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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (9)
From:  Lochinver (NC099235)
To:  Unapool (NC231314)
Via:  Drumbeg
Distance:  22 miles (35.4 km)
Meets:  A837, A894
Highway Authorities


Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
B869 Lochinver - Unapool
This article is about the current B869 from Unapool to Lochinver.
For the former B869 (now A839) at Lairg, see B869 (Lairg)

The B869, is a route which gained its number in the late 1920s, having originally been left unclassified. It is a truly fantastic drive along single-track roads, with steep hills and unexpected switchbacks, although it seems likely that the road is only ever used by those who have a destination along it and tourists, as you really wouldn't want to be driving it to get from Lochinver to Unapool!


Lochinver - Clashnessie

The first (and probably busiest) part of the B869 is at the Lochinver end. Don't be fooled - it's empty in the Winter, but can be nightmarish in the summer when tourists head for the beaches, and has become even busier since the NC500 was created and follows the B869. This part of the route is surprisingly habited, with a scattering of houses on the roadside and as many more hidden away along driveways. After about a mile and a half, the route reaches Torbreck, where the road to Achmelvich leads off, along with a good bit of traffic - it's a really nice beach, with a large caravan park next to it!

Back on the B869, it continues it thrilling journey of twists and turns, ups and downs, as it works its way north west. A long steep climb leads to a stunning viewpoint just below the summit, looking back across the hills of Assynt. The view ahead over the top is just as spectacular, but with nowhere to stop. The road can be seen stretching into the distance as it winds down the hill, propped up by retaining walls spanning between small cliffs, then round a small lochan, between some rocky knolls, out of site, then appearing again perhaps a mile away. What can't be seen in the foreground is the blind bend round a rock face, followed by a steep narrow descent with little side protection. The road that had been seen in the distance is snaking along the shore of Loch an Ordain, before following its outflow between rocky hills for a short distance. It then climbs over to the Maiden Loch, before snaking over another rocky hill.

Heading south into Stoer

Eventually, the road reaches Clachtoll, another tiny village clustered around a beautiful sandy beach with a small caravan site. If heading Southbound, the Split Rock at the end of Clachtoll Beach can be seen. A short, level run across the machair dunes leads past the Clach Tholl Broch on the ridge above the coast, and in to Stoer, yet another tiny village with a beautiful, but less visited beach. So far the road has been a mixture of single track with some long two-way sections, but as it leaves the west coast behind, and turns north east, the road becomes narrower, and dare it be said, twistier. The road climbs through Stoer Village, and on into the hills, with a fairly steady line of older cottages mixed with newer houses dotted along the roadside. Soon a junction with a minor road is reached, leading off to (deep breath) Culkein Stoer, Balcladich, Raffin, Clashmore and Achnacairn. Oh, and a rather nice lighthouse at the stunning Stoer Head.

The B869, meanwhile, drops down into Clashnessie, which is a kind-of halfway mark, where the road turns from the fairly busy west coast, into a more sparsely populated, rugged wilderness. On the bright side, the driving gets more thrilling. Clashnessie is again a village clustered around the head of a large sandy beach, but as this one faces north it is somewhat quieter. It also has sandy coloured sand instead of the bright white sand of the west coast beaches.

Clashnessie - Unapool

For about a mile past Clashnessie, the road winds along the cliffs and rocks of the rugged west coast, the sea often frothing and foaming as the waves crash onto the rocks below. A rock cutting and some substantial retaining walls ease the route as it pushes on, turning into the narrow defile past Loch na Bruthaich. A long straightish climb lifts the road out of this narrowing ravine, and onto a flatter moorland at Strathcroy. Here the road winds eastwards round small, ragged lochs, often with just a narrow verge separating traffic from a quick swim. Another short climb takes the road over a summit of 82m, before a steeper descent to Oldany, where the road winds down the riverbank to the head of tidal Lochan na Leobaig. The river is crossed three times in this shallow valley, before the road turns and climbs a little up to Loch Drumbeg.

Passing through Drumbeg

The road twists and turns as it fights its way around this strangely shaped loch of bays, narrows and islands. At the far end lies the little village of Drumbeg, perhaps the largest village along the road. It certainly has a hotel, B&Bs, cafe, a shop and other facilities, all boosted since the NC500 was created. The village is, however, still small with only a few dozen houses, and so quickly passed. Over another low, rocky hill lies the smaller village of Nedd, sitting on the hill above the wooded shores of Loch Nedd. Nedd is the last of the steady string of villages that lie along the B869, however, and after the couple of houses at Nedd Bridge at the foot of Gleann Leireag, the road starts a long journey east across some wild and empty moors.

At the top of Gleannan nan Caorach

The initial climb through the glen is dominated by the dramtically steep slopes of Sail Ghorm ahead, but then the road turns north out of the glen, and winds up to its highest point at around 130m. The final climb, around a horseshoe bend, crests the summit before the road dips past a couple of small lochans. On a clear day there are some fabulous views off to the north across Edrachillis Bay. A tight right hander starts the descent, winding down the hill into a wooded gulley. A series of steep climbs and descents then takes the road over the ridges either side of the steep wooded Glen Ardbhair, with another dramatic view ahead of the road climbing out as it plunges down a series of sharp bends. A small parking area at the further summit allows you to stop and look back across the road just driven, and let your heart rate decrease!

Another steepening descent drops the road down onto the hillside above Loch a Chairn Bhain, a deeply incised sea loch, with a glimpse of the Kylesku Bridge possible past the rocky lump of Eilean a Ghamhna. The road doesn't follow the steep loch shores for long, however, instead turning inland once more and finding a narrow ledge to climb up the steep ravine of Glenannan nan Caorach, with the steep mountain stream just down to the left. The road crosses the stream near the top of this gulley, and soon emerges onto moorland, with the road visible as it stretches out ahead, gently climbing across the heather. Across the summit, the road winds along the shore of Loch Unapool, then cuts through a slight dip in the hills to find the A894 below. A sharp left turn leads down to the junction, and the final end of the B869!

Related Pictures
View gallery (9)
B869 in Drumbeg - Geograph - 1260819.jpgLoch nan Claidhmhnean on the B869 - Geograph - 229163.jpgThe Kylesku junction on the B869 - Geograph - 228935.jpgB869 Between Lochinver and Stoer - Coppermine - 16298.jpgBridge on the Drumbeg Road in a delightfully wooded section - Geograph - 4945970.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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