|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Loch Laxavat (NB266362)|
|Distance:||5.7 miles (9.2 km)|
|Met (1932):||B8010, B896|
|Route outline (key)|
The now-defunct B8012 was a short route in north Lewis. The road was originally unclassified but had gained its number by 1932. However, it was declassified again in the 1970s.
The road originally ran from a fork junction with the B8010 in the middle of the peat moors and followed the Pentland Road north west past Loch Laxavat. Despite two long straights being shown on maps, the road is neither as straight or level as the B8010 to the east has been, as it winds across the moors past a scattering of small lochans. It then drops down to the banks of the Abhainn Charlabhaigh and follows it down towards the village, where the river is crossed. Now following the western bank, the road runs along to meet the A858 (originally the B896 until 1935) at Carloway. The actual junction at Carloway Bridge is not quite as you might expect, however. Instead of meeting directly with the main road, the B8012 re-crossed the river, passed underneath Carloway Bridge and then turned sharply right to run parallel with the A858 until the two met.
The B8012, along with the B8010 and a short part of the A858, forms the Rathad a'Phentland, or Pentland Road. This route opened on 6th September 1912, after campaigns by locals in West Lewis for a more direct route to Stornoway. However, its origins go back at several decades further. In the 1880s Lord Leverhulme, then-owner of the island of Lewis and Harris, devised a scheme (one of many) to construct a railway from the fishing harbour at Carloway across to Stornoway to speed up the transport of fish to the mainland. The route was surveyed and work began in places, including a number of bridges, but ground to a halt before too long, as the bumpy nature of the modern road still testifies. The junction with the A858 at the western end of the route is probably related to this, with the Pentland Road passing under the A858 on what would have been the railway line.
Going back a stage further, the line of the railway roughly followed the line of a cross-moor track which allegedly dated back 40 years before Leverhulme owned the island.
Although unclassified in 1922, the low number suggests that the B8012 was numbered in the first batch of additions in c1924. The 1960s AA Book suggests that for a time the B8012 started much nearer Stornoway, on the former course of the A858 to the east of Loch Vatandip, having taken over much of the B8010. However, this appears to be an error, as the 1969 OS One Inch sheet shows the original routing of the B8010 and B8012. During the 1960s, Hansard records a number of questions in Westminster about the poor condition of the road, however there is no suggestion anything was done at the time. The road was declassified in the 1970s.