A702, Dalveen Pass, UK
This Great Road was initially published in issue 83 of Total 911.
Sometimes, we fancy a short jaunt out in our Porsche, but there are other times when we look for a good excuse for a really long drive. This edition, then, we offer somewhere that will need a long push to get to, but, once there, offers real rewards.
The A702 links the city of Edinburgh to the fabulously titled St John’s Town of Dairy, 80 miles to the southeast, in Dumfries and Galloway. Bisected by the main motorway between England and Scotland – the M74 – the long northeast section is actually signposted as the route off the motorway to Edinburgh. However, we’re only really interested in the other, shorter section, southeast of the M74, between the tiny villages of Elvanfoot and Carronbridge.
It’s a remote old road, a good half hour north of Dumfries, which in itself takes a while to reach wherever you live. Still, driving is the aim of the game for this exercise, so no complaining. We’ve only ever driven the road south to north, only because it breaks up the journey from constant motorway, but either direction is equally as worthy. It’s not exactly easy to spot off the A76; the turn-off is a tiny narrow road that you’d never guess to be worth attention.
LATITUDE: 55.2623 -3.7801 LENGTH OF DRIVE: 15.3 miles POINTS OF INTEREST: FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION:
Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park
Savings Bank Museum
Friars Carse Country House Hotel
LATITUDE: 55.2623 -3.7801
LENGTH OF DRIVE: 15.3 miles
POINTS OF INTEREST:
FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION:
After a brief, slow crawl through the last vestiges of civilisation, we pass through a busy forest section of staccato left and right weaving for a mile or so, then the view opens a little into farmland, with less in the way of tight bends. It’s not until we leave Durisdeermill that the road really comes into its own. Here on, we could be in the Highlands of Scotland; long straights, excellent sight lines and a fairly decent surface.
A wide valley opens up to our left, and we arc around hills that frame the route like only Scotland can. Slowly rising in altitude, this section is pure heaven in a 911. The exhaust echoes off the hillsides as we pass the old Dalveen Toll cottage, constantly aiming for the next apex, dealing with each in turn, and pushing on to the horizon.
At the road’s summit at 337 metres the character changes as we leave the hills behind, rolling through an open green plateau. After a nice section of quick left-right-left-right weaves, we see forests in the distance, and begin the descent towards Elvanfoot and the M74 junction. The final section is a fast, open run within sight of the M74.
The first time we drove this route we went on to describe it as one of the best driving roads we’d ever been on. Not a statement to make lightly, it really is that good. It’s one of the few roads in the UK that has a definite feel of the Alps in places; that mix of scenery, excellent visibility, and decent surface.
Despite being a bit of a trek to reach we’ve been on it a couple of times since; taking a detour just to be able to drive it once more. Yes, it is a long way from anywhere, but one well worth seeking out; especially in a 911. If you’re in Scotland, make the time to drive it.