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A person walking over a Wade bridge on the Corrieyairack Pass.  Taken by Peter Sanders. Heritage Paths Project
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Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society
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Path of the Month
Acharacle Drove Road
Acharacle Drove Road

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Acharacle Drove Road

Start location: track between Arivegaig and Acharacle (NM 665 675)
End location: B8007, Glenborrodale (NM 610 610)

Geographical area: Lochaber
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 10.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians

Route Description

Newsflash: public access to this old route to Acharacle is hampered by obstructions such as locked deer gates at the Glenborrodale end. ScotWays has been supporting The Highland Council in their efforts to resolve the access problems here. As part of this, THC's access team have been formally investigating the route's right of way status. Anyone who has used this route relatively regularly and/or over a long period of time, can still help by contacting THC's Access Officer, Stewart Eastaugh (Stewart.Eastaugh@highland.gov.uk). As of November 2021, a satisfactory resolution having not been reached, this case has reached the Sheriff Court. Our friends at Ramblers Scotland have joined the legal action alongside THC, so have launched a crowdfunder to assist with their costs. 

A track runs between Acharacle and Arivegaig. There is parking by the school on non-school days only (4-6 cars), or on a grass area nearer the main road (6-8 cars). There are no signs (except deer management) and cars are not allowed beyond the school. Four-wheel drive type track with gravelly surface, but badly eroded in some parts. Lightly wooded at start, opening out to marshy scrubland on either side. Near the finish, the RSPB Glenborrodale reserve has a small car park on the B8007 approx 500m to the west. A Shiel bus runs through Glenborrodale at approx 8:30am to Acharacle and will stop by the car park on request (but check current timetable).

Following track from car to start of walk: no signs, new concrete bridge, gate open, road recently made up, stony track leads to reservoir; surrounding area is rough grass/heather with stony outcrops, quite marshy in places.
At second concrete bridge, route starts to climb gently to the reservoir area / building site. A few yards further on, the track reverts to ‘old road’ with its muddy surface showing tyre tracks.
At NM656653 there is a strong wooden bridge over the Allt Beithe with deer fence on south side; old deer fence, gate padlocked with kissing gate to side. The route then ascends more steeply, and it is possible to see the stone work of the old road.
At c.NM643641, little stone bridge/culvert (one of many), Loch Laga in view, boathouse still used, old stone pier ruined. At c.NM637633, stone bridge eroded, ground peaty and becomes quite marshy in places, but the route is still well-defined.
Path starts heading upwards over slight rise, continues fairly straight, ground quite marshy in places, but route remains obvious to a good wooden bridge over the Allt Innis nam Feorag (NM626626). At junction with route from right (Lochan nam Fiann), gate open, road greatly improved, new surface of compacted stones on membrane layer, ‘old road’ no longer visible; rough grassy marshy moorland with rocky outcrops, route swings southwards to a forest gate, open (also side pedestrian gate) - area not as heavily wooded as indicated on map.
The turn at NM 6085 6225 is not obvious and easily missed; it descends to Glenborrodale farm, beyond which is the main road. However, a more obvious route to Glenborrodale is as follows. At NM606619 there is a junction with the track from Glenmore; wooden bridge, older than other bridges, deer fence gate padlocked, pedestrian gate open, Ardgour Deer Management Group sign. Route continues downhill past the Ardnamurchan Bunkhouse (NM607613) to reach the public road.

OS Landranger 40 (Loch Shiel) or OS Explorer 390

Heritage Information

As this drove road between Acharacle and Glenborrodale was not mentioned in Haldane's The Drove Roads of Scotland, it was possibly not a main route. However, local information reported in 1960 refers to a man in his 80s who remembers the track's use as a drove road to the cattle fairs which used to be held at Kentra near Acharacle. Also, as droves are known to have gone from Glen Borrodale across Loch Sunart to Doirlinn in Morvern, where there was a drovers' change house until about 1880, this may have been a feeder route for that Glen Borrodale ferry. 

The old road can be seen on the OS third edition 1" map which was surveyed in 1905. In places it is still beautifully made up with a sound base and sturdy stone culverts.

This route is also said to have been a school road. The school dates back to at least 1872, as it appears on the OS 6" first edition map.

 

 



Copyright: Jim Barton | Credits: NM671679 looking WNW along a track by the trees crossing the southern end of the Kentra Moss (2019).

Copyright: Jim Barton | Credits: NM668678 looking SW at Kentra Moss. A few square kilometres of flat ground between Kentra Bay and the River Shiel, quite a contrast to the more rugged terrain here as a rule (2019).

Copyright: Jim Barton | Credits: NM664674: track crossing Dig Bhan. 'Dig' (pronounced jeek) is Gaelic for ditch ('Reading the Gaelic Landscape' by John Murray, 2014). Shown on OS 1:25k map as a path from here, it's actually an access road from the NW to water supply installations (2019).

Copyright: Chris Wimbush | Credits: NM661667 looking SSW along the track from Acharacle near Allt na Mathair (2010).

Copyright: Jim Barton | Credits: NM661667 looking N along the track by the Allt na Mathair. The track gives access to a reservoir taking water from the Allt Beithe, presumably to supply the Acharacle area (2019).

Copyright: Jim Barton | Credits: NM659663 looking WSW along a track through the hills to Loch Laga and Glen Borrodale or Laga (2019).

Copyright: Jim Barton | Credits: NM656654 looking SW. The track between Acharacle and Loch Laga crosses the burn by a bridge (2019).

Copyright: Chris Wimbush | Credits: NM655653: Gateway on track after crossing Allt Beithe (2010).

Copyright: Jim Barton | Credits: NM652648 looking SSW along the hill track to Loch Laga; it follows the general direction of the Allt Beithe to the loch (2019).

 

 

 

Click here to view this path on a map

Gallery

Copyright: Mark Anderson | Credits: NM626626:  Bridge over Allt Innis nam Feorag (2008). Copyright: Mark Anderson | Credits: NM630628 looking NE along the track to Loch Laga from Borrodale. Here it follows the hillside around to the left (2008). Copyright: Jim Barton | Credits: NM649643 looking W along the track to Loch Laga with Meall nan Each (hill of the horses) in view (2019).
Copyright: Mark Anderson | Credits: NM643642 looking WSW along the path with a small bridge in the foreground (2008). Copyright: David G Campbell | Credits: NM642640 looking NNE along the Glenborrodale to Acharacle path, Ardnamurchan (2008). Isolated 285m high hill, S of Lochan Sligneach and N of Loch Laga. Copyright: Jim Barton | Credits: NM640636 Loch Laga with Ben Laga in view behind (2019).
Copyright: Mark Anderson | Credits: NM636632 looking WSW at the path junction near Loch Laga (2008). The small cairn marks where the path to the left heads across the burn to Laga. The other path, for Glenborrodale, continues ahead and follows the hillside.

 

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