Fort Augustus Military Road
Start location: Achlain on A887 (NH 280 123)
End location: Allt Phocaichain, where it joins the drove road to Fort Augustus (NH 325 110)
Geographical area: Lochaber
Path Type: Military Road
Path distance: 5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Leave road about 150m east of Achlain and follow marked path under power lines. Continue uphill through the forest over some old stone bridges that may have been part of the early road. Crossing the Allt Phocaichain, the old military road joins the Drove Road to Fort Augustus.
OS Landranger 34 (Fort Augustus)
The 43 mile long road from Bernera to Fort Augustus was built between 1755 and 1763, but most of the original line now lies under the modern road network or in close proximity to it; this small section between Achlain and Fort Augustus is a notable exception. East of the Allt Phocaichain, the military upgraded the existing drove road to Fort Augustus - drovers continued to use it after its relatively brief phase of military use. From Fort Augustus, the military road continued onwards through the Corrieyairack Pass to Laggan.
According to William Taylor's The Military Roads in Scotland (1976), a map of the route between the barracks at Bernera ad Fort Augustus was drawn by Daniel Paterson in 1746; plans must have continued to progress as in 1749 Caulfeild was reporting that the road could be finished in a year by 600 men. The route is also shown on Roy's Military Survey map (1747-1755) labelled as Road from Bernera to Fort Augustus, although presumably as a planned line not the actual road. Incidentally, Roy only maps it as far as Ratagan, perhaps there was doubt as to where the line should go? Despite the mapping and reports, it appears that work did not commence until 1755 and the records indicate that the soldiers available to work on the task were nowhere near the number proposed by Caulfeild six years earlier. From 1763 to 1784, the reports appear to indicate ongoing maintenance rather than construction - work on drains, bridges or culverts. However, it worthy of note that the Old Statistical Account (1791-1799) stated that "the military road from Fort Augustus to Bernera... has for several years past fallen into great disrepair, being totally neglected by Government".