|Distance:||21.6 miles (34.8 km)|
|Meets:||A861, B8043, B849, A849|
|Route outline (key)|
Achnalea - Balmeanach
The A884 starts on the A861 in Glen Tarbert near Strontian, and after initially heading south over the Carnoch Bridge, the now single track road heads westwards along the southern shoreline of Loch Sunart. Despite being single track, the road is liberally supplied with passing places, and has reasonable sight lines, allowing good progress to be made unless the ferry traffic is coming towards you! After nearly 4 miles, the road turns inland, climbing up Liddesdale hill, with the minor road to Laudale continuing along the shore of Loch Sunart for a couple more miles. This is wild country, the northern edge of Morvern and with very little habitation, it is a very picturesque part of Scotland and a wonderful drive.
A little over a mile later, the road has climbed up to the summit at nearly 900ft, 270m. If you haven't met any approaching ferry traffic yet, then prepare to slow down suddenly, as the law of averages suggests it is just round the next bend! Dropping down slightly, the road curves around the head of Glen Dubh, meeting the equally lonely, and scenic B8043. If you are coming back this way, then it is well worth taking the B road instead, it is hardly slower, and has some breathtaking views. After another, lower, summit, the road descends into Gleann Geal which it follows to the River Aline. This is also a very scenic section of the road, winding down through woodland and across open moorland, but always with good views and enough warning of oncoming traffic.
The River Aline is crossed at Claggan, where a minor road heads west to the scattered houses at the head of Loch Teacuis. The A884 follows the river south, past another turning leading east to Ardtornish and its castles, before climbing into the trees once more. From the summit, it drops down into the village of Lochaline, at the mouth of Loch Aline and on the sound of Mull. This is the only significant habitation on the entire road, and we've now covered 18 miles since Glen Tarbert! At the entrance to Lochaline, the B849 turns right twice, and is perhaps the emptiest road in the Highlands. A little later the A884 splits, with a spur going down to the current ferry jetty and the main road carrying on through the village to the older West Pier, now used as a timber pier for exporting logs, and by a diving shcool.
This is not the end of the road though - after crossing the Sound of Mull on the rather small Lochaline to Fishnish Ferry, the A884 carries on for another half a mile as the access road from the ferry to the A849. The last fact about the A884 is that it is entirely a single track road with passing places.
The mainland section of the A884 was originally part of the B849, which the road still meets in Lochaline. The A884 came into existence in the mid-1920s, presumably to cater for steamer traffic from Lochaline (west) pier.
The road was not extended onto Mull for some years. The island's original entry points were at Tobermory, Salen and Craignure - but with the reduction of steamer traffic the need for a shorter crossing from the mainline was identified in the 1970s. A road was built to the previously-existing Fishnish pier from the A849 Mull coast road; this later became the southern end of the A884.