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B9163

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B9163
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (8)
From:  Conon Bridge (NH543549)
To:  Cromarty (NH786674)
Distance:  19.6 miles (31.5 km)
Meets:  A862, B9162, A835, A9, B9169, B9160, A832
Former Number(s):  B863
Old route now:  B9175
Highway Authorities

Highland

Traditional Counties

Cromartyshire • Ross-shire

Route outline (key)
B9163 Cromarty - Conon Bridge
B9163 Nigg Ferry - Cromarty
B9163 Newfield - Nigg Ferry

The B9163 is a long winding route which follows the northern coast of the Black Isle.

Route

Aerial view of the junction with the A9

The route starts on the A862 at the southern edge of Conon Bridge and heads north east along School Road. Older houses soon give way to modern housing estates, and then the diminutive B9162 is met at a new roundabout. The route continues ahead and soon meets the A835, which is crossed at a staggered crossroads, doglegging to the right. The small settlement of Corntown is strung along the road, with more houses dotted about in the fields beyond, as the route continues its sinuous journey to the north east. Alcaig is a slightly larger settlement, and the route curves tightly round to the right before TOTSOing left as it passes the few houses. A long straight follows, although the road is no longer really wide enough for two cars to pass at speed. Another double bend follows a mile or so later at Urquhart, although there is no TOTSO this time.

The coast has been close at hand for some time, albeit rarely visible behind the hedgerows, houses and trees. As the road winds through the straggling settlement of Urquhart, however, the wide expanse of the Cromarty Firth is more firmly in view and before long the road has dropped to the shore, winding along just above the high water mark. It then cuts through a block of woodland and climbs away from the shore a little, with a long narrow field separating them as far as the A9 Junction. As before, this is a staggered crossroads with a dogleg to the right which sits just above the Cromarty Bridge, and offers a fine viewpoint across the firth, not that there is much space to park. The road is now back to a proper S2 width as it continues to run north east through the fields just above the shore. After passing Findon Mains, however, it starts to climb, gently at first, but then steepening as it winds up to the junction with the B9169 north of Culbokie. This is another TOTSO, with the road north from Culbokie having priority.

A long straight then leads over the summit of around 121m, before a slight kink leads onto the even longer Culicudden Straight. This is a good wide, straight road which cuts through the fields and offers some fine views across the firth. There are many properties scattered along the roadside, and several short lanes lead down to the shoreside houses far below the road. At the end of the straight, a left - right kink leads to a crossroads, with the left turn leading down to the shore at Alnessferry, a historical crossing point of the Firth. The routes starts to wiggle a little now, as it runs along the ridge through Resolis and then drops down the hill towards the shore at Balblair. Before reaching the shore, however, the road curves round to the south, with a minor road forming a loop through Newhall on the shore - another old ferry point, this time to Invergordon.

Still gently losing height and briefly reduced to a rather odd S1 with closely-spaced passing places, the road meets the other end of the coastal loop through Newhall at the ruins of the old parish church, as it works its way around the head of Udale Bay. This vast area of mudflats is popular with bird watchers and there is a lay-by and RSPB hide on the left for their convenience. A sharp left turn at a T junction takes the route over the Newhall Burn, and soon after the B9163 has to TOTSO again at the next T junction. Here the B9160 continues ahead, climbing over Mount High to the southern coast at Rosemarkie. The B9163, meanwhile is now heading east and soon finds the shore as it runs through the small village of Jemimaville. The route then sticks close to the waters edge as it winds eastwards along the coast. At first there are sandy beaches, but slowly they give way to narrower strips of shingle. On the opposite side of the road, the hill rises steeply up, with a very steep wooded section separating the road from the fields above. A handful of minor roads and lanes fight their way up this steep slope to connect to the A832 High above.

Alongside the Cromarty Firth

On a fine sunny day, this stretch of the B9163 is a joy to drive, or cycle, with blue skies, blue water creating spectacular views across the Cromarty Firth. The presence of the oil rigs seem to add interest to the view, particularly if boats are flitting back and forth on the water. At length, however, it must come to an end, and round a slight bend the first glimpse of Cromarty is spied ahead. A little later, the first houses are reached, with the route sticking to the shore at first on Bayview Crescent. At the fork, however, it turns inland, another TOTSO, staying on Bayview Crescent for the shore run to end on the A832 at Victoria Park near the centre of this ancient Burgh.

History

Before the A9 was extended north in 1935, everything north of Inverness was in Zone 8, so the B9163 was originally the B863. In 1922 that road ended at the pier in Cromarty but was extended over the Nigg Ferry and on to the A88 (present A9) near Newfield at some point before 1932.

Although the entire route was renumbered B9163 in 1935 the ferry service was perhaps only ever a pedestrian service, and so in the mid 1950s the section of the route in Easter Ross was declassified. It regained Class II status in the 1970s, albeit as the B9175, as it was no longer part of a through route with the rest of the B9163. The reason for re-numbering it was the development of Nigg Port as part of the local Oil Industry Service facilities. A car ferry service was eventually initiated in the 1980s, and has continued, with some interruptions, to this day, but the B9175 has not been renumbered back to the B9163.




B9163
Places
Related Pictures
View gallery (8)
B9163 near Balblair - Coppermine - 6092.jpgB9162.jpgA9 B9163 junction and Cromarty Bridge aerial.jpgB9163 080623 2.jpgB9163 080623 1.jpg
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B9140 • B9141 • B9142 • B9143 • B9144 • B9145 • B9146 • B9147 • B9148 • B9149 • B9150 • B9151 • B9152 • B9153 • B9154 • B9155 • B9156 • B9157 • B9158 • B9159
B9160 • B9161 • B9162 • B9163 • B9164 • B9165 • B9166 • B9167 • B9168 • B9169 • B9170 • B9171 • B9172 • B9173 • B9174 • B9175 • B9176 • B9177 • B9178 (W) • B9178 (E) • B9179
B9180 • B9181 • B9182 • B9183 • B9184 • B9185 • B9186 • B9187 • B9188 • B9189 • B9190 • B9191 • B9192 • B9193 • B9194 • B9195 • B9196 • B9197 • B9198 • B9199
B9993
Earlier iterations: B9111 • B9145 • B9151 • B9164


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