Drove Road to Kinloch Hourn
Start location: Road at Kinloch Hourn (NG 954 065)
End location: Glenelg (NG 812 192)
Geographical area: Skye and Lochalsh, Lochaber
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 23.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Newsflash: on 10th November 2018, a landslip near Loch Quoich dam closed the only road to Kinloch Hourn, thus affecting access to this old drove road, the Old Road to Knoydart via Barrisdale Bay and the Glen Quoich Coffin Road. In December 2018, Mountaineering Scotland reported that although a temporary bypass for ATVs is in place, it includes a potentially dangerous burn crossing, so is not advised. Pedestrian access to Kinloch Hourn via the Loch Quoich road is unlikely to be restored until late May 2019.
Our route description is in the opposite direction to that which the drovers took with their cattle.
Cross the bridge at Kinloch Hourn, go through the grounds of Kinloch Hourn House, passing on its right into the woods behind the house, and climb steeply up a path to a pass at about 270m. 400 metres beyond the pass fork left down to the Allt a’ Choire Reidh, which is crossed near Lochan Torr a’ Choit. From this lochan keep northwest along the path which climbs a little for 1km and then descends into Gleann Dubh Lochain. Crossing the river here can be difficult after heavy rain. Continue northwest up the Allt an Tomain Odhair, fording the Allt a' Choire Odhair and onwards to the Bealach Aoidhdailean. Descend north-northwest on the northeast side of the Allt Ghleann Aoidhdailean, which has also to be forded, to reach a track at the head of Gleann Beag after crossing a final ford. Go down the glen by this track past Balvraid and the well-preserved remains of Pictish brochs to reach the road beside the Sound of Sleat, 1.5km south of Glenelg.
OS Landranger 33 (Loch Alsh, Glen Shiel and surrounding area)
Droves of cattle from Skye came ashore at Kylerhea, took this route south to Kinloch Hourn and then largely followed the line of the present day public road to Loch Garry, crossing a ford probably at Torr na Carraidh to get to Greenfield where there was a choice of routes onwards, such as the drove road to Gleann Cia-aig via Fedden.
In 1981, the journey from Skye to Crieff was recreated by Irvine Butterfield with 29 Highland bullocks and a cow called Matilda. They followed this old drove road froom Glenelg towards Kinloch Hourn, but took a diversion at the Bealach Aoidhdailean to Achadh a' Ghlinne, thereafter returning to the historic route via Glen Arnisdale and Geann Dubh Lochain. His book The Famous Highland Drove Walk (1996) tells their story, maps their route and shares the history of the drovers besides.