|Ainslie's map 1820- Intended road to Portpatrick|
In 1809, Thomas Telford surveyed the route of a new road from Carlisle to Portpatrick, where a new harbour was planned. The route was re-surveyed by John Rennie in 1811. I have now found some details of this route. Unfortunately the original source is garbled
but I have reconstructed John Rennie's description of part of the proposed route - shown in green on John Ainslie's 1820 map of Southern Scotland. [From NLS maps website]
The road was not built, but was used by the Portpatrick Railway built 1859-62. I found the Ainslie map a few years ago and was puzzled by the 'Intended Road'. With the new information about the Telford/ Rennie proposal it now makes a bit more sense. Although there are three books on the Portpatrick Railway - D. Smith 'The Little Railways of South West Scotland', H Thorne 'Rails to Portpatrick' and C Fryer 'The Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Railways', none mention that the route of the railway through the hills from Creetown to Parton was based on the older road proposal. Someone must have dusted off the Telford/ Rennie surveys and used them, but how and why this happened remains a mystery.
John Rennie's description of Creetown to Parton section of new Carlisle to Portpatrick road.
|Loch Skerrow to Loch Stroan section of Portpatrick Railway|
The new Road is proposed
to depart from the Road leading from Newton Stewart to Cree Town
about three quarters of a mile west of the latter place, and from
thence it proceeds up the vale of the Money Pool Burn to Drumore. The
highest part of the ground in this district is about 462 feet above
the Newton, Stewart Road, and is about six miles distant from it the
rise is very regular, and in no place will it be greater than one
foot in 35 ; but generally the rise is not half of that quantity. A
new Road is now making in this direction, and indeed a great part of
it has already been made. It has however been badly laid out, and
will require to be altered in several places. From this summit, the Road descends gently to
Drumore east of which it crosses the great Fleet River, and then
ascends up a vale to the ridge of high ground between thence and the
little Fleet, the highest part of which is 428 feet, and no part is
the rise more than one in 39. From the Little Fleet, the line of Road
runs to Loch Skerrow and skirting the south side of that Loch, it
descends gradually to Stroan Loch: the steepest part is
about one in 38.
Loch Stroan forms the
source of the River Dee, which, after passing through a circuitous
vale, discharges its water into Loch Kenn, between the Ferry of Roan
and a place called Loup Eye, a ridge of rocks which runs across the
The line of Road must
necessarily cross the Dee, near the place where it comes out of the
Loch, and in this place a Bridge will be required, where the Dee is
small; and Mr. Morrison informs me that the situation is favourable.
From this place, Mr. Morrison has surveyed two lines, the one to pass
down the Vale of the Dee and cross Loch Kenn at the Boat or Ferry of
Roan; the other, to recross the Dee at Newbridge, and pass down the
South side of the Vale to Loup Eye, and there to cross Loch Kenn. At
the former place the water of Loch Kenn is deep, but the channel is
much narrower than at Loup Eye : it cannot be conveniently Crossed,
unless by a Bridge of one Arch, which will require to be 180 feet
span; this can easily be done economically by a cast-iron arch, and
even with such an arch the expense will be great, amounting, as per
annexed Estimate, to £ 14,201. This is far beyond what I expected it
would cost; but much of the expense arises from the badness of the
foundations, all of which will require to be piled,
I have made a Design for
a Stone Bridge across Loch Kenn, on the ridge of rocks at Loup Eye;
this Bridge is proposed to have five Arches, and the estimated
expense is, £.8,717.
From Loch Kenn, Mr.
Morrison has surveyed two lines, the one by the Vale of Laggan, to
join the New Galloway Road at the Water of Orr; the other by Loch
Lurkey, to join the Dumfries Road at Auchinreoch Loch. The former is
not only the longest by something more than three quarters of a mile,
but the summit of this line is 61 feet higher; it is however more
regular in its rise and fall, and there is less of it to
make by two miles, on account of its junction with the New Galloway
Road; and besides, the expense of a new Bridge over the River Orr
will be saved, which must be built if the other line is followed.
Under these circumstances, it will be a matter for consideration,
which of the two lines will be most advantageous for the country; but
even the shortest line does not rise more in any place than one in
The whole length of the
new proposed Road, from its departure from the Newton Stewart Road
west of Cree Town, to its junction with the Dumfries Road near
Auchinreoch Loch, is 27 miles and 374 yards; which is shorter than by
Gate House and Castle Douglas by eight miles.