|Location Map ( geo)
|Georgemas Junction (ND155601)
|14.2 miles (22.9 km)
|A99, B870, A9
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
The A882 is part of the main route between the two most northerly towns on the British Mainland. Wick, at the eastern end of the road, was once the busiest herring port in Europe, as well as being the original home of Caithness Glass, while Thurso is also a busy port, with ferries to Orkney from nearby Scrabster.
Beginning at the junction with the A99 in the middle of Wick, the A882 runs westwards past the station and quickly leaving the town behind. The road follows the shallow valley of the Wick River through Sinclair country, passing through a succession of small, sometimes scattered settlements. Whilst the Clearances here weren't as brutal as they were to the south and west, there is still an air of emptiness as you head through Milton, Haster, Thurster and Bilbster, with the road following long straights connected by sweeping bends. After crossing Achingale Bridge, the road enters Watten, a larger village, where the B870 crosses at a crossroads. In some ways Watten is more like a small village in the Home Counties, rather than a Highland one.
Beyond Watten, the road climbs slowly across the hillside to the south of Loch Watten, and from here to the end of the road, the emptiness resumes. The only things that break the tedium are a scattering of houses dotted along the roadside and the bridge over the Wick to Inverness railway line at Clayock. Otherwise, the road runs long and straight through a patchwork of small square fields behind hedges. After crossing the railway, the road continues straight into the northbound A9 at Georgemas Junction, with the A9 to Inverness being a lefthand turn. The station at the original Georgemas Junction lies just over a quarter of a mile south on the A9, and here too the rails split for Thurso or Wick.
The signposting is: Westbound: Watten and Thurso - Eastbound: Wick
The A882 number wasn't allocated in 1922, but by the time the 1932 OS map was published, the number had been used for Wick - Thurso, via John o'Groats. When the A9 was pushed north in 1935, replacing the A88, the two routes were swapped, so that it was the A9 that went to John o'Groats (but not Thurso), meeting an extended A836. For a couple of years, the A882 extended across the A9 to Wick Harbour (replacing the original A896), but by 1938 the section east of the A9 had been renumbered A8002; this is now unclassified.
Wick – Scrabster
Before the A9 was rerouted to Thurso and Scrabster instead of John o'Groats, the A882 used to continue through Thurso to the Ferry Pier at Scrabster. This might also be assumed to explain the current TOTSO with the A9 at Georgemas, as the southern arm of what is now the A9 used to be the, now defunct, A895, but in fact the junction has been this shape since before there were road numbers, so the original B873 had the same TOTSO. The other anomaly that this throws up is that the A882 is now entirely east of the A9, and so entirely out of zone!
The Trunk Roads Act 1936 created, amongst others, the "London - Edinburgh - Thurso Trunk Road", of which the A882 from Wick to Scrabster was the most northerly part. When the A9 was rerouted to Scrabster in 1996, the residual part of the A882 was detrunked.