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Newtonmore Coffin Road

Start location: North bank of River Spey, southeast of railway line (NN 715 980)
End location: Cemetery, St Bridget's Chapel, Newtonmore (NN 705 989)
Geographical area: Cairngorms National Park
Path Type: Coffin Road
Path distance: 1.4km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians

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Route Description

This path runs a very straight line from the Spey to the B9150 starting off as an old field boundary with a tree and tree stump in line and then passing under a railway underpass and from there becoming a track. Once it reaches the B9150 it takes a 90 degree turn to the right and then left to continue alongside the big cafe as a wide track with an old drainage ditch and wall until it reaches the A86. Here it turns left then right avoiding Banchor Mains to continue to the cemetery on the River Calder.

OS Landranger 35 (Kingussie & Monadhliath Mountains)

Heritage Information

The cemetery in Newtonmore is the site of a very early Christian cell dedicated to St Bride (St Bridget). This route is a coffin road which brought people from the east side of the Spey to St Bride's Church. The people of the townships of Phones and Nuide took their dead to the side of the Spey where there was a ferry and they could then walk in a straight line to the church.

Although the path now seems to go through a field, the line of very old trees shows where the field boundary once went and the underpass under the railway also dermacates exactly where the route lies. Clearly the path was of some significance as the railway built a bridge to accomodate it.

The one-time owners of Banchor Mains Farm blocked the traditional access route to the cemetery by building a new steading across the right-of-way. In 1878, as a result of a courtcase, they were required by the court to create an alternative route. Hence the Gaelic direction sign on the A86 - An Rathad Daingnichte Le Lagh Gu Cladh Bhrighde - the Roadway established by law to St Bride's Graveyard.

On 30th June 2014, a walk of the Coffin Road celebrated this route's history along with a dedication of a replacement Gaelic sign to Banchor Cemetery. A lot of hard work has been done to raise funds for new signage and interpretation boards; a heritage leaflet is being printed too. BBC Alba's evening news bulletin included a feature about the event - Rathad na Ciste.





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Copyright: Neil Ramsay Copyright: Neil Ramsay Copyright: Stephen Stachowiak



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