|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||13.4 miles (21.6 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The B852 is a fantastic road, running along the shores of Loch Ness with some stunning views across the water, and plentiful laybys and picnic sites. It is single track in places, but you can forgive it that, you can also forgive the sharp bends, blind summits and stubborn oncoming traffic forcing you to reverse. Why? Well, because all the time you can look across the loch, and picture yourself stuck at forty on the congested A82! Almost all of the road owes its existence to General Wade, who built the road in the 1730s to connect the Forts of the Great Glen. He chose to take the road up the south east side of Loch Ness, rather than the more populated North West side due to the reduced number of river crossings needed, and the shorter route without the detours around bays at Invermoriston and Drumnadrochit. Having said that, the road was unclassified in 1922, getting its number within the next 10 years.
We start on the B862 at Dores, and almost immediately drop to the tree-lined shore of Loch Ness. Heading south through dappled sunlight at fifty-sixty (with the occasional heavy braking!) gives you plenty of chances to admire the view, or even stop and paddle in the loch from one of the numerous laybys. It is also from this road that the most sightings of Nessie have been made, although I suspect this has more to do with the copious parking places than anything else!
We eventually turn away from the shore, and pass through the tiny settlement of Inverfarigaig, where the River Farigaig is crossed on Inverfarigaig Bridge, sitting alongside its predecessor built nearly 300 years ago by General Wade. The road then starts to climb steadily up from the lochside, through Boleskine to Foyers, a village built mainly by the British Aluminium Company to house the workers at its Aluminium Smelter below on the loch shore. Foyers is the only real village on the road after Dores, and worth a stop to see the sometimes dramatic waterfalls cascading through the gorge
We now leave Loch Ness behind us completely, climbing up the side of the Foyers River on a very narrow and twisty single-track section to reach the B862 once more at Dalcrag Bridge. Along the way, the road twice detours away from Wade's route, firstly near the Glen Liath junction, where the new road climbs higher through a cutting, eradicating Wade's hairpins, and then half a mile further on, where a gate on the right shows the old road dropping down to cross the Allt na Sidhein on a double box-culvert, while the new road runs around the head of the gulley. The road then continues to meander through the woodland, always single track, and never far from the River Foyers to the junction at Dalcrag Bridge.