|Location Map ( geo)
|Isle of Harris Road
|Tarbert Ferry (NG156998)
|0.2 miles (0.3 km)
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
The minuscule A868 is the road from the A859 down to the pier in Tarbert on Harris. It is at this pier that the Uig-Harris Ferry service arrives, after crossing The Minch from Skye. Traffic heading east to the Isle of Scalpay (accessed via the Scalpay Bridge) also uses the A868, but keeps left at the TOTSO into the ferry port.
The road is fairly narrow, about 500m long, and since the recent construction of a new link to the ferry waiting area the route is somewhat different to the original. It starts on the A859 just before it climbs up the hill out of Tarbert to the south, and heads along the north side of the loch. A new junction then splits traffic, with left being the old road, now one-way eastbound along Main Street, which leads through to Scalpay, and right being the new route down to and from the ferry. Strangely, the priority is given to the ferry - Scalpay line, forcing all A868 traffic to give way. The A868 then follows the new road down to the ferry queueing area, where a give-way crossover lets traffic from Scalpay have priority, while A868 traffic has to cross to the queueing area, or turn back. The road ahead is one way westbound to accommodate traffic from the Scalpay road, but the precise end point of the A868 is uncertain, with the OS suggesting that part of the westbound one-way road is also part of the A868, as far as the old queuing area, not just the exit from the ferry terminal.
Originally numbered B898, the A868 came into being in the mid-1920s when it was decided that having no Class I roads in the Western Isles outside Lewis was a mistake, bringing about a major reclassification.
As mentioned above, the A868 originally followed Main Street and Pier Road through Tarbert to the pier. Most of the route is still there, providing the eastbound route for traffic to Scalpay. However, between the A865 and the junction with the new link road, the old road is now cut off at each end and survives as a T-access to houses.