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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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Steallair Dubh

Start location: memorial seat, Ellary, Knapdale (NR 737 762)
End location: public road southwest of Lochead, Knapdale (NR 768 778)
Geographical area: Argyll and Bute
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 4.3km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians

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Route Description

A memorial seat is located at the junction of the Steallair Dubh with the former public road between Balimore and Ellary. Continuing in a north easterly direction from the seat, the route ascends for about a mile to the Ellary Burn, before reaching a height of about 170m. Thereafter a wooded section of about 1.25 miles which passes several waterfalls, the Steallair Dubh (black cataract), leads to a point at grid reference NR761777 where a track from Cove and St Columba's Cave is faintly discernible. The track descends for a further 0.75 miles to the present road turning on itself to join the road in a south westerly direction. This section is marked by two birch trees which have fallen onto the track but at both places the route is passable.  At the junction with the present road a ruined building is located within the surrounding woodland. The surface of this route is bare and green in part and invariably wet.

OS Landranger 62 (North Kintyre area)

Heritage Information

This route is said to be an ancient track and certainly resembles one as it sticks to the high ground. It is punctuated by embankments, bridging and quarry holes evidence of the road's former construction.

The path past the Steallair Dubh can be clearly seen on the OS 6" map surveyed in 1869. This section, if not the route in its entirety, appears to be depicted on William Roy's Military Survey (1747-55) as a road heading east from Castle Swine to the head of Loch Culisport, which would give the Steallair Dubh track a long history indeed.

The road along the north-western shore of Loch Caolisport doesn't appear on the OS maps until 1895; until that was constructed it seems the Steallair Dubh path was the main way to travel between the communities of Kilmory and Achahoish.



Copyright: Patrick Mackie



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