|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||13.1 miles (21.1 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The first section along Loch Arkaig's northern shore beyond the Eas Chia Aig falls is still B8005, but after the Achnacarry Estate road joins, it drops a class, becoming the C1153. Immediately, we are warned that the road is liable to flooding, and indeed there are just a few inches between road and water level at times, but I have never known it flood, even in strong winds. The road then begins its eternal sequence of twists, turns, climbs and descents, passing barely half a dozen houses in the next ten miles. Along the way, however, we do pass approximately 15 caravan plots on the loch shore, which are let out by the estate as 'second homes', although the tenants have to provide the caravan! Eventually a gate is reached and the public road ends at the remote settlement of Strathan at the head of Loch Arkaig. Once home to a small community, there is only one house left today, and that is some distance beyond the end of the road.
For the first mile or so, where the road runs along the loch shore below the forestry, there are traces of an older road just a couple of paces up the steep bank into the trees. Mapping evidence isn't accurate enough to identify when the road was rebuilt, but it seems likely that it was either in the late 1930s, or the 1960s, when many other roads across the Highlands were similarly rebuilt. However, it is rare for such a comparatively minor route to have been moved like this.
The purpose of this road, part of which was originally built by Thomas Telford, seems to have been to serve the barracks at Strathan as much as the people who lived along it, even though the barracks were almost deserted when the road was built, and the people largely displaced by the clearances that happened in 1802/4. It was, almost certainly, part of a grander scheme to connect Knoydart to the rest of the world, but 200-odd years later it is still unfinished!