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Dere Street near Crailinghall.  Taken by Richard Warren. Heritage Paths Project
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Path of the Month
General Wade's Military Road, Crieff to Aberfeldy
General Wade's Military Road, Crieff to Aberfeldy

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Corrieyairack Pass

Start location: Unclassified road 0.5km SW of Ardachy Lodge (NH 373 071)
End location: Melgarve (NN 462 961)
Geographical area: Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
Path Type: Military Road, Drove Road
Path distance: 18.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians, Suitable for horses

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Route Description

Please note: this military road is legally protected through its designation by Historic Scotland as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It is a criminal offence to damage an ancient monument. The Highland Council has issued the following advice: "You can help to conserve the Corrieyairack: Please leave your vehicles before reaching the military road. The Corrieyairack is not maintained as a public road and is not suitable for use as one. Highland Council will not accept responsibility for any accident or injury caused by ignoring this warning. Please take precautions to minimize damage when walking on the road, such as avoiding the shortcuts that are eroding the traverses".

Although the usual eastern starting point of the route nowadays is Laggan village, going from there west along the north side of the River Spey, the original starting point was 2km west along the A86 on the south side of the river. The two variants join at the bridge over the Spey 3km west of Laggan. Continuing west, the route goes across an aqueduct at NN553932, where a track coming north from Kinloch Laggan joins the Wade road, providing an alternative and slightly shorter start. About 9km west of Laggan the road passes the old barracks and former inn at Garvamore, recrosses the Spey by Garva Bridge (a Wade bridge) and continues a further 6km to Melgarve at the end of the public road. A short distance up the burn just east of Melgarve, another bridge is hidden in the forest. This crossing was originally left as a ford by Wade but was often impassible so was replaced with a bridge by General Caulfeild.
At Melgarve (where the Soft Road for the Hoggs branches off southwest) the Corrieyairack track leaves the Spey and begins the climb WNW along the Allt Yairack to the pass, the last steep ascent in twelve zigzags. The 775m summit provides magnificent views, and there is a steep descent on the west side to the Allt Lagan a’ Bhainne bridge, which has recently been carefully restored to its original state. Continue down Glen Tarff high on the west side of the deep tree-lined gorge of the River Tarff to Culachy, and on reaching the public road go right then first left to Fort Augustus.

OS Landranger 34 (& 35 also useful if starting from Laggan)

Heritage Information

The Corrieyairack road was made by Hanoverian troops under General Wade's command in 1731 as a continuation of the road from Crieff to Dalnacardoch which continued across the Drumochter Pass to Dalwhinnie, where it divided, one branch going by Aviemore to Inverness and the other by Laggan to Fort Augustus. There was an older road between these two points before Wade’s time; it is shown on a map of 1725 in the British Museum. It was by the Corrieyairack that Prince Charles Edward Stewart marched south after raising his standard at Glenfinnan in 1745.

As this route was blocked by snow for months every winter, it was ultimately replaced by a better road from Spean Bridge by Loch Laggan to Kingussie. It did however continue to be used by drovers until the end of the nineteenth century.

Today much of the route is within sight of an overhead electricity transmission line.

 

 



 

 

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Copyright: Chris Wimbush Copyright: J M Briscoe Copyright: Chris Wimbush

 

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