|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||10.1 miles (16.3 km)|
|Met (1932):||A858, B8012, B896, Pier|
|Route outline (key)|
The B8010 crossed the Isle of Lewis. The road was originally unclassified but had gained its number by 1932.
The road originally started on the then-A858 about 3 miles west of Stornoway and headed almost due west for its entire length. It followed the Pentland Road (Rathad a'Phentland) across the heart of Lewis, a vast featureless peat bog with low lying hills and hollows filled by small lochans. The road follows a series of long straights across this empty landscape, and is entirely single track. Although now well supplied with passing places, many of these appear to be relatively modern additions, suggesting that when first classified the road was poorly provided, but perhaps sufficient for the traffic levels of the day. As the road approaches the western coast, it forks, with both arms being historically part of the Pentland Road. The B8010 bears left to reach Breascleit, with the B8012 continuing ahead to Carloway.
The final stretch of the route is perhaps the most interesting to drive, as the road skirts around a series of small lochans, with some rocky slopes to the west. There are also fine views ahead to the mountains of Harris in the distance. At length the village of Breascleit is reached, with the route giving way to the village loop road. Then, after crossing the A858 again (originally the B896 until 1935) the road continued on to end by the pier, which is now home to a BASF factory.
The road was originally built by Lord Leverhulme around the turn of the 20th Century, and was intended to be a railway connecting the west coast fishing ports between Breascleit and Carloway with the harbour at Stornoway, and so allow catches to be transported more quickly from the Atlantic to the mainland. However, while some tracks were laid and trains run during the construction phase, there is no evidence that the railway was ever completed. Instead, the trackbed was used as a road by the local people, which use it retains today. Although not initially classified in 1922, its early number suggests it was numbered in the first additions in c1924.
By the 1960s the AA Book of the road suggests that the B8012 was extended to reach the A858, cutting back the B8010 to run only between the B8012 and Breasclete. However, the 1969 OS One Inch sheet proves this to be an error, as the B8010 and B8012 remain as originally numbered. During the 1960s, Hansard records that there were a number of questions in Westminster about the road, suggesting that it had fallen in to serious disrepair. There is no clear answer as to what was done about it, other than that central government funding was not available. However, as the road remains in use, repairs must have been carried out. The road was declassified entirely during the 1970s.
In more recent years there have been further changes to the roads on Lewis and the A858 has now been rerouted so there is now no classified road at the former B8010's eastern end.