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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (6)
From:  Salen Pier (NM578438)
To:  Tobermory (NM508553)
Distance:  10 miles (16.1 km)
Meets:  Pier, A849, B8035, B8073, B882
Former Number(s):  B882
Old route now:  B8073
Highway Authorities

Argyll and Bute

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
A848 Salen Pier - Tobermory
A848 Tobermory - Calgary Bay


Mull only really has two A-roads, and both have been re-routed since they were originally allocated. Having said that, the A848, along the north east coast, has had most of its changes reversed.

Salen Pier - Tobermory

Salen Pier, where the A848 starts

The road starts on the single-track side-road that leads to the old steamer pier in Salen. This pier was, until the mid 1960s, one of the most important piers on Mull. It was the closest pier to Oban, and serviced the majority of the island, apart from Tobermory, the island capital. Then, in c1965, the new roll-on roll-off pier was built at Craignure to the east and Salen was rapidly deserted. Whilst the pier has since been restored, it is still only lightly used by its private owners, and yet the A848 still runs to within 50m of the pier! The final approach to the pier has an air of dereliction about it, despite some new houses being built, and the potholed state of the road does little to improve matters.

Heading away from the pier, however, the A848 runs south through the Ardmore part of Salen village, past the school and into the village centre. After nearly a mile, it TOTSOs with the A849, the last hundred metres or so being wide enough for two-way traffic. The A848 turns right towards Tobermory, and almost immediately, the B8035 comes in from the west, using the A849's former alignment (the two routes have swapped). Just after the junction the white centre line ends, and soon after any pretence at being a two-way road come to an end. There are now six or seven miles of largely single-track road running north-north-west up the coast of Mull before a centre line reappears. There are long-term plans to widen the whole route from Craignure to Tobermory, but it is many years since the last section was improved.

After a short run along the coast from Salen, the road passes through Aros with its ruing castle, the road crosses Aros Bridge and then starts climbing over the undulating hills. After the initial climb around the back of Tur Mor, the Sound of Mull is almost always in view below, as the road winds up and down past a scattering of farms and houses. After Ardnacross, however, the road starts climbing again, now with only moorland and forestry for company. At the summit, after a short sharp final climb to 140m, the road suddenly widens out to S2 again, as it runs along the top of a cliff above the Sound of Mull. There is a layby to enjoy the views, before the road dives into a shallow cutting and loses sight of the sea. Forestry now hides the coastal views as the road starts a gentler descent, with a few houses and Mull Theatre hidden in the trees to either side.

The improved road line consists of a series of shortish straights and sweeping bends, making for a fast, flowing route albeit with limited overtaking opportunities. As the trees peel back, a sweeping right hander leads into the growing island capital, with new housing and an industrial estate on the right, overlooking Tobermory Bay. Ahead lies the island's only roundabout, where the B8073 joins from the left, and then the A848 turns down the steep hill of Eas Brae, alongside the Tobermory River to Tobermory Harbour.

Tobermory Harbour

Anyone who has ever had the (mis)fortune to watch the BBC children's show Balamory will know what Tobermory looks like. The multi-coloured houses around the harbour are a very pretty sight, even if the parking and narrow road are frustrating. There is a good car park on the shore side though. Towards the end of the harbour, the B882 drops down the steep hill of Back Brae to meet the A848, which then quickly reaches the pier for the ferry service to Kilchoan on Ardnamurchan. Contrary to most services which link the island to the mainland, this particular ferry seems to link the remote Ardnamurchan peninsula to the veritable 'city' of Tobermory!


Although the A848 runs along its original 1922 route, it was extended along the B882 to Calgary Bay in the late 1920s. It was cut back again in the 1960s although the road to Calgary was renumbered as part of the B8073 - see that route for a description.

From Salen to the summit above Ardnacross, the A848 is little changed since 1922. However, the S2 section from there into Tobermory has clearly been improved. Almost all of this section of the route has been realigned to remove old kinks and twists, and undoubtedly also improving the vertical alignment over the lumpy landscape. Just before the summit layby, the old road can be found as a line in the trees below the new road. This becomes more distinct after a forest road cuts across it, rejoining the modern road between the lochan and Druimfin. The road past Druimfin is the old drive for Aros House, the current A848 line obliterating any trace of the old road until just before the forestry car park, where a left turn loops round over the Aros Burn past Linn Dhu. After the northern entrance to Aros House, the old road can again be traced through the trees on the outside of the bend, but is very overgrown. The road through Tobermory is largely unchanged.

The southern section of the A848, between Aros and Salen, was built in 1790, with the road continuing along the east short to Grass Point on Loch Don. This road would have been used by drovers, who then ferried the cattle over to Kerrera and so the mainland. The old bridge at Aros dates from this road, and a number of other smaller crossings probably do as well.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Tobermory - Salen Pier

Related Pictures
View gallery (6)
Tobermory Frontage - Geograph - 1379560.jpgA848-salen1.jpgSalen-pier.jpgThe new bridge at Aros - Geograph - 180844.jpgOld bridge over the Aros River - Geograph - 3411388.jpg
Other nearby roads
A800 • A801 • A802 • A803 • A804 • A805 • A806 • A807 • A808 • A809 • A810 • A811 • A812 • A813 • A814 • A815 • A816 • A817 • A818 • A819

A820 • A821 • A822 • A823 • A824 • A825 • A826 • A827 • A828 • A829 • A830 • A831 • A832 • A833 • A834 • A835 • A836 • A837 • A838 • A839
A840 • A841 • A842 • A843 • A844 • A845 • A846 • A847 • A848 • A849 • A850 • A851 • A852 • A853 • A854 • A855 • A856 • A857 • A858 • A859
A860 • A861 • A862 • A863 • A864 • A865 • A866 • A867 • A868 • A869 • A870 • A871 • A872 • A873 • A874 • A875 • A876 • A877 • A878 • A879
A880 • A881 • A882 • A883 • A884 • A885 • A886 • A887 • A888 • A889 • A890 • A891 • A892 • A893 • A894 • A895 • A896 • A897 • A898 • A899

Defunct Itineraries and Motorways: A804 • A806 • A817 • A818 • A823(M) • A825 • A833 • A859 • A862 • A872 • A876 • A882 • A896

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