Revitalising Scotland's Historic Paths for the Future
Contact Details
The Paths
Campsie Fells
Learning Resources
Support Us

Alt tag for above image Heritage Paths Project
Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society
24 Annandale Street
T: 0131 558 1222

Join Us


Keyword Search






Path of the Month
Inverie to Glen Dessary Path
Inverie to Glen Dessary Path

Site Design & Hosting by
Digital Routes

© Heritage Paths



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

Route Description

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 bridge* 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.

*In 2019, a new bridge replaced the suspension footbridge (NM865964) over the River Carnach which following deterioration and damage had been closed and removed the previous year. The bridge was rebuilt by the Camusrory Estate with contributions from ScotWays, the Scottish Mountaineering TrustMountaineering Scotland, the Mountain Bothies Association, the Donald Bennet Memorial Fund and others. 



Copyright: Peter Moore | Credits: NM987915 looking WSW along the track into the wilderness beyond Loch Arkaig (2018).

Copyright: sylvia duckworth | Credits: NM981914 looking east to Loch Arkaig from Strathan barracks (2008).

Copyright: bill copland | Credits: NM936935: The path from Glen Dessary to Loch Nevis (2006). The ancient path contours westwards along the side of Sgurr Cos na Breachd-Laoigh.

Copyright: P Leedell | Credits: NM902944 looking NE along the path beside Lochan a' Mhaim (2006).

Copyright: Doug Lee | Credits: NM899943 looking west at the western half of Lochan a' Mhaim (2016).




Click here to view this path on a map


Copyright: ronnie leask | Credits: NM911949 in 1969: this March cairn, one of three adjacent cairns, at the watershed of the Mam na Cloich Airde (pass of the high rocks) in Glen Dessary, marks the boundaries of the three adjoining old clan territories - Lochiel, Lovat & Glengarry. Copyright: Doug Lee | Credits: NM928940: looking northwest along the path between Glendessary and Sourlies (2012). Copyright: Callum Black | Credits: NM987915 looking WSW at the Loch Arkaig road end (2009). The public road down Loch Arkaig ends at this gate. All routes beyond lead into wild, remote country.
Copyright: Steven Brown | Credits: NM980914 looking west toward the track junction at Strathan (2014). Copyright: Doug Lee | Credits: NM974921 looking NW along the path in Glendessary, here a decent landrover track to the buildings a little further up the glen. Later it degenerates into a very boggy track (2012). Copyright: bill copland | Credits: NM956930 looking along the track leading west to Upper Glendessary cottage, part of the right-of-way from Loch Arkaig to Loch Nevis (2006).
Copyright: David Brown | Credits: NM948932 looking west along the path in upper Glen Dessarry; the pointed peak is Sgurr na h-Aide (2009). Copyright: bill copland | Credits: NM945932: The path from Glen Dessary to Loch Nevis, looking eastwards down Glen Dessary (2006). Copyright: Alan Reid | Credits: NM903946: Approaching Lochan a' Mhim from the east (1971).
Copyright: ronnie leask | Credits: NM894942 looking ENE at Lochan a Mhaim, the westmost of two lochans just west of the summit of the pass through Glen Dessary from Loch Arkaig to Loch Nevis. This lochan is at an altitude of 850 feet (1996).


Scotways logo

Scottish Natural Heritage

Heritage Lottery Fund

ScotGov logo

Leader logo

Europe logo