General Wade's Military Road, Moy to Inverness
Start location: Milton of Leys (NH 693 417)
End location: Moy (NH 769 341)
Geographical area: Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
Path Type: Military Road
Path distance: 13.7km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Newsflash (November 2021): from 9pm on 26th November to 9am on 30th November, this right of way will be temporarily closed at Moy (Lynebeg) where it passes under the railway. The existing stone arch railway bridge is being replaced with a concrete structure as part of changes to the road network resulting from the A9 Dualling Project. Once the new bridge is in place and the right of way has re-opened, any further disruption should be short-term in nature such as 10min hold-ups or being guided through the area by a member of the construction team.
As this is quite a long stretch of Old Military Road, our route description is of necessity a composite of surveys which took place at different times and by different people:
i) From Wade's Roundabout, take Stevenson Road west, then head south along Old Edinburgh Road South. This vehicular road increasingly narrows until it reaches the right hand turning for Druid Temple Farm; a sign declares the old way continuing ahead unsuitable for motor vehicles. The old road although still tarmacced narrows further, then becomes an unmade path. The line of the route is wholly obvious at all times, and the hard bottoming is apparent, albeit somewhat overgrown, eroded and in various stages of decay. The route is defined by fences/dykes for the greater part of its length and is distinct from the surrounding farms and woodland. At the north end, new housing development is taking place to the east, but the line of the route is unaffected. It runs between fields, then through scrubland and a forest plantation (some felled, some standing) to meet the minor road south-west of Daviot. In places, nearby vegetation - broom and gorse - periodically encroaches and requires cutting back.
ii) The Bridge of Faillie section (that which lies between the two roads which roughly parallel the River Nairn) requires re-surveying, but we are told that it is overgrown in places with bracken. Although the path has almost disappeared under grass, it is still clear where to walk as the grass has been flattened.
iii) At NH713376, a ScotWays sign indicates "Public Footpath to Moy". Following the track as it heads generally south, a second sign at NH712373 is all but invisible on approach as it is buried in the middle of a broom bush. This sign is supposed to indicate the left fork "Public Footpath", as the right fork (i.e. the more westerly route) is DEFINITELY a 'No go' - a sign prohibits entry to walkers, cyclists etc. and warns of heavy lorries passing at frequent intervals. Taking the left fork, a good, dry, unmade road goes as far as Auchbain. At NH718368, enter the forest by a farm gate and kissing gate with Forest Enterprise waymarking. Continuing along forest tracks, at the NH722359 junction is a white-on-brown sign, "Wade’s Bridge 1 km", pointing west (this diversion from the waymarked through route leads to the bridge at NH715361 and confirms the more westerly route which now passes through the quarry as the original military road).
iv) Onwards from the NH722359 junction as far as circa NH730346, the route continues to follow forestry tracks as the original line was affected by the realignment of the A9 in the late 1970s.
v) The original line can be picked up again from NH729348 onwards. We have previously received reports of fallen trees in the forestry section and waterlogging owing to blocked drainage in the open section, so again updates would be greatly appreciated. Although the Old Military Road is clear all the way to the B9154, it is necessary to cross the A9 in order to get to the signposted endpoint by the railway bridge (and bus-stop) in Moy.
To give everyone an idea of what to expect, here is a link to John Davidson's video of his walk of the route in December 2010. Equally helpfully, Colin Cadden's October 2014 blog describes travelling the route south to north by bike.
OS Landranger 26 (Inverness & Strathglass area) and 27 (Nairn & Forres)
This route forms a section of the military road from Dunkeld to Inverness. Built between 1728 and 1730 under the orders of General Wade, it was 102 miles long. Further sections of this lengthy Military Road which are described on this website are the piece past Old Blair, the stretch south-west of Ruthven Barracks and that via the Slochd.
Near NH729349 lies a cairn commemorating the "Rout of Moy". On 16/17th February 1746, a handful of Jacobites routed a small army of Hanoverians at night, seemingly by pretending that peat stacks were large groups of clansmen. The skirmish resulted in only one fatality - the piper, Donald Ban MacCrimmon. The information board at the site relates that his death had been foretold.
In the 1930s this route was a motor-road, so it has hard bottoming in places. It is also known as the Old Edinburgh Road. Perhaps it is a tribute to the military roadbuilders that when the A9 north-west of Moy was realigned in the 1970s, its line reverted to one similar to Wade's original alignment.