|Location Map ( geo)|
|Road to Lochaber|
|Distance:||15 miles (24.1 km)|
|Meets:||A87, Mallaig Ferries|
|Route outline (key)|
The A851 is approximately 15 miles long and runs along the Sleat (pronounced Slate) Peninsula on Skye, connecting the main A87 trunk road at Broadford to the ferry port of Armadale. After some substantial upgrades in the last few years, it is now an S2 road throughout. It is known as the 'Road to Lochaber' to mirror the A830's tag of 'Road to the Isles'.
Skulamus - Armadale
We start at a junction with the A87 in the settlement of Skulamus towards the east end of Broadford. From here we head south west, rapidly leaving the village behind to cross open moorland. For just over 3 miles the road follows the course of the old single-track road which can be seen mostly intact alongside. Then, as we drop down to Loch na Dal, an unclassified road turns west to Drumfearn, and then another unclassified road heads east to Kinloch Lodge Hotel.
As we approach the shore, the scenery changes from the bleak open moorland to a much greener, more welcoming landscape. It is not without reason that the Sleat Peninsula is known as the Garden of Skye. We are now undulating along the shore, and as Loch na Dal opens out to the Sound of Sleat, we enter the small village of Duisdale. Here, the former A852, now an unclassified road, turns left to the village of Isle Ornsay.
Here we turn to the south west, leaving the shore behind for a while as we cross to Tangue, passing an unclassified road to Ord, Tokavaig, and Tarskavaig along the way. At Teangue we rejoin the coast of the Sound of Sleat, before winding through the small villages of Ferindonald, Kilmore and Kilbeg (home of Sabhal Mor Ostaig the Gaelic College). Anyone who drove this road before it was widened will be surprised at how the old single-track lane has been improved to a wide S2 route with only minimal realignment.
Next to the college in Kilbeg, the unclassified road through Ord, Tokavaig, and Tarskavaig returns to the A851. From here, it is just a couple of miles along the shore to the tiny village of Armadale. Again, much of this section used to be a narrow, winding road along the shore, but after some substantial rocks were placed along the shore, the road has been widened to full two-way width.
Halfway along this final section, we pass Armadale Castle, the Clan Donald Visitor Centre, and then the former A853, now unclassified, carries on to Ardvassar, Calligarry and Aird of Sleat, as we turn to the left. The last hundred yards or so of the road as we drop down to Armadale Pier is the only section that is not full S2, although it is still reasonably wide. The pier at the end is where Caledonian MacBrayne ferries sail to Mallaig (hourly in summer, two a day on Mondays to Fridays in winter).
Original Author(s): Fraslet