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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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Inverie to Glen Dessary Path

Start location: Inverie River (NM 797 991)
End location: Strathan (Loch Arkaig) (NM 987 916)
Geographical area: Lochaber
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 27km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians

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Route Description

Newsflash (August 2018): early this year TGO Magazine reported that the suspension footbridge (NM865964) over the River Carnach had been closed and removed - this is a dangerous river crossing and will usually be impassable without the bridge. As the bridge lies on a key popular access route to Knoydart, the Knoydart Foundation's Ranger Service has been providing updates. ScotWays and other outdoor organisations have pledged money towards the bridge's replacement. We have now heard that the new bridge is under construction in a yard in Fort William from where it will be transported to Mallaig. The current good weather and low water level has enabled the estate to reinforce the piers in readiness, but the bridge's actual installation depends on a further good weather window for transporting it up the loch. Update (28/08/2018): Camusrory Estate report the new bridge will be ready late spring or early summer 2019.

Start from the end of the public road near Strathan. Go up the private road on the north side of Glen Dessary past Glendessary Lodge and Upper Glendessary. About 2km west of Upper Glendessarry, take the path above the forest to cross the Allt Coire nan Uth (if in spate, use the bridge downstream, which is out of the sight of the path) and continue to the top of the pass, the Bealach an Lagain Duibh (310m), about 8km from Strathan. Continue west along a very rough path through the narrow defile of the Mam na Cloich Airde, then by a better path down to Sourlies bothy (MBA) at the head of Loch Nevis. Then go along the flat sandy shore at low tide, or over the headland at high tide, to reach the grassy flats at the outflow of the River Carnach, and cross the river by a suspension bridge (removed 2018) near the ruins of Carnoch village. From Carnoch, climb steeply northwest on a good path to a high pass, the Mam Meadail (550m), then down Gleann Meadail to cross the Inverie River and join the Old Road to Kinloch Hourn, turning west along which leads down to Inverie.

OS Landranger 33 (Loch Alsh, Glen Shiel & Loch Hourn)

Heritage Information

This old track appears in a number of old maps such as the 1st edition of OS 6 inch to the mile maps of the mid 19th century and the section from Loch Nevis to Loch Arkaig is depicted as a double lined road in John Thomson's Atlas of Scotland (1832). The path descending to the head of Loch Nevis was well constructed and at one place was even paved. It is probable that it was built at the time of the herring boom on the north-west coast when Loch Nevis was an important fishing ground, and the path was used by ponies carrying barrels of herring to the markets further south. The northern section of this route may have been used less and so may have not been in a good enough condition for Thomson to have included in his atlas.

 

 



 

 

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Copyright: ronnie leask

 

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