|From:||Finstown (W) (HY337136)|
|Length:||8.2 miles (13.2 km)|
|Meets:||A965, B9057, A967|
|Route outline (key)|
The A986 is a medium-length A-road on Orkney Mainland which provides the quickest route from the island Capital of Kirkwall to the north west corner at Birsay.
The route starts about a mile to the west of Finstown village on the A965 and heads north, initially dead-straight. After about a mile it starts to curve north west, just beyond the Loch of Wasdale, passing through the scattered settlements that together form Harray. The Loch of Harray is off to the left, and glimpsed from time time as the road heads into the village of Dounby. This is an important crossroads, where the B9057 crosses, heading northeast to Evie and south towards Skara Brae, with plenty of historic sites of interest in either direction. The A986 then continues up to the west of Greeny Hill, where it meets the A967 at a TOTSO junction at Twatt, another scattered village.
It is fairly obvious that this, the only Class I road on Orkney not have an A96x number, is a relative latecomer in classification terms: the route was indeed originally numbered B9054 but was later upgraded to become the A986. Given that the route is still marked as the B9054 on the 1932 MoT map, the most likely date for the upgrade is 1933 or 34, as later numbers were already in use in 1935 when a lot of numbers were changed.