Rest and Be Thankful

I was up in Scotland over the weekend and got the chance to embark on a walk from Tarbet to a place called Rest and Be Thankful at the top of Glen Croe in Argyll.  The full account of that excursion is best left for my hillwalking blog but it is sufficient to say that I got a few hours of sun on what later turned into a day on which nigh on incessant rain could attenuate one’s enthusiasm.  Even with the soaking, it was still a good day out.

The name “Rest and Be Thankful” needs a spot of explanation given how odd it might appear. As far as I know, it dates from the days when cattle were routinely drive from the Highlands to the markets in the Lowlands. The place it describes is at the top of pass lying between Cairndow and Arrochar. Doubtless, a rest was needed after the ascent from the former and that may have something to do with the naming of the place. The fact that it could be sort of place where you might linger on a good day helps the understanding. Somewhat surprisingly given all of this, no one has ever thought to build an inn up there, particularly given what drovers enjoyed for their recreation. To this very day, the place is bereft of any facilities apart from a car park frequented by a canny mobile takeaway. I suppose that some would object to there being anything more than this so as to leave the area as near unspoilt as is possible with Forestry Commission plantations everywhere.

My real reason for mentioning Rest and Be Thankful on here is because of the bus stop arrangements. Though the possibility of hailing a Scottish Citylink 926 or 976 anywhere along its route so long as the stopping place is a safe one, the A83 makes the operation tricky with all of the said road’s twists and turns as it weaves its way through the hills. That is partly the cause of Glasgow bound coaches stopping using a lay-by at the other side of the road. Anyone embarking on a return trip to Rest and Be Thankful should be told of the arrangement but I was ignorant of this because I had walked there and hailed the coach from the obvious side of the road. Because the A83 is busy anyway, I was none too surprised to see where the coach went, even it meant a dash across the thoroughfare on my part. I then got the explanation of the stopping arrangements so I thought that I’d share them here in case anyone plans to do something akin to what I did.

Perhaps confusingly, the 926 and 976 are operated by West Coast Motors in their own livery. This follows a silly bus war last summer following Citylink’s decision to use Parks and Stagecoach in place of WCM, who had the work for quite a while. I have related the sorry tale already but I am glad that an amicable conclusion was reached by both sides. The timetable is back to where it was last winter and it’ll be interesting to see what is planned for the coming summer, though I reckon that the current economic climate could curtail any ambitious plans. Whatever happens, let’s hope that wasteful bus wars can be avoided for the foreseeable future.

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