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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (5)
From:  Salen (NM572431)
To:  Kinloch Bridge (NM549291)
Distance:  20.2 miles (32.5 km)
Meets:  A848, B8073, A849
Former Number(s):  A849
Old route now:  A849
Highway Authorities

Argyll and Bute

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
B8035 Salen - Balnahard - Kinloch Bridge
B8035 Salen - Craignure - Kinloch Bridge


The B8035 near Ben More

The B8035 is one of the lengthy Class II roads which wind around the western coastline on Mull.

The route starts in Salen, and passes across the narrow isthmus that pinches the middle of Mull to emerge on the western shore at Gruline. The road starts as two way, running up through the village, but drops to single track after the last houses. The run through to the west coast is a pleasant tree-lined route with generally good forward visibility, and enough passing places. It is, however, just a prelude to what lies ahead. At Gruline, the B8073 is met at a triangle junction, having journeyed round the north coast from Tobermory and Dervaig. The B8035 keeps left and turns southwards around the head of Loch na Keal to cross the River Ba. Just after the bridge, the road turns sharply right around Knock Farm, and soon after reaches the coast.

The run along the southern shore of Loch na Keal, with the island's highest point of Ben More to the south, is stunning. The road runs along the shore, following the base of the hill, with green meadow like areas to the right along the rocky shore. In the wider places along this coastal ledge, rough parking areas have been formed, and here and there small shingly beaches fill the spaces between fingers of rock. The road is narrow and twisty as it weaves its way along this ledge for about a mile, then the slopes above the road ease and the landscape becomes more open, with moorland pastures dropping down to the waters edge. An old stone bridge carries the road over the Scarisdale River, beyond which the landscape becomes rockier, with dramatic cliffs visible ahead.

After a while the road drops back to the shore, and continues to wind westwards, weaving a little between rocky outcrops, but never far from the waters edge. A parking area marks the start of the main path up to Ben More, and after crossing a couple of bridges, a pair of old houses can be seen away up the hill to the right; the first since Knock Farm. The cliffs ahead are looking a little less intimidating, which is just as well as the road snakes along their base, climbing a little around blind rocky corners, with just a stone parapet to keep traffic in line. The road is clearly old and the skill of the work undertaken to carry it along these coastal rocks is impressive. After curving around beneath a substantial rocky outcrop, the road climbs a little, following a narrow ledge cut into the steep slopes, before descending a little onto what appears to be an old embankment built along the shore. The passing places are thinly spaced, but most of the critical, blind bends have one near by.

Unfortunately, this is a common view in Glen Seilisteir!

Around the headland, the small Island of Inchkenneth with its substantial tower house appears quite suddenly, and after passing a couple of houses on the roadside, the slopes ease and the road can once more enjoy a run along above the beaches. At the tiny settlement of Balnahard the road turns inland, the condition of the road improving somewhat (fewer potholes at least). As it climbs the hill, there are some stunning views north to Ulva and west to Coll and Tiree. Some tight bends ease the climb, but don't permit much speed, as the road climbs up into Gleann Seilisteir. The Glen is wide and provides the best tarmac of the whole route, climbing to a summit of just over 140m at the watershed. The descent is easier, running down through forestry plantations, and all too soon the far end is reached, with the road dropping back to the shore again.

A right turn doubles back around the shore of Kilfinichen Bay, but after crossing above the beach, the road cuts across a small headland and turns eastwards along the shores of Loch Scridain. This is another delightful run along the coast, although the slopes are not so steep and the water perhaps a little less accessible. After passing below some forestry, the road curves round the head of the loch, and around Loch Beag, which degenerates into a maze of tidal creeks and marshland at the bottom of Glen More. The old stone Kinloch Bridge can be seen off to the right, and soon after the B8035 reaches its end at a simple T junction on the A849 (which was missed by yards in Salen) as it reaches the coast on its journey west to Fionnphort.


Mull in 1932, showing the original routes of the B8035 and A849

When the roads on Mull were first classified in 1922, this was the route of the A849 to Fionnphort. Indeed, the current route taken by the A849 is marked as no more than a track on some early maps. The B8035 had taken over the easterly route now followed by the A849 before 1932. However, with the increasing importance of the Craignure Ferry link, in place of the old steamer pier at Salen, the two route numbers were swapped in the 1960s.

The larger bridges along the current B8035 route share some features with the designs of Thomas Telford (Battered abutments, slightly humped profile and curved ends to the parapets), which he drew up as part of his work for the commission on Highland Roads and Bridges. However it is known that many bridges to his designs were built during the time of the commission, and subsequently as he made his designs available to the counties. The section of the route under the cliffs on Loch na Keal must surely have been built at a similar time to the bridges, as this section is an engineered road, and there would be no point in building the bridges if this piece of road didn't exist. The current line of the A848 and A849 was largely built in the 1790s, but again there is nothing to suggest that the B8035 dates from this time. The evidence therefore, points to the road having been built at some point after 1803 when the commissioners started work, but it is known that while Telford surveyed a number of routes on the island, none were ever built.

Related Pictures
View gallery (5)
B8035.jpgA848-salen1.jpgB8035a.jpg119882484 865761613960097 3805365686881832503 n.jpg119954253 322335185494502 7623305664592032639 n(1).jpg
Other nearby roads
B8000 – B8099
B8000 • B8001 • B8002 • B8003 • B8004 • B8005 • B8006 • B8007 • B8008 • B8009 • B8010 • B8011 • B8012 • B8013 • B8014 • B8015 • B8016 • B8017 • B8018 • B8019
B8020 • B8021 • B8022 • B8023 • B8024 • B8025 • B8026 • B8027 • B8028 • B8029 • B8030 • B8031 • B8032 • B8033 • B8034 • B8035 • B8036 • B8037 • B8038 • B8039
B8040 • B8041 • B8042 • B8043 • B8044 • B8045 • B8046 • B8047 • B8048 • B8049 • B8050 • B8051 • B8052 • B8053 • B8054 • B8055 • B8056 • B8057 • B8058 • B8059
B8060 • B8061 • B8062 • B8063 • B8064 • B8065 • B8066 • B8067 • B8068 • B8069 • B8070 • B8071 • B8072 • B8073 • B8074 • B8075 • B8076 • B8077 • B8078 • B8079
B8080 • B8081 • B8082 • B8083 • B8084 • B8085 • B8086 • B8087 • B8088 • B8089 • B8090 • B8091 • B8092 • B8093 • B8094 • B8095 • B8096 • B8097 • B8098 • B8099
Earlier iterations: B8000 • B8006 • B8008 • B8026 • B8039

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