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
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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
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.