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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (18)
From:  Drummond (NH604647)
To:  Kildary (NH768749)
Via:  Invergordon
Distance:  14.1 miles (22.7 km)
Meets:  A9, B9176, A9
Former Number(s):  A9
Old route now:  A9
Highway Authorities


Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
B817 Drummond - Kildary
B817 Alness – Kildary
This article is about the current B817 through Alness and Invergordon.
For the former B817 near Falkirk, see B817 (Bonnybridge - Larbert)

The B817 is an interesting road, with a complicated history. What is now the B817 was once the A9, and to a certain extent vice-versa, although there have been a lot of realignments and new pieces of road built to facilitate this change in numbering.


Drummond – Dalmore

Near Novar Estate

Today the B817 starts on the A9 to the south of Drummond Farm near Evanton. It immediately passes under the railway, while the A9 takes a completely new alignment as far as Dalmore, beyond Alness. After crossing Evanton Bridge over the River Sgitheach, the small and pretty village of Evanton is quickly passed through, with a couple of left turns leading up into the hills. After crossing the Allt Grad, the road kinks to the east and passes through the woodlands of the Novar estate, with the railway parallel just a few yards to the south, and a pleasant cycle track meandering through the trees nearby.

This brings the road to the junction with the B9176, the former A836 which crosses the hills to the Dornoch Firth near Ardgay. Turning right quickly leads back to the A9 at the [{Struie Junction]]. The B817 has to give way to the hill road, turning first left and then right at a staggered crossroads, although the old straight alignment of what was the A9 can still be identified. Beyond the junction, the road quickly curves back to run alongside the railway again, for about a mile until it reaches the edge of Alness. At the entrance to the town, the old alignment can be seen off to the left while the new line passes through the first of two roundabouts on the B817. Turning right leads over the railway, through an industrial estate and so to the A9, but the B817 continues ahead into Alness High Street, after crossing Alness Bridge over the River Averon. At the end of the High Street, the route TOTSOs into Dalmore Road, with priority given to Obsdale Road, the former route of the B817. Dalmore Road crosses over the railway, passes the supermarkets and so reaches Dalmore Junction.

Dalmore – Kildary

Dalmore Junction from the B817 overbridge

Dalmore Junction is the second of the B817's two roundabouts, this time just a mini, where the spur to the A9 connects. The mainline continues over the A9 on a bridge and curves round past Dalmore Distillery to meet the shore of the Cromarty Firth. This is still the old A9 as it heads into Invergordon, with views of the rigs sitting out in the firth for maintenance, or waiting for their next deployment. Despite the industrial nature of parts of the firth, it is a scenic drive along the tree lined shore, with the hills of the Black Isle off to the south.

Traffic lights for Invergordon Pier

The road crosses a new bridge over the Rosskeen Burn, with the old bridge squeezed between the new road and the railway line to the left. As the B817 enters Invergordon, a left turn leads to the High Street, the original course of the A9, but long before the routes swapped, the A9 had been re-routed along the shore, making use of the old harbour sidings to bypass the town centre. This newer road winds around the town centre, and it might be quicker to take the High Street at times. The long pier that suddenly appears as the road rounds the harbour area, stretching out into the firth, is accessed from a tricky traffic-light controlled crossroads, allowing lorries to go round the back of the town to the A9. Beyond the road passes through Saltburn, a single-sided street village looking out over the small beach to the firth beyond.

The road stays on the shore as it passes the small settlements of Balintraid and Pollo, but Barbaraville is a bigger village, forcing the road away from the shore. A re-profiled bend hints at the first attempts to improve traffic flow on the old A9, and then the road climbs up the slight hill through Kilmuir and on into Milton. Milton itself is a modern council estate clustered around a core of older houses and lies off the main road behind trees. Immediately beyond the village, the road turns sharp left to pass under the railway and the A9 into Kildary. Here the old alignment of the B817 joins from the left, before the road crosses the Balnagown River on Balnagown Bridge and finally reaches the end of its route with another simple T-junction on the A9.


This version of the B817 came into existence only in the late 1950s. It is first shown on the 1959 OS One inch map, but does not appear on the 1956 10 mile map. However, before the A9 swapped with the B817, the B817 was a much shorter road, running just from Alness to Kildary. It headed out of town on Obsdale Road, reaching the current route of the A9 at Milnafua. From Milnafua to about a mile beyond the Tomich junction, the road was rebuilt to a high standard in the early 1970s, either in anticipation of it becoming the A9 or just after it had done so, and with realignments at Roskeen Free Church, where the old road has partially been reclaimed by fields, and at Tomich. For the rest of the original B917 route to Kildary, the A9 remained frustratingly unimproved until the mid 1990s. There are further old loops at Dalney and Lower Tullich, before a left turn takes us onto the old road all the way to Kildary, with the A9 taking an excellent new alignment alongside the railway.

The two routes initially swapped at some point in the mid-1970s, with the B817 taking over the old A9 from the east end of Alness High Street through Invergordon to Kildary. Evanton was bypassed at some point, probably in the late 1970s, but it was not until the late 1980s that the Alness bypass was built and the B817 extended over the old A9 through Alness to the junction with the Struie Hil road (still A836 at that time). The 1983 OS Road Atlas shows the Evanton bypass open, and the old road as unclassified. The 1988 Readers Digest Atlas shows the Alness bypass open, with the old A9 now part of the B817, but the road through Evanton is still unclassified, and this is confirmed by the 1991 Landranger, so it must have been slightly later that the B817 gained its current full length.

Related Pictures
View gallery (18)
War memorial and High Street, Alness - Geograph - 1703787.jpgA9-kildary2.jpgB817-saltburn1.jpgA9-b817-alness.jpgBalnagown Bridge - Geograph - 6023818.jpg
Other nearby roads
B800 – B899
B800 • B801 • B802 • B803 • B804 • B805 • B806 • B807 • B808 • B809 • B810 • B811 • B812 • B813 • B814 • B815 • B816 • B817 • B818 • B819
B820 • B821 • B822 • B823 • B824 • B825 • B826 • B827 • B828 • B829 • B830 • B831 • B832 • B833 • B834 • B835 • B836 • B837 • B838 • B839
B840 • B841 • B842 • B843 • B844 • B845 • B846 • B847 • B848 • B849 • B850 • B851 • B852 • B853 • B854 • B855 • B856 • B857 • B858 • B859
B860 • B861 • B862 • B863 • B864 • B865 • B866 • B867 • B868 • B869 • B870 • B871 • B872 • B873 • B874 • B875 • B876 • B877 • B878 • B879
B880 • B881 • B882 • B883 • B884 • B885 • B886 • B887 • B888 • B889 • B890 • B891 • B892 • B893 • B894 • B895 • B896 • B897 • B898 • B899
Former versions: B801 • B805 • B808 • B810 • B812 • B814 • B817 • B825 • B828 • B834 • B835 • B837 • B848 • B851 • B852
B854 • B855 • B857 • B858 • B859 • B860 • B862 • B863 • B864 • B865 • B866 • B867 • B869 • B870 • B872 • B873 • B874
B875 • B876 • B877 • B879 • B880 • B883 • B887 • B889 • B891 • B892 • B893 • B895 • B896(N) • B896(W) • B897 • B898

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