FAQ: A83 Rest and Be Thankful

Following significant landslides in 2020, a bespoke operational strategy has been implemented to facilitate the safe use of the A83 corridor at the Rest and Be Thankful. The questions and answers below explain the issue in more detail.

  1. Where exactly is the Rest & Be Thankful located?
    The Rest and Be Thankful is located on the A83 in Argyll and Bute, between Arrochar and Inveraray. The stretch of road is over 240 metres above sea level and passes through Glen Croe. The current A83 was constructed in the 1930s and is cut into the side of the hill. It replaced the historic Old Military Road which runs along the valley floor with a steep hairpin section at the north end of the Glen.
  2. The Rest and Be Thankful’s name The road climbs steeply out of Glen Croe and traditionally, travellers would stop at the top, rest and ‘be thankful’. The route is still popular with cyclists as well as being a lifeline route for residents in Argyll.
  3. How are landslides triggered in the area?
    Landslides are triggered by heavy rainfall or snow melt and normally occur after prolonged wet periods. This causes over-saturation of the ground, which can lead to debris such as mud and rocks sliding down the hill.
  4. What is the history of landslides at the Rest and be Thankful?
    There is a history of landslides ranging from very minor slips with no impact on the road to significant events. In August and September 2020, a combined total of 16,000 tonnes of material was displaced from the hillside.
  5. What has been done to reduce the impact of landslides?
    The Old Military Road, a single track road which runs alongside the A83, is used under convoy control as a local diversion when there’s a landslide or concerns about hillside conditions above the A83.
    To prevent debris from reaching the A83, several measures have been taken, such as installing debris fences, roadside catch-pits and improving drainage. To date, six catch-pits have been built near the A83. Additionally, a temporary bund (embankment) has been set up near the Old Military Road below the area affected by the 2020 events, to make the local diversion route more resilient.

    Rest and Be Thankful channel 3b catchpit
    Rest and Be Thankful channel 3b catchpit
  6. How is the landslide risk being monitored?
    The A83 is monitored daily to keep road users safe. This includes checking detailed weather forecasts, estimating saturation levels, monitoring slopes and inspections by geotechnical engineers to ensure the road operates safely.
  7. What traffic managements arrangements are in place on the A83?
    Ensuring road users’ safety is the top priority. BEAR Scotland and Transport Scotland monitor daily weather forecasts and live information from the site. When necessary, traffic lights and a convoy system may be used on the A83. During the most severe weather, the Old Military Road can also serve as a local diversion route under convoy control.
    Read more here about the range of traffic management responses that are being used. 
  8. Is there a diversion route if the A83 is impassable?
    The Old Military Road local diversion route is used under convoy control. In exceptional circumstances, if it’s unsafe to use the Old Military Road, traffic will be diverted onto the A82/A85/A819. You can view a diversion route map here.
  9. How long is the diversion route?
    The Old Military Road local diversion is the same distance as the route on the A83. However, as it is a single track road, it’s operated under a convoy system for safety. Travelling along this route takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes, compared to three to six minutes on the A83.
    In rare circumstances, when the longer diversion route is necessary, it can add up to 60 miles to your journey. However, for most trips, the extension is around 30 miles, depending on your starting and ending points. Since 2021, the longer route hasn’t been needed due to landslides at the Rest and be Thankful, although it has been used for other emergencies.
  10. Why is the Rest and Be Thankful particularly impacted by bad weather?
    The soil type, steepness of the hillsides and the A83’s location, along with Argyll’s climate, make this area susceptible to landslides, which can affect the trunk road’s operation.
  11. Are works currently underway at the Rest and Be Thankful?
    The latest phase of landslide prevention work, an additional debris pit, was finished in summer 2023. Due to recent hillside shifts, traffic signals are currently in place at the site while the movements are monitored.
  12. Is a new road being built through Glen Croe?
     Transport Scotland and consultants are working on the Access to Argyll and Bute (A83) project. A debris shelter will be constructed over the A83 to protect road users from landslides.
    For more information on the project visit the Transport Scotland website here.
  13. What should I consider when planning a journey via the Rest and Be Thankful?
    While full closures of the A83 are uncommon, road users are advised to plan their trips using the latest travel advice provided on the Traffic Scotland website, specifically the A83 Rest and Be Thankful section. This resource informs you about daily traffic management arrangements and provides an estimate of journey times through the Glen.