|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||32 miles (51.5 km)|
|Meets:||A887, A831, B861, A862, A9|
|Old route now:||B861|
|Route outline (key)|
The current route along the western shore of Loch Ness was chosen by Telford in the early nineteenth century to connect the villages and communities together. He also did some improvement works to Wade's road on the opposite shore. Today, the road appears almost unchanged in places, but further investigation along the banks of Scotland's most famous loch may yet yield more information on the history of the northern end of the A82.
Starting at Fort Augustus, the military road ran east across the southern end of Loch Ness roughly along the alignment of the B862 as far as Glendoebeag. Much of this section of the road has been heavily improved for the recent Hydro scheme in Glen Doe. The minor road passing through Ardachy may also have been built by General Wade, to prevent the need for through traffic to detour into Fort Augustus.
Beyond Glendoebeag, the B862 sticks much more faithfully to Wade's route. The road climbs past Loch Tarff and over the hill into Stratherrick. Just before Whitebridge, however, a minor road turns left to follow the river to Dell Lodge. From here, a track continues to Dell Farm, and then a rougher track into the forest. The River Foyers is finally bridged just outside the village of Foyers, where the B852 is joined. This straighter route, requiring fewer large bridges is almost certainly Wade's route, although further investigation is required.
From Foyers, the B852 and then B862 show the route of the military road along the shore of Loch Ness and so through Dores into Inverness. However, as Inverness is approached the OS also mark another road, running past Loch Ashie as 'General Wade's Military Road'. Quite why two parallel routes were built is currently a mystery!
Telford constructed what is basically the current route of the A82 along Loch Ness, which is referred to in regular government reports in the early 19th century as the "Fort Augustus Road" (Fort Augustus - Invermoriston) and the "Invermorriston Road" (Invermoriston - Drumnadrochit - Lochend). The principal reason for taking a completely different line is that the west side of Loch Ness is more built up, and Telford wanted to connect all the communities together. Work on the road started in 1805, and was supposed to only take a few years, but dragged on into the 1810s due to various problems with contractors abandoning the scheme. Most of it was complete by 1810, aside from a few odds and ends such as the Invermoriston Bridge in 1813.
Little or no evidence remains to suggest anything other than the current alignment on most of the route along Loch Ness side - certainly the MOT mapping of the area (the base of which derives from late 19th century OS mapping) puts the alignment of the A82 between Fort William and Tomnahurich Street exactly where it is today. However, there are various tracks through forestry which may yet prove to be an old alignment when fully investigated. In addition, the route into Lewiston may have followed the long dead-end minor road that stretches south to Grotaig and Ancarraig. There is also the possibility of an alternative route into Drumnadrochit (see below).
As with further south, major widening and straightening works probably happened.
In the 1930s, the bridges at Invermoriston, Lewiston and Drumnadrochit were all replaced, and the new causeway section across Loch Dochfur at the norther end of Loch Ness probably also dates from this time. Between Lewiston and Drumnadrochit, a new road seems to have been built, the old route staying on the north shore of the River Collrie to cross the old bridge (see Borlum Bridge below), presumably returning along Balmaccan Road, with maybe a further detour via Kilmore Road to regain the modern route.
Nothing since the 1930s south of Inverness?
In Inverness itself, however, there have been big changes. The A82 originally terminated at a triple point with the A9 and A88 at the Kenneth Street / Tomnahurich Street junction to the south of the river (the A9, of course, being extended over the A88 from here in 1935). It was not until the 1960s or 70s that traffic started to be diverted away from the city centre, especially as Inverness has only really grown in the last 50 years. When the A9 was diverted over the Kessock Bridge in 1982, the A82 followed a short section of the former A9 along Milburn Road up to a new grade separated roundabout junction with the A96 on the other side. The Friars Bridge and diversion along Longman Road was built in the mid-1980s to support the expansion of Inverness docklands, and opened in 1986.
Longman Road partially predates the new bridges, as it was originally constructed as an extension to Rose Street providing access to the historic industrial areas north of the railway line. However, it would have been widened and extended at the time of the opening of the Kessock Bridge, to bring the A82 up to the new A9 alignment at the Longman Roundabout.
The route taken by the A82 through Inverness has varied considerably over a short space of time. The original 1922 route terminated at a three-way junction with the A88 and A9 at the junction of Glenurquhart Road and Telford Road just south of the city centre, and this situation remained static until 1934 when the only change was that the A9 was extended over the A88. Move forward to 1982, however, and the opening of the Kessock Bridge. This saw the A9 re-routed across the new bridge and so out of the city. The old route mostly became the A862, but the section through Inverness was part of an extended A82.
From the old terminus, the A82 was extended across the river and in to the city centre. At first it seems to have just follows the old A9 route, which led up the High Street and Eastgate to reach Millburn Road. This led on to meet the A9 at the Raigmore Interchange, using a very short section of the former A96 in the process. However, by the 1988 OS Landranger map, the first part of the Eastgate Shopping Centre has opened, causing the A82 to pass underneath the new building, as Crown Road now does. It would appear that in order to relieve traffic in the city centre, a one way system has also been created, with a loop along Bank Street, Friar's Lane and Academy Street shown in red. This is now the route of the B862 and B865.
The same, 1988, map shows that Friars Bridge is open (in 1986), but unclassified, and that the dualled section of Longman Road between the A9 Longman Roundabout and Harbour Road Roundabout is complete, and part of the B865. However, the rest of the B865 is single carriageway and the link between Shore Street and Rose Street is yet to be built. Although the mapping evidence is yet to be found, it seems that the current A82 route was completed shortly after 1988 and that the A82 and B865 numbers were swapped to their current routes.
Fort Augustus Bridge
Main Article: Fort Augustus Bridge
The New bridge at Fort Augustus was built in 1934 to replace a timber bridge built as a hasty replacement over 100 years before...
Main Article: Invermoriston Bridge
As with so many of the bridges on the A82, the current bridge stands alongside the old structure, now badly damaged at one end, but still spanning the river as it did in Telford's day.
At the southern end of Lewiston, the Borlum Bridge is a single-span Concrete structure across the River Collrie dating from 1933.
A mile to the north, despite the alignment of the old road around the green, the bridge in Drumnadrochit was only widened in 1933, suggesting that it must have once had a steep approach on a bend.
Main Article: Ness Bridge
The current bridge across the River Ness used by the A82 is a dual carriageway concrete structure.