|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||10.6 miles (17.1 km)|
|Old route now:||A861, A884|
|Route outline (key)|
The B849 is another of the roads in the West Highlands that really don't warrant a classification. I recently cycled the full ten miles, passing only three cars along the way! However, when the road numbers were allocated the Lochaline-Fishnish Ferry didn't exist (neither did the A884) and the pier at Bunavullin was just as important for these remote communities as the Lochaline Pier.
The road starts at Lochaline, with two spurs joining the A884, one on the northern fringe of the village, and the other near its heart. The two join next to the village church (with the northern road having to give way), and that is the final junction we will encounter for the next ten miles. There are a surprising number of houses along the road as we head north westwards along the southern shore of Morvern. To our left is the Sound of Mull, with fine views across the channel to that island, and plenty of activity on the water most days. To our right, the land climbs steadily to sudden cliffs marking a former shoreline or some other geological event of millions of years ago.
After ten uneventful miles, where the most significant junctions are private driveways, we finally come to another public road, the short unclassified road that drops down to serve a dozen or so properties at Bunavullin. A quarter of a mile later, the road terminates at the jetty which still provides a twice-weekly passenger ferry to Tobermory on Mull. Private drives continue north-westwards to Drimnin, with a poor-relief road (now an untarred estate road with incongruous mileposts) of 1880 running for another 8 miles to a semi-derelict croft on the shores of Loch Sunart.
The 1922 Road Lists state that the B849 started some distance to the north, at Drimsallie on the A830 near Kinlocheil, and headed south to Lochaline, along what is now the A861 and A884. The A861 was only the second number to be added after the original 1922 list was completed, so the B849 appears to have been curtailed after perhaps only 12 months; however, the A884 number dates from around 1930, so it seems that part of the original route at least lasted a little longer.
However, the original 1922 route does not include any of the modern route, and at present it is unclear exactly when the Lochaline - Drimnin road became part of the B849. It was, however, almost certainly included before the A884 was created on the section from Loch Sunart (to the east of Strontian) to Lochaline. The present route, including both spurs in Lochaline, is shown on the 1932 Ten Mile Road Map and the road is unchanged since then.