ANGRY demands are being made for a re-routing of the A83, after another landslide which shut down the Rest and Be Thankful route eft travellers having to follow a 58.8 mile detour.

More than 1,000 tonnes of material reached the carriageway, despite catch-fences above the carriageway, in the early hours of Thursday morning following heavy rainfall.

Commuters were initially directed on the huge reroute westbound and eastbound by Traffic Scotland before being directed to the Old Military Road which runs parallel to the stricken road.

The Scottish Government spent millions on reopening the single-track Old Military Road in 2013 as an alternative for drivers faced with a long detour.

It was originally built in the mid-18th century and used to move troops around the country.

READ MORE: Rest and Be Thankful closure - Motorists face 59-mile diversion after landslip

Businesses who rely on the important Highlands artery, believe a permanent solution to the landslip issues has to have been found by now.


And Aileen Morton, the Argyll and Bute Council leader said there should be "no more prevaricating and faffing about" after a decade of requests for a permanent solution and that the Scottish Government should make a commitment to resolving the issue "right now".

Iain Jurgensen, chairman of the Argyll and The Isles Tourism Co-operative (AITC) says a solution is available to reroute the road using an existing track which has not got the same slippage issues.

Bear Scotland said on Thursday that staff were at the Rest And Be Thankful and would begin a clearance operation when it was safe.

The A83 connects the Central Belt, via the A82 from Glasgow, to the Kintyre peninsula, all the way down to Campbeltown.

The latest major landslip to hit the road came on the day of the Inverary funeral of one of the leading campaigners for solutions to the A83, Donald Clark, who ran the George Hotel in the town, and sat on the road taskforce.

Mr Jurgensen, who is also managing director of Portavadie, the popular holiday resort overlooking Loch Fyne, said: "That road is a lifeline. How many more times does it have to happen before it falls on someone who is actually travelling. Do people have to die before anything happens.

"That might sound melodramatic, but if you are beneath that landslip when you are driving through at night...

"This piecemeal approach is just not what is required.


The suggested reroute

"I have had to come through Helensburgh across the ferry to get to work. We have a full house of guests arriving today.

"And we have Mr Clark, whose funeral many people will have been trying to get to. It is ironic that the road they would use to play their last respects, is not open today, given his views."

READ MORE: Rest and Be Thankful partially reopens after Storm Callum landslip chaos

He said having spoken to contractors and people who have carried out goods transportation in the area for years he has found the consistent solution was to reroute the road using a track running parallel to the the A83.

"The land is already owned by the Forestry Commission and it does not have the same kind of slippage because the terrain is completely different.

"With the climate differing, the amount of rainfall coming down, is this the right way forward to have [short term] mitigation. It has not caught the debris. It might have reduced the amount to get the road open quicker, but it is still not a long-term solution.

"We need a robust, key artery road that is open constantly.

"If this was Edinburgh, we would have had three different routes to choose from by now.

"And is not the voters here that are the only ones affected, it is the millions who come to do business, or to be tourists. "It affects a business's viability when people choose to go elsewhere because they lose confidence that the road will be open during the winter. It is seriously bad PR for all Argyll busineses, trying very hard to stay afloat in difficult, challenging times."

Bear Scotland, which said it received reports of debris on the A83 at 3am said ferry options were also available to travellers via Western and CalMac Ferries.

The Rest and Be Thankful is the highest point of a scenic ten mile route running from Tarbet to the A83's junction with the B828. The words Rest & Be Thankful are inscribed on a stone near the junction, placed there by soldiers who built the original military road in 1753, now referred to as the Drovers' road.

The road closed for several days in 2014 following a 2,000 tonne landslip, then again in 2016 after a huge boulder threatened the safety of traffic. A controlled explosion had to be carried out on the 150-tonne rock.

In October 2018, the road was shut for nine days after about 2,500 tonnes of landslide debris reached catch-fences above the carriageway.

Ms Morton added: “The Scottish Government needs to make a commitment right now to finding a permanent solution for the A83 – no more prevaricating and faffing about, no more talking about processes and procedures, no more delays.

"The A83 is a crucial part of Argyll’s transport network and therefore a crucial part of Scotland’s transport network when you consider the scale of high value products such as whisky, timber and seafood that are produced here.


“The last landslip had a hugely negative impact on local businesses, and as well as day-to-day inconvenience for local residents it caused problems with essential services such as access to medical treatment.

"The council and the people of Argyll and Bute have been asking for a permanent solution for a decade. Enough is enough – we need an announcement today that work is starting on finding a permanent solution.”