|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Bridge of Orchy (NN297396)|
|To:||Forest Lodge (NN270421)|
|Distance:||3.6 miles (5.8 km)|
|Now part of:||C63|
|Route outline (key)|
Declassified in the 1990s, the A8005 formerly climbed from Bridge of Orchy up the now unclassified road to Forest Lodge where the West Highland Way (WHW) continues across Rannoch Moor to Glencoe. Both the A8005 and the track used by the WHW were the main road across Rannoch Moor until the new road was opened in 1932/3. It is possible that there had been a plan to maintain two routes across the moor, with the original A82 being renumbered as the A8005 throughout, but in the event it appears that only the first few miles became the A8005, and that was sometime after the new A82 was opened. This only goes to deepen the mystery behind the allocation of this number!
The route of the former A8005 was built in the early part of the 19th century by Thomas Telford's team as part of his commission on Highland Roads and Bridges. It replaced the earlier Military Road which runs higher up the hill between Bridge of Orchy and Victoria Bridge and is now part of the West Highland Way. That road was built in c1751 by Major Cauldfield, who succeeded General Wade in building the Military Road network in the Highlands. Telford chose a lower, albeit longer, route to reduce the gradients and so make travel less gruelling for horses, and more comfortable for carriages and stage coaches. This took the road around the hill, following the River Orchy upstream before curving aroun Loch Tulla. It required the construction of a number of new bridges; the two largest bridges on the road are the bridge at Bridge of Orchy (1751) and Victoria Bridge (date unknown, but believed to be a replacement) at Forest Lodge.