A9/Aviemore - Tore
|To:||Tore Roundabout (NH604524)|
|Distance:||36 miles (57.9 km)|
|Meets:||A95, A938, A96, A82, A832, A835|
|Old route now:||A95, B9153, A938, B9154, B9177, B9006, B865, B861, A862|
|Route outline (key)|
North of Aviemore, a lot of the modern A9 has again been constructed offline from the original route. This generally leaves the old road open to traffic with an assortment of numbers, particularly through Inverness where changes to the A9 route occurred even before the city bypass and Kessock Bridge were opened. Due to the ever increasing population in the Inverness area, much of this section of the route is dual carriageway, and so it seems natural to finish this section at the most northern dualling on the A9 at Tore Roundabout, despite it being almost the furthest from the historic route that the modern A9 gets!
The Old Military Road
The precise route of the military road through Aviemore is now lost to development, although it would not be unreasonable to suggest that the modern B9152 roughly follows the same line through the centre of the town. To the north, and about ¼mile north of the 30 limit, the driveway to Red Stag Lodge at Granish appears to be the old military road line. This continues past the private house, is cut by the new A95-A9 connection and then gradually disappears into the trees. Careful observers can identify the line here and there, but at Avielochan there is no sign of it as it supposedly crosses the field. Supposedly because the OS Map then mark the A95 as briefly following Wades road.
At the end of the short straight, the modern road swings right, under the railway, whilst Wades road soon reappears to the left on the far side of the modern A9. It is now used as a forest road, running along the edge of the forest, often just at the top of the cutting through which the A9 now runs. Just before crossing the driveway to Kinveachy Lodge, it swings northwestwards, heading deeper into the forest. After a mile or so, the bridge over the Allt Lorgy is sadly long gone, then another mile further on it reaches the minor road from Carrbridge. The two routes cross, with the military road immediately dropping down a short steep hill in a couple of zigzags. It then joins the route of NCN7, and the two cross Sluggan Bridge together.
Beyond the bridge, the two routes stick together along the forest edge to Insharn, where the cycle track turns north for Slochd. The military road turns north a couple of hundred metres further on, sticking to the edge of the forest, reaching the modern A9 once more just below Slochd Summit. Across the summit, the old road keeps to higher ground, running to the north of the A9 before dropping into Tomatin. Here, the Findhorn was crossed roughly where the lower bridge sits, and then the old road crossed the hill, its course largely lost between the newer roads and railway line, but traceable here and there.
The route can definitely be picked up again at Lynebeg, near Moy, and crosses the hill above the A9. Whilst the line of the old road is obvious on the ground by a change in vegetation, the ground is unfortunately very boggy, and the tonnes of rock that must surely have been used to build the road have long since sunk to great depths! After about half a mile, the forest fence is reached, but sadly there is no obvious stile and the gate is a long detour through more bog. Just inside the forest, the line becomes a forest road, with a lonely waymarker pointing back out of the forest through an overgrown break in the trees. The forest road turns north west, roughly following the A9, with the two almost meeting shortly before a small sign points to 'Wades Bridges'. This is indeed the line of his road, and again it is easy to follow as it sweeps down the hill to another of his small arches which survives in the bracken. Unfortunately, a few metres away is the boundary fence of a gravel quarry, so the only way to continue is to climb back to the forest road and follow it down to the B851 at Scatraig.
After crossing the B road, Wade's road crosses the River Nairn on the Bridge of Faillie. The old road up the steep hill to the north of the river is now partly lost to a new house, but a public footpath remains, climbing up to the Daviot Road above. Straight across, Wades Road is signed and leads to 2 miles of long, straight, easy walking through the forest before reaching the upper edge of Inverness at Milton of Leys. The road then drops steadily down the Old Edinburgh Road, with no vehicular connection to the massive housing estates to the right, but still providing access to the numerous properties that had been built on this old road. Old Edinburgh Road continues right into the heart of the city, ultimately as the B853, where it picks up the line of Wades Great Glen Road.
The 1930s road
The 1930s road is still generally intact and most of the route in driveable until the Slochd where it begins to get lost with the new road taking priority. We start in Aviemore, a lovely little village which has many pedestrian crossings and a few mini roundabouts to navigate. After passing some new housing and the junction to the A9, the road opens out and follows the A95, heads into the pine forests towards Carrbridge. This section of the route is usually quiet with a few houses and developments visible through the trees. A mile or so late the A95 turns off and we become the B9153 towards Carrbridge. We enter the town and pass Landmark and the old Carr Bridge on the left.
At the junction the road swings to the left and becomes the A938 towards Slochd. We pass little isolated houses and head under the railway. The A938 bends onto the A9 but there is a TOTSO just before the road turns and the old road becomes unclassified. This section drops in quality and becomes just wide enough for a S2 road. We encounter the modern road crossing over the railway and the road on the "Slochd bridge" and have to bend right and left to cross over it aswell. The road then follows roughly parallel to the A9 and also loops back to the road. Like the Carrbridge junction, the old road continues as a TOTSO but this next section is closed to traffic.
The road starts off as a good quality road but due the severity of the rocks this effectively becomes a dead end with a short cycle path joining up the isolated sections. It does reappear and pass through Tomatin over the Findhorn bridge. A short spur road leads back to the A9 but the road does keep going but it is suddenly cut off by the modern route. A small isolated bridge crosses the burn at Dalmagarry and the road reappears at the Moy junction, classified as the B9154. A short extension avoids the Daviot Bridge to remove the hairpin bend and joins at a new junction further south.
We lose sight of the old road being cut off by the dual carriageway but it somehow makes it into Daviot (possibly through the bus stop on the NB carriageway) and kinks back to the A9 with a cut off loop opposite Daviot. Unfortunately has been fully lost in the clearing to allow the dual carriageway to proceed arrow straight to Milton of Leys where the old road turns off to take an easy route down the braes of balvonie. From here the road is the B9006 to Millburn roundabout, the B865 to Eastgate, B861 over the river, the A82 to Telford roundabout and finally the A862 all the way to the Cromarty bridge.
The Modern Road
The road from Aviemore to Tore is generally a new build with some short sections being an online upgrade of the old route. The bypassing of Aviemore and the tricky land nearly makes the road enter Aviemore again. Beyond the town and the A95 junction at Kinveachy Junction, there is a North bound overtaking lane before the crossing of the River Dulnain. Snow poles appear on the side of the road while Carrbridge is being bypassed.
Passing the Carrbridge junction with the A938, the road begins to steadily climb and crosses the old road and railway at the Slochd bridge. The next section needed heavy rebuilding of the landscape to fit in the new road leading to the dual carriageway section. Crossing the River Findhorn the road narrows passing the Tomatin junction. The Tomatin Bypass and Tomatin Viaduct are shown as under construction on the 1976 OS Landranger map, and opened at the end of that year. The road then curves down to Dalmagarry as the old route turns off to Moy. The section past Dalmagarry is part of the story of the dissapearance of Renee Macrae, who's car was found abandoned in a northbound layby, which was being rebuilt at the time (1976). A short Northbound overtaking lane takes us into the Moy moors and the road returns to dual carriageway.
The road dips down and up to the top of the Daviot Hill, an impressive 230m high, and is arrow straight as it descends Drumossie Brae to Milton of Leys where it drops down to bypass the suburbs of the Inverness, the Highland Capital. The road signs change and Thurso becomes the new forward destination. This probably implies that this is the end of the Perth to Inverness section of the route. There are three main junctions serving Inverness, first comes the sub-standard Inshes Junction, which despite recent improvements is still a bottleneck at times, then the grade separated Raigmore Interchange where the A96 from Aberdeen terminates, and finally the Longman Roundabout, where the A82 terminates and there are plans to construct a flyover. This section was built in 1976 as part of the Inverness bypass and the Kessock Bridge approach roads.
We then come across the Kessock Bridge. Opened on the 6th August 1982 by the Queen Mother this, along the Cromarty Bridge, opened 3 years earlier, cut nearly 2 hours from the old A9 journey. Crossing into the Black Isle there are lots of at grade junctions leading to the isolated towns and settlemants.The North Kessock Junction was upgraded with a new underpass installed in c2008. Tore Roundabout then brings us to a stop and also terminates the dual carriageway, which in a few years time will extend south to meet the motorway network.