|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||3.2 miles (5.1 km)|
|Old route now:||A9|
|Route outline (key)|
The B9161 is a short but useful link from the A9 just north of Inverness to Munlochy on the A832, and so on to Fortrose and Cromarty. It therefore provides a shorter, quicker route than by taking the A9 up to the Tore Roundabout and doubling back along the A832. The reason why this is a B road instead of the A832 is that up until the opening of the Kessock Bridge, the Kessock Ferry was not the easiest means of crossing to Inverness, and following the A832 westwards to come around via Beauly was a common journey.
The road starts, therefore, in Munlochy at a simple T-junction on the A832 at the east end of the village and heads south west along the main street. After briefly turning southwards, the road swings back to the south west and follows a series of straights down to the A9. Immediately before reaching the dual carriageway, a staggered crossroads is where the B9162 used to arrive from the north, and the B9161 turn to the left into North Kessock, and so the ferry.
Signage in Inverness is a little confused, with at least one sign on the A82 at the approaches to the Shore Street Roundabout showing the B9161 heading into Inverness along Chapel Street, although it only gets as far as the B862 Friars' Lane. Indeed, Open Street Map also give Chapel Street our number, and the Highland Council themselves don't seem to be too sure. Common sense suggests that the street should be either the B862 or, more likely, the B865. However, for now it remains as a slightly lost stub, reminding us of the historical route of the road into the city centre.
Before the A9 was extended north in 1935, everything north of Inverness was in Zone 8, so the B9161 was originally the B861. However, that is not the full story, as prior to 1935 the B861 crossed the Kessock Ferry to pass through Inverness, continuing south along its current route. This means that the modern B9161 and B861 were once part of a continuous route.
From South Kessock the road entered Inverness across the Grant Street Bridge and then along Chapel Street (as above) and Academy Street to reach the A9, which ran along Eastgate and the High Street. In 1935 the road to the north became the B9161, with the B861 continuing to head south, as now, on Castle Street. This situation persisted until the Kessock Bridge was opened, and the A9 rerouted across it, so replacing part of the southern section of the B9161.
However, as noted above, the story within Inverness is less clear. The 1988 OS Landranger still shows part of the B9161 - from Grant Street across Waterloo Bridge and into the city centre on Chapel Street as an un-numbered B road. It is known that it met the B9146 where the Shore Street Roundabout is now, and that another B road, probably the B9145 connected Grant Street to the A862. However, the number of the B road in between is not known. Whilst a survival of the B9161 (the section out to the ferry slipway has been unclassified) in the city seems plausible judging by the surviving signage, it is equally possible that the B9146 took over part of the route and indeed the B9145, for which the mapping evidence is not entirely legible.