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B852

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B852
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (2)
From:  Dores (NH598347)
To:  Whitebridge (NH494171)
Via:  Foyers
Distance:  13.4 miles (21.6 km)
Meets:  B862
Highway Authorities

Highland

Traditional Counties

Inverness-shire

Route outline (key)
B852 Dores – Whitebridge
This article is about the current B852 along Loch Ness.
For the former B852 in Glen Moriston, see B852 (Glen Moriston)
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Approaching Fairyburn Cottage

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.

The route starts 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 this probably has more to do with the copious parking places than anything else! Loch Ness fills a steep sided valley, so not only is it the deepest fresh water in Britain, it also has some very steep forested slopes rising up above the road. The road itself is rarely on the waters edge, a thick band of scrubby trees and undergrowth lying along the loch shore, instead the road follows the base of the hill, running along the back of what might be a raised beach created when the water level in the loch was higher.

The road is not particularly narrow along this section, with few places where two cars can't squeeze past each other, although a wheel may need to be put on the verge. With the wide grass verges and plentiful passing places and laybys, it feels wider, however, which can result in the odd bit of hard braking from the unwary. Eventually, the road widens a little more, and although narrow, is wide enough for two way traffic to pass with care. A short distance further on, it climbs a little, and winds past some substantial rock cut cliff faces. This is the notorious Black Rock section, which caused the military road builders enormous problems nearly 300 years ago when they decided to build the road along here.

The road remains two way as it turns away from the shore, and passes 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. Just before the bridge, a left turn climbs steeply up the 'Corkscrew Road', while just after the bridge another left turn takes a much gentler climb up the Pass of Inverfarigaig. The B852 keeps heading south west, but starts to climb steadily up from the lochside, through Boleskine to Foyers. This section is perhaps the narrowest, and the passing places are less frequent, causing traffic to proceed with care. Foyers is a village built mainly by the British Aluminium Company to house the workers at its Aluminium Smelter below on the loch shore. It is also the only real village on the road after Dores, and worth a stop to see the sometimes dramatic waterfalls cascading through the gorge

The road now leave Loch Ness behind completely, as it climbs up the side of the Foyers River. It has again been S2 through the village, but drops to single track after a dip as it climbs steeply up through woodland. The next couple of miles are a very narrow and twisty single-track section, twisting and turning around the hills whilst trying to follow the river valley. With all of the improvements carried out along the nearby B851 and B862 routes, it is a shame that nothing has been done to this stretch of the B852. Before long, however, it reaches its end on the B862 once more at Dalcrag Bridge.

History

The origins of this road lie in 1715 with the first Jacobite Uprising. General Wade was subsequently appointed to build forts and connecting roads through the Great Glen and, as noted at the beginning of this page, he opted to take his road down the south side of Loch Ness. The original route ran much higher up on a route now more closely followed by the B862, but after the first few winters when the road was blocked by snow storms, a lower route was sought. Wade had already surveyed the loch shore, and decided that the work required at Black Rock was too difficult and expensive, but it was reappraised and the road started.

From Dores to Inverfarigaig the current B852 stays pretty close to the line of Wades Road. There are a couple of places where earthworks to either side suggest the original line of the military road, but nothing very substantial. At Inverfarigaig, the old bridge survives cloaked in vegetation upstream of the modern one, but then the B852 seems to stick to the old line into Foyers. It has previously been suggested that Wade stayed close to the water, and that the Foyers Power Station is on his road line, but the subsequent climb to Upper Foyers has never been found, and seems an unnecessary expense.

Beyond Foyers come the two most easily identified changes to the whole road, as it twice detours away from Wade's route. Firstly near the Glen Liath junction, where the new road climbs higher through a cutting in the hillside, eradicating Wade's hairpins, which can just about be identified in the trees above the field. Then half a mile further on, 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, where the old bridge again survives.




B852
Crossings
Roads
Related Pictures
View gallery (2)
Approaching Fairyburn cottage along B852 - Geograph - 1646122.jpgSquirrels! - Coppermine - 1340.jpg
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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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