North Ardnamurchan Path
Start location: Kilchoan (NM 483 638)
End location: Acharacle (NM 676 685)
Geographical area: Lochaber
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 40km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Take the road from Kilchoan NW in the direction of Achnaha and leave it at map ref 474 675, 200 metres north of the bridge over the Allt Uamha na Muice. Climb a stile over the deer fence and follow the waymarked path NNE which joins up with a track also coming from the road but starting at map ref 469 678. Continue NE along this signposted path across a circular plain about 4km in diameter surrounded on almost all sides by low gabbro hills, which are the only visible remains of a once great volcano across whose crater the path goes. Reach Glendrian and at map ref 475 692 go N to within ½km of the coast, then turn E to Fascadale. Continue E by a minor road to Achateny, then along a track to Kilmory. It is possible to go S from either Achateny or Kilmory to reach the B8007 road where there is a bus service.
To continue to Acharacle, go E from Kilmory by a road to Ockle, then by a good path over rough terrain, passing Gortenfern and through the forest to Gorteneorn. Finally, go along the track on the south side of Kentra Bay to Arivegaig from where it is 2km to Acharacle.
OS Landranger 47 (Tobermory & North Mull) & 40 (Loch Shiel)
George Langlands' "This Map of Argyllshire" (1801) shows two sections of this route; that between Faiscadal and Ochdale, and that between Gortanfern and Acharacle. The OS first edition 6" map (surveyed in 1872) shows the route in its entirety.
Cattle from the Outer Isles landed at Kilchoan and were driven through Ardnamurchan - the track between Ockle and Acharacle is one such former drove road. Between Gorteneorn and Kentra the OS first edition 6" map shows a system of fords and tracks crossing and skirting Kentra Bay below the high tide line. Today the track runs over land to Arivegaig.
At Dalilea east of Acharacle, by Loch Shiel, lived the Rev. Alexander MacDonald (known as Maighstir Alasdair), Episcopal minister of Ardnamurchan. He is famed for the great journey he made every Sunday from Dalilea to preach at Kilchoan. We haven't been able to ascertain the exact route he took, but it is possible that he came this way at least as far as Kilmory, then turned south.
Interestingly, in 1732 his son, the reknowned Gaelic poet Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair, whilst he was a teacher for the Society in Scotland for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) established a school at Kilmory. He taught "Seventeen Boyes & One Girle, One Learning the Bible, Three the New Testament, The rest the Proverbs & Catechism" . A school is marked on the OS first edition 6" map - as the Education Act only brought in compulsory schooling in 1872, the same year as the survey, is this Alasdair Mac Mhaighstir Alasdair's Kilmory school?