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A ScotWays helper with one of the oldest recreational signs in the world, now lost.  Taken by an unknown photographer. 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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Ceann a' Mhaim Coffin Road

Start location: A87, 1 km W of Invergarry (NH 297 012)
End location: A887, Achlain (NH 280 123)
Geographical area: Lochaber, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
Path Type: Coffin Road
Path distance: 12.2km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians

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Route Description

According to Old Tracks: Cross-Country Routes and Coffin Roads in the North-West Highlands by A E Robertson (1941): "there is an interesting old cut across from Glen Garry to Glen Moriston. It is a ‘coffin’ road and used as such until recently.
The route starts from a place called Seanna-bhaile (old ground) and it goes more or less straight to Loch Lundie and on to near the top of Ceann a Mhaim where the coffin was rested, refreshments partaken of, and a cairn built. A number of the cairns are still seen.
The route then went over the east shoulder of the hill and down to Achlean in Glen Moriston. The graveyard is on the opposite side of the river, and there is a ford below the farmhouse quite close to the churchyard."

This route is not easy to follow as there is no track on the open hillside.

OS Landranger 34 (Fort Augustus & Glen Albyn area)

Heritage Information

A E Robertson continues: "Here is a quaint tale told me by a Glen Moriston man. His uncle was staying at Invergarry when something went wrong with his leg and he had to have it amputated. His brother came across and carried the leg over Ceann a Mhaim and buried it in the old graveyard where they would all one day rest. This was 46 years ago and shows what store the old Highlanders laid on their being buried, as far, as possible, whole and intact, so that at the resurrection they would arise perfect and entire."

Our records from 1929 state that the graveyard was called Clachan Mheirchard, and it was there that a bell used to ring for a few nights previous to the funeral. It was also said that the stone on which the bell rested was still to be seen in the clachan. According to the New Statistical Account (1846) in Glen Moriston "are St Erchard's seat, well, church and churchyard", and although there is no trace or local knowledge of a church the graveyard can be seen marked on the OS 6" map of Inverness-shire published in 1874. In 1964, the OS reported that this graveyard dedicated to St Merchard was still being used, the oldest inscriptions on the gravestones dating back to the mid nineteenth century. However, it is certainly older than that as the Old Statistical Account (1791-1799) refers to Clachan Merecheard as one of two burying places in Glenmoriston. Another clue to its age may be its near circular shape - elsewhere this has been said to possibly indicate a very early date.

 

 



 

 

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