The Marble Road
Start location: Loch Glencoul (NC 242 317)
End location: Ardvreck Castle (NC 242 237)
Geographical area: Sutherland
Path Type: Industrial Path
Path distance: 8.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Start from the Inchnadamph car park at NC251216 and walk north on the A837 until Ardvreck Castle is reached. Alternatively this section on the modern road can be left out and the walk can be started from Ardvreck Castle. Leave the road at NC242237 and follow the track to Achmore Farm.
Pass east of the farm and continue along the track which now ascends the shoulder of Glas Bheinn. The track is obvious but is wet in places. After the highest point the track descends and is crossed at NC239284 by the path to the Eas a’ Chual Aluinn waterfall. Ignore this path and keep straight on until the A837 is reached at NC239288. The track now runs along the west side of the modern road before crossing it at NC240292. After a steep descent the A837 is reached again. Follow the A837 until NC236303 where the old track leaves the road and continues to the shore of Loch Glencoul at NC241316.
The route is shown on the 1:25,000 OS map, but this is only a partial survey, so a survey of the whole route is really needed. The uncertain parts are:
1. Does any trace of the southern section from Ledmore (or Ledbeg) to Inchnadamph still exist, or is it overlaid by the A837? This section has been excluded from the route description
2. At the north end does the route follow the path which meets the sea at Newton NC 241 316 or is the last section of the old road overlaid by the A837? The First Edition OS Six Inch map supports the first of these possibilities and that is what has been assumed here.
This is the ‘Marble Road’ or Lairig Unapool. It is recorded that ‘For a few years before 1820, marble quarried at Ledbeg was brought down to Unapool on "tracts for the heavy waggons", and exported by a native of Newcastle’ (NSAS Assynt V15, 114). It is also mentioned in Tom Strang's booklet Walk Sutherland and in a leaflet Walks around Assynt by the Assynt Footpath Group. The last two publications say that the road was from Ledmore, where there still is a marble quarry, rather than Ledbeg.