Loch Monar Drove Road
Start location: Ford west of Braulen Lodge (NH 226 391)
End location: Craig (NH 041 492)
Geographical area: Ross and Cromarty, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 30.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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From the Monar Dam walk along the north shore of the enlarged Loch Monar. After about 10km, go N from there up the Abhainn Srath Mhuilich past Loch Mhuilich to the col on the north side of Bidean an Eoin Deirg, then down An Crom-allt on its north-west side. At map ref 113 468 bear WNW across rough peaty ground towards a small plantation, from where a track goes WSW over the watershed to the Allt a' Chonais and down the glen to Craig.
OS Landranger 25 (Glen Carron & surrounding area)
This is an old drove road which is shown on Roy's map of 1755. The right of way crosses the railway at Craig, site of a former inn. Here gates were provided for the passage of the droves. As recently as the First World War, cattle were driven from Patt Monar to Achnashellach Station along the line of this route.
The water level of Loch Monar used to be much lower until the inundation caused by the hydro-electric scheme in the 1950s, so the original line along the north shore of Loch Monar is lost. However looking at OS maps today a network of hillpaths can still be seen converging on the area around Pait Lodge.
Iain R Thomson's fascinating book "Isolation Shepherd" (1984) is full of detail about the way of life around Loch Monar before the coming of the hydro. He lived at Strathmore which lay across the then narrows of Loch Monar from Pait. His account testifies to the potential harshness of weather conditions in Glen Strathfarrar. He tells of a party of climbers lost in blizzard conditions after an ascent of Sgurr a Chaorachain from Achnashellach. Fortunately they found Strathmore and after fortification were able to get back through Strath Mhuillich. However around 1900 a passing tramp heading from Monar to Strathmore wasn't so lucky. Caught in a March storm his body was found in a snow drift in April; his name was never determined.