|From:||Bonar Bridge (NH610915)|
|Distance:||13.3 miles (21.4 km)|
|Meets:||A836, A9, B9168, unclassified|
|Former Number(s):||A9, B9167|
|Route outline (key)|
The A949 is a lovely little road. The greater part of it is the old A9 between Bonar Bridge and Clashmore in Easter Ross, while a small portion is the main approach road into Sutherland's traditional county town of Dornoch.
Bonar Bridge - Dornoch
The road begins at the junction with the A836 and the little road to Migdale in the middle of Bonar Bridge. It runs east out of the village along the former path of the A9. Running right along the banks of Dornoch Firth for the first couple of miles, it has a steep, wooded hillside to the left.
After passing the old Creich chapel, the road eases away from the coast and heads due east. Just before Spinningdale, the road has a beautiful stretch with the sea to the right and a steep forest climbing to the left. Passing through more woodland, the Dornoch Bridge can be seen in the distance. Skibo Castle (the Madonna / Guy Ritchie one) is on the right hand side, four miles further on down the road, and shortly thereafter the A9 is reached at Clashmore.
Turning left, towards Wick and Thurso, the A949 multiplexes with the A9 for about a mile before it regains its number by turning right at Camore. The A949 then has an easy run into the middle of Dornoch, with the cathedral as the focal point of the town. As the religious and administrative centre of Sutherland, Dornoch remains a thriving town today. Maps suggest that the A949 continues into the main square of the town where it TOTSOs left to run north along Station Road, ending on an unclassified road by the old station, whose building still exists on the edge of an industrial estate.
Westbound: Out of Dornoch, it's Inverness. Along the main bit, it's Bonar Bridge.
Eastbound: Out of Bonar Bridge, it's Dornoch and Wick. Along the short stretch of the A9, it's Thurso. After Camore, it's Dornoch.
Being north of Inverness, the entirity of what is now the A949 was in the 8 zone on classification in 1922. The road from Bonar Bridge to Camore was originally part of the A88 whilst the remainder of the road into the centre of Dornoch (but not the station) was the B867. The extension of the A9 in 1935 altered the numbering of the area completely, with that number taking on the whole of the A88. Finding itself out-of-zone, the B867 was renumbered B9167.
This situation remained until the early 1960s when the A949 came into being (OS maps from 1959 still show the B9167, but by 1964 it is the A949), as a simple renumbering of the B9167 including the extension to Dornoch station. The opening of the Dornoch Firth Bridge in 1991 shortened the A9 in the Dornoch Firth area, extending the A949 along the section of road on the Sutherland side of the firth to reach Bonar Bridge, and thus being out of zone (again).