|Location Map ( geo)|
|Isle of Lismore spine road|
|From:||Port Appin Ferry (NM894461)|
|Distance:||7.3 miles (11.7 km)|
|Meets:||no classified roads|
|Route outline (key)|
The isle of Lismore lies down the middle of Loch Linnhe where it flows into the Firth of Lorne, between Appin and Morvern. Along with many of the other inner Hebrides, it has a population of somewhat under 200, and yet unlike those other isles Lismore has a classified road: the B8045. It is by no means the only road on the island – there are a number of spurs to the coastal settlements – but unusually it does not reach the island's only vehicular ferry port at Achnacroish! The B8045 starts at the head of the slipway for the passenger ferry to Port Appin in the north and runs south down the island to a terminus with a farm road.
From the Port Appin Ferry slipway in the north, the road runs along the shore past the scattered properties of Point, before starting to climb up onto the spine of the island. A double-back right turn at some tumbledown barns leads to Port Ramsay, and then more climbing brings the road up to the ridge. A gated left turn leads to Balure and Tirefour Castle, a ruined broch, as the road enters the settlement of Clachan. This is perhaps the second largest settlement on the island, clustered around the church which is the chancel of the former mediaeval Cathedral of the diocese of Argyll. Beyond Clachan, a left turn leads to Balnagowan, another coastal farmstead.
The next building passed is the island's Heritage Centre, with a restored blackhouse next door. The next turning on the right is signed to Sailean, although the road is unsurfaced, and presumably not adopted highway! Half a mile further on is a left turn to Achnachroish, the ferry port for Oban. A little further on, the road forks, with the right turn signed to Achinduin. The B8045 continues to the left, descending from the ridge back towards the east coast of the island, although not reaching it. The small Kilcheran Loch is passed and then the road climbs again past a variety of farm buildings and half-hidden houses in the trees. The road quality deteriorates sharply, badly potholed and coated with mud, but it carries on in this unloved state until some tarmac reappears. Eventually, just past the last barn a disused gate marks the end of the classified road, although a grassy track continues almost to the southern end of the island, with only one gate blocking the way!
Other roads on Lismore
The first turning heading south leads across to the west coast and the little village of Port Ramsay. The road runs through fields, across a cattle grid and then down past a parking area to the shore, arriving between the row of pretty white houses which line the shore. To the left a rough track runs past a couple of houses and around the head of a little bay to the houses of Fennochrochan. To the right, the the terrace is considerably longer, with the track splitting the houses from their gardens before running along the shore for a little way.
The road to Balure starts by passing through a gate from the main B8045. The road winds down past a scattering of houses towards the shore. However, it doesn't reach the sea which lies at the bottom of a low cliff! After passing through a couple more gates, the road curves back inland to the farm of Balure. Near the bend a path leads off to the Broch of Tirefour Castle, and then on over the hills to Balnagowan.
The side road to Balnagowan is also gated off the B8045. It starts by passing the cottage of Killandrist, before dropping slightly to the shore of a small loch. Descending further, the path from Balure joins shortly before the end of the road at the farm. Here a path continues along the clifftops to Achnacroish.
The most important side road on the island is the one which drops down into Achnacroish. It starts at a wide junction and climbs a little before passing some cottages and then dropping steadily down into the village. The road curves around to the school, and then doubles back down to the harbour, where a new slipway leading off the large car park and replaces the old steamer pier.
The last side road leads to Achinduin towards the southern end of Lismore. Forking off from the B8045 at Baligrundle, the road winds over the hill, before curving round to the southwest. A track leads off to the right, dropping sharply down to Sailean, and subsequently climbing back up to the B8045 as described above. The side road continues for another mile or so, undulating over the hills to the farm of Achinduin.
Whilst the B8045 wasn't included in the first batch of B roads numbered in 1922, it seems to have been added fairly soon after, certainly being in existence by 1932, and probably dating back to the mid- or late 1920s. The route does not appear to have changed at all in all that time, although prior to the slipway being constructed at Achnacroish it is probable that cars arrived at the north end from Port Appin, where an old slipway still exists. The old pier at Achnacroish is the old steamer pier for services from Oban. However, this is still at odds with the general rule in the area where the B roads ran to the main pier, whilst elsewhere a differently numbered spur road was given, such as the B9065 on Rousay in the Orkneys.