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B862

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B862
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (28)
From:  Inverness (NH665456)
To:  Fort Augustus (NH379091)
Via:  Whitebridge
Distance:  33.6 miles (54.1 km)
Meets:  B865, B861, B8082, B852, B851, B852, A82
Former Number(s):  A862
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Highland

Traditional Counties

Inverness-shire

Route outline (key)
B862 Inverness - Fort Augustus
This article is about the current B862 from Inverness to Fort Augustus.
For the former B862 on the Black Isle, see B862 (Black Isle)
.


The B862 is the former A862 from Inverness to Fort Augustus. It runs down the eastern side of Loch Ness, effectively parallel to the A82.

Route

Inverness - Whitebridge

The B862 passing Loch Ceol Glais

The B862 starts on the B865 Academy Street, just a short distance from the A82 in the centre of Inverness. It then heads straight down to the bank of the River Ness on Friars Lane, and follows the river south-westwards along Bank Street, which is called one of the finest riverside vistas of any town or city in the country. This epithet is given due to the soaring towers and spires of the numerous churches that line the banks of the Ness in the Highland Capital. The B861 is crossed at the head of Ness Bridge, and the route then passes along Castle Road, under the mound of Inverness Castle, before departing from the river bank opposite the Cathedral. It is only a short deviation along Haugh Road, however, as the two reconverge near the Ness Islands, before splitting once more as the Victorian Villas of Lower Drummond gain the better view.

Continuing along Island Bank Road and Dores Road, the A8082 Inverness Eastern Relief Road is reached at Holm Roundabout. Almost immediately the speed limit ends and the road leaves the urban sprawl of this northern city. From the edge of Inverness, the road follows a series of long straights over undulating ground to the village of Dores. It climbs steadily at first past Scaniport and into Darroch Wood, before descending once more. The view down to Loch Ness are mostly hidden behind thick gorse hedges, but here and there glimpses can be seen. A sweeping dip takes the B862 down through Strath Dores, past the village school and in to Dores, where the spectacular B852 turns off to follow the shores of Loch Ness.

From the junction, the road immediately starts to climb steeply out of the village, at first through a mixture of woodland and forestry, before emerging onto the open hillside, with a scattering of houses to either side. There is a slight dip after the old steading at Kindrummond, and then it climbs round a sharper double bend and up to a summit of nearly 250m on Ashie Moor. Here it meets the southern end of of the Essich Road, which leads back into Inverness and is the line of the original military road built by General Wade through the Great Glen. For the next mile, the B862 follows a windy route, undulating gently to reach the southern end of Loch Duntelchaig. A narrow valley filled by Loch Ceo Glais then leads the road south to Torness where it crosses the River Farigaig. Since Dores, the B862 has never been a wide road, but generally wide enough for two cars to pass. However, along the shores of Loch Ceo Glais it is reduced to single track, and although some short sections have been widened, it remains so until Torness.

Beyond the bridge at Torness, the B862 deviates away from General Wades route as it climbs a little and runs through a narrow pass between hills, forming a shallow watershed, with another short single track section. At the junction with the B851, the B862 takes over the role of windfarm access road, and so there are periodic improvements to the route as it works its way south. A mile or so further on and Loch Mhor is reached, and soon the straggling village of Errogie. Here, a sharp bend at a junction has been replaced by the demolition of a derelict house to make way for a sweeping bend. The road continues southwards along the loch side, running along some long straights belying their origins as a military road.

After a left turn crosses a bridge over a narrow part of the loch to Aberchalder, the road passes through Gorthleck and into Lochgarthside with improvements here and there, largely dictated by the garden walls and other property boundaries of the houses strewn along the roadside. Although most maps show alternating stretches of single track and two-way road, in reality there are only inches difference between the two, and much of the single track sections have gravelly verges between passing places. Eventually, however, the loch comes to an end, the road widens back to a reasonable S2 and a mile or so further on the B852 is met once more.

Whitebridge - Fort Augustus

One of the long, undulating straights built by Wade

The junction with the B852 actually lies about a mile to the north of the village and bridge at Whitebridge, and has an old bridge of its own. There is then another narrow section, but with good visibility before the road straightens up and runs into the village where there is a hotel on the site of the old Kings House Inn. Leaving the village, the road winds slightly through forestry before it starts climbing across open hillside with good sightlines (most of the time) and only a few (nasty) bends. The road is all S2 for now, with the long straights identifying this section as one of General Wade's Military Roads. The road is so empty that even the bends are of little concern, although new planting means that the view are starting to disappear.

Soon the summit car parks are reached, at just under 400m, with excellent views, across a much lower valley to the south east, begging the question of why the road has climbed so high.Almost immediately the road drops down to single track, and although the road ahead may look clear and empty, there are several invisible blind summits/bends, from which oncoming traffic can emerge unexpectedly. To start with, the road drops steadily back down the hill, before a much sharper twisty descent at the end to reach the small Loch Tarff where the water seems to lap on the tarmac. The road along the lochside has been widened to S2, but the tight twists and bends remain, making it difficult to stay on the correct side of the road, and maintain any speed. Large vehicles are also across both carriageways, although doubtless it was designed to allow the large vehicles for the windfarm to proceed more easily through.

Beyond the loch, while it initially narrows, the road remains mostly S2, although there is no white line, and the width of the road varies enormously. It twists and turns through trees, as it dips steeply down to cross the Allt Doe Bridge. It then climbs a little, passing the new Hydro scheme at Glendoe, beyond which there is a long steep, striaghtish descent down the hillside, with a generous layby on the left hand side. The views down to Fort Augustus at the head of Loch Ness are spectacular, before the road plunges back into the trees and comes to a junction. The narrow road is signposted for Ardachy, but actually provides a short cut to the southbound A82, useful for those heading south. The B862 itself turns round to the right, crosses the Bridge of Tarff and emerges in Fort Augustus near the Abbey.

History

As mentioned above, the B862 can for the most part trace its history back to the 1720s when General Wade built his Military Road through the Great Glen. The extent to which the road has changed in the intervening centuries is minimal, as is evidenced by the fact that it still passes Inverness Castle at the northern end, and terminates outside Fort Augustus Abbey (the old fort) at the southern end, while following mile after mile of long straight sections along the way.

Obviously, the road has been resurfaced several times, the first recorded instance being in the 1810s when Thomas Telford is known to have worked on the route, despite building what is now the A82 to replace it on the opposite bank of Loch Ness. The width of the road has also changed, as it would have been built at the standard 15-18 feet used on Military Roads. The narrower width was only used on steep gradients, sharp bends and bridges. However, while the S2 sections of the road are probably now wider than 18 feet in places, the single-track sections are considerably narrower than 15 feet, even when the passing places are taken into consideration. Whilst it is believed that Telford rebuilt the whole width of the road, subsequent repairs presumably only concentrated on the rutted carriageway on this lightly used route.

Along the route of the B862, many streams and rivers are crossed. Most appear to have older bridges carrying the road, although how many date back to Telford or even Wade is uncertain. What is clear, however, is that the Whitebridge that stands along side the modern road bridge was built by Major Caulfeild in 1732 while he was still working under Wade.

In 1922 much of the Military Road was given the B851 number, although the classified road followed the higher route out of Inverness, via Loch Ashie. The lower road was clearly the more obvious route, however, and when it was upgraded to Class I status, becoming the A862 in the mid-1920s, the route was revised to follow the other Military Road through Strath Dores. It is this route that has been downgraded without changing its number, to become today's B862.

Although previously thought that the route was downgraded when the A9 across the Black Isle was opened, to release the A862 number for the former route of the A9, it is now clear that this is not strictly the case. The 1979 OS Routemaster map shows the B862 in place, with the A9 still running via Beauly and Dingwall, proving that the route was downgraded in anticipation of the changes to the north.




B862
Junctions
Crossings
Roads
Places
Related Pictures
View gallery (28)
Signs By Road - Geograph - 801042.jpgInverness pre B8082.jpgRiver Farigaig falls at Torness - Geograph - 1184603.jpgHolm Roundabout - aerial from south.jpgInverness - River Ness bridges aerial looking north.jpg
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Former versions: B801 • B805 • B808 • B810 • B812 • B814 • B817 • B825 • B828 • B834 • B835 • B837 • B848 • B851 • B852
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