|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||4.5 miles (7.2 km)|
|Now part of:||Great Glen Way Footpath|
|Route outline (key)|
The B8040 followed the shore of Loch Oich, on the opposite side to the A82. However, if you walk this road today, you would be hard pushed to believe that it was ever a classified road. It is thoroughly overgrown, and almost impassable in places, despite being part of the Great Glen Way/Cycleway alternative route around Loch Oich.
The road's history originates with General Wade and his assignment to build military roads across the Highlands to facilitate the movement of troops; however, fifty years later when Thomas Telford arrived to build roads in the Highlands to facilitate the movement of the population, he passed Loch Oich on the opposite shore - through the village of Invergarry. This road somehow survived to be classified (although it is not mentioned in the 1922 Road Lists and so must have been classified in the late 1920s) - indicating that it was still a passable and presumably well-used route. Indeed, the 1939 Bartholomew's map suggests that it survived the mass-renumbering of 1935 too. However, it is now just a rough track along the loch shore - perhaps it was never anything more.
We start at the Great Glen Waterpark just south of the Laggan Bridge across the Caledonian Canal, and follow their driveway. The Great Glen Way (GGW) actually climbs up to the old station, and follows the railway line to start with, as the old road is very close to the shore - Loch Oich's water level was raised slightly when the Canal was built (again by Telford) in the early 19th century to increase the depth for bigger boats. In places the water laps at the edge of the road (left), but then it climbs up away from the waters edge, and the GGW drops down to the road. There is only one property along the whole road between Laggan and Aberchalder - a derelict cottage at Leitirfearn.
Beyond that, we pass over the old railway line after a steep climb, and then run along above the cutting. At Aberchalder, the road bypasses the estate buildings and crosses the River Chalder on a modern bridge. Presumably this is a replacement for what must have originally been a stone-arch structure.