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Dere Street near Crailinghall.  Taken by Richard Warren. Heritage Paths Project
ScotWays
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 is in touch with The Highland Council and continues to support their efforts to resolve the access problems here. THC's access team have also 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 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 track reverts to ‘old road’, muddy surface showing tyre tracks. Beautifully made up old road, sound base and sturdy stone culverts.
At 65608/65371 there is a strong wooden bridge with deer fence on S side; old deer fence, gate padlocked with kissing gate to side. Route then ascends more steeply, and it is possible to see stone work of old road.
At 64313/64190, little stone bridge/culvert (one of many), Loch Laga in view, boathouse still used, old stone pier ruined. At 63765/63350, stone bridge eroded, ground peaty and becomes quite marshy in places but 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. 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 6085/6225 is not obvious and easily missed. It descends to Glenborrodale farm, beyond which is the main road. However, our route walker took the following more obvious route to Glenborrodale without hindrance. At 6071/61998 there is a junction with track from Glenmore; wooden bridge, older than other bridges, deer fence gate padlocked, pedestrian gate open, Ardgour Deer Management Group sign. Route continues downhill to old house converted to Glenborrodale Outdoor Pursuits Centre, 60765/61087 junction, take this and descend past house to 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: NM664672 looking SSW along the track from Acharacle near Allt na Mathair (2010).

 

 

 

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Gallery

Copyright: Ian Lavender | Credits: Bridge over the Allt Innis nam Feorag. Copyright: Mark Anderson | Credits: Track follows hillside to left en route to Loch Laga.

 

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