Slochd Military Road
Start location: A95/B9153 junction, north of Kinveachy (NH 910 187)
End location: Raigbeg (NH 811 291)
Geographical area: Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Cairngorms National Park
Path Type: Military Road
Path distance: 18km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Newsflash: 6th May 2018 sees a guided walk along this Old Military Road as part of the Walks Programme arranged by ScotWays for its members. Other historic routes included in this year's programme are the Greenock Cut, the Kelly Cut and the Tain Drove Roads. If you're not yet a ScotWays member, please consider joining up as membership helps support the Heritage Paths project and it'd be great to see you on the walks!
From the A95/B9153 junction, take the private road towards Kinveachy Lodge - although it passes under the railway, a careful crossing of the A9 is required. Immediately after the crossing, turn right onto General Wade's Military Road which heads in a north-westerly direction through the forest. After 5km, cross the narrow public road which runs south-west from Carrbridge - if the gate on the north side is found to be locked, those who can't climb it can regain the route by an easy diversion north-east along the road to pick up National Cycle Network route 7 heading west which soon rejoins the military road; this diversion may be preferable in any case to equestrians as beyond the gate the military road heads steeply downhill and is laid with stones that can be greasy. Once past the gate, continue downhill and cross the River Dulnain by Caulfeild's Sluggan Bridge. NCN7 continues to follow the military road almost to Insharn, but then heads north. However, the old road heads west from Insharn and after 200m or so crosses a small stone arch bridge, then turns right through a gate into the forest. Go uphill along a good track by the edge of a forest to reach the railway. Go under it and continue along its east side to join the old A9 and follow it into the Slochd Mor. Cross the new A9 at Slochd summit to reach the moorland on the north-east side of the road - again great care is needed, especially as a stretch of dual carriageway ends shortly to the left, so it may take some time. Follow the military road north-west; initially it is used an access track to a communications mast, but it becomes merely a depression in the heather. It gradually descends to cross the River Findhorn at Raigbeg.
South of the Slochd, this route is easy cycling; to the north it is more challenging. Colin Cadden has helpfully blogged his experience of cycling the whole route, read about it here. Colin's photo set from his ride may also provide useful clues for routefinding.
OS Landranger 35 (Kingussie & Monadhliath Mountains)
The Old Military Road between Dunkeld and Inverness was built between 1728 and 1730 under the auspices of General Wade. Much of it now lies under the A9, but a few sections* such as this stretch via the Slochd take a different alignment and can still be followed. The Slochd Mor is a narrow pass, hence this strategic gap is shared with the railway as well as the modern road. At 1300ft, the Slochd summit is one of the highest points on the old route between Inverness and Perth.
The Sluggan Bridge was built by Caulfeild in 1764 to replace the ford on Wade's road. Just five years later, it was necessary to rebuild the bridge, it having been destroyed by floods. At the turn of the eighteenth century the Sluggan Bridge was bypassed, along with the section of road to its south, by the building of the direct road from Carrbridge to the Slochd.
Just north of the Slochd, there is a Wade marker stone. These are found on the higher sections of some of the military roads; they were probably line of sight markers and would have been an aid to winter travel. As you go up the A9 you can still see this prominent stone today. Other large marker stones lie at infrequent intervals along the route.
*Other sections of the Military Road from Dunkeld to Inverness which are described on this website are the stretch via Old Blair, that south-west of Ruthven Barracks and the Old Edinburgh Road from Moy to Inverness.