinglas Estate, near Cairndow
The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar sits right at the head of Loch Fyne. It incorporates both a farm shop and a restaurant.
The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar sits right at the head of Loch Fyne. It incorporates both a farm shop and a restaurant.

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?

Thank you for visiting this page. It is very much hoped that you found it interesting and enjoyable. If you have any comments or feedback, they can be left in the space immediately below.

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    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      What a GREAT hub!!! Loved the pics, liked the text, which was from your own experience and also very informative. This is such beautiful, unspoiled place...

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a wonderful that is "Rest And Be Thankful". It has always been a dream of mine to visit Scotland and hopefully someday I will. My grandmother was from Paisley and I remember all the stories she would tell me of the Old Country. Beautiful Pictures and thanks for sharing.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Paradise7, thank you for your visit and your comment. It is a very beautiful part of the world which I am lucky enough to visit regularly.

      Susan, thank you. I don't know Paisley particularly well but I did once work there for three whole days(!) and have been a few times for other reasons. I hope very much that dream of getting to Scotland comes true for you.

    • gamelover profile image

      Meskens Geert 5 years ago from Belgium

      Very nice information

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you, gamelover, for the visit and comment.

    • mbrownauthor 5 years ago

      Looks like a lovely place! Great photos!

    • iZeko profile image

      iZeko 5 years ago

      Wish I could jump right into one of these photos ;-)) Very beautiful place with really cool name. Does it have a Gaelic name too?

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you, Margaret! It is a lovely place in good weather. It is also lovely in a different way in the thick winter snows - but the road can be treacherous beyond belief and is subject to closure in bad weather.

      iZeko, I know what you mean. I love seeing photos of beautiful places too and often feel the same. I am afraid that you have asked me an excellent question - to which I don't know the answer! I have never seen a signpost at the Rest (as it is often abbreviated to in Scotland) giving it a Gaelic name and a Google search a minute ago was of no help. I am in no doubt whatsoever that the mountain pass which has existed at least since the last Ice Age would have had a Gaelic name at one stage. Whether the actual summit of it that we know today as the Rest and Be Thankful did, I don't know. I am actually going to call one of the tourist offices up in Argyll tomorrow and see if I can find out - it's 9.15pm here in Scotland at the moment and too late for now. Thanks for the visit and comment and very much for raising a really good point. :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Beautiful landscapes and great hub. Love to visit those places but until now not yet. Thanks for sharing.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you, Thelma. I hope that you get to visit and see the Rest for real some day.

    • iZeko profile image

      iZeko 5 years ago

      I’m curious what the tourist office will say. Maybe it has some impossible-to-read name and that’s why they don’t put it on the signs ;-) I like languages like Gaelic because they are far from easy to pronounce, but it's always fun trying!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      I am now also very curious, iZeko. I have spoken to VisitScotland and the very helpful lady was unaware of the Rest having a specific Gaelic name. She is going to check further for me with Gaelic speakers and let me know as soon as she can. I will post details here, either way, when I have them :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a beautiful place and such an interesting name. Thanks for this informative hub with all the gorgeous pictures. Enjoyed it immensely! Up, beautiful and useful votes.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you for the visit and comment, Peggy. I'm glad you enjoyed the taste of the beautiful scenery that the Rest has to offer.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      VisitScotland have just confirmed for me that there is no specific Gaelic name for what is known in English as the Rest and Be Thankful

    • iZeko profile image

      iZeko 5 years ago

      Oh, pity! Appreciate the effort you put into confirming that, Gordon!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Gordon, It looks beautiful, even the name is inviting, hopefully I might get to visit one day.

      Many thanks for sharing and voting up.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hi, Movie Master. I hope that you do get to visit the Rest. Thanks for the visit here and the comment.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Scotland is a beautiful country. I love all the pictures here. I hope I can visit this country someday. Well done, my friend. Vote it up!

      Prasetio

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hello, Prasetio.

      Thank you for the visit and the comment. Yes, this is just one of many similar areas of beauty in Scotland. I hope that you do get to visit and see it yourself for real some day.

    • deecee52 5 years ago

      Thank you for the wonderful memories. I was stationed here from 73-78, lived in Strachur as well as Sandbank, and I loved visiting the Rest. Pictures truly do it no justice, but many many thanks. Slange var!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Deecee52, thank you very much for leaving your comment and it gives me great pleasure to know that this page brought back such pleasant memories for you. I hope you get the chance to see the Rest again sometime. Good health to you also! :)

    • Ancillotti profile image

      Ancillotti 3 years ago from Brasil, Vitoria - ES

      I felt relaxed just reading this text and admire this beautiful landscape. Seems like a super nice place and soothes body and soul. Maybe one day I spend there ...

      A big hug and thank you for sharing this text with us!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hello, Ancillotti, and thank you. I hope you do manage to see the Rest for yourself some day.

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