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North Ford Causeway

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North Ford Causeway
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (4)
From:  Benbecula
To:  North Uist
Highway Authority
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
On road(s)
Crossings related to the A865

Crossing from Benbecula to North Uist, this causeway is touted as the longest in the Western Isles. However, as it jumps between islands, it is not a continuous causeway! The full route between the two main islands is about 4 miles, linking about 7 islands of varying sizes, and crossing three bridges along the way. Two of the bridges are large enough to allow small boats through.


The North Ford

Before the causeway opened, boats plied the channel at High tide, and at low tide it was possible to walk across.

1959 Map showing fords prior to the opening of the causeway

However, with four miles of potentially treacherous sand to cross in at most 2 hours, it was a risky business. A number of local men worked as guides, tracing the route between cairns, but after winter storms they often had to find a new route.

The Causeway

Opened by the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on 7 September 1960, the Causeway brought new hope to the communities that it served, and meant that vehicles could now cross with ease, rather than relying on ferry boats. This was probably the first step from boat to car as the main transport method in this part of the Western Isles. Contractor was William Tawse and Co. Ltd. of Aberdeen, cost £650,000.

When opened, the causeway was entirely single track 10 foot wide, with 9 passing places per mile. However, work is has recently been undertaken to upgrade several sections to full S2, the remainder due to be improved in the coming years. Much of the route across the intermediate islands is now complete, and some of the causeway sections have also been done.

The Route

Starting at Cairinis on North Uist, the A865 heads south east along a finger of land before reaching the first causeway section. This stretches over to Garbh-Eilean, using a midway rocky islet along the way. A very short causeway then links to Eilean a'Ghiorr, and so far there have been no bridges, or even culverts through the causeway as far as can be ascertained at high tide! The next section, across to Grimsay does, however, include a bridge which, despite improvements to either side, is still currently single track.

North across Grimsay

The Island of Grimsay is a sizeable island, and the ring road around the island is about 5 miles long. However, the A865 just cuts the corner of the island, crossing in about 700m! A series of very short causeways link across the rocks to the small island of Eilean na h-Airigh. This is the last of the proper islands used by the Causeway, and so the last half mile or so is mostly causeway, using just a couple of rocks as it turns the final corner to approach Benbecula. There are two more bridges on this section, and again both remain single-track despite upgrades to either side.


North Ford Causeway
Related Pictures
View gallery (4)
N-ford1.jpgN-ford2.jpg20180523-1442 - A865 North Ford Causeway 57.5126543N 7.2702218W.jpg20180523-1539 - A865 North Ford Causeway to Grimsay 57.4966621N 7.2731338W.jpg
Other nearby roads
Crossings to and within the Western Isles
To the IslesBarra Ferry • Lochboisdale Ferry • Uig - North Uist Ferry • Uig-Harris Ferry • Lewis Ferry
Within the IslesVatersay Causeway • Sound of Barra Ferry • Daliburgh Causeway • Druidibeag Causeway • Eriskay Causeway • Loch Bee Causeway • South Ford Causeway • North Ford Causeway • Baleshare Causeway • Berneray Causeway • Sound of Harris Ferry • Seilebost Causeway • Scalpay Bridge • Great Bernera Bridge
Other AreasIrish Sea • Inner Hebrides • Western Isles • Shetland • Orkney • North Sea • English Channel • Solent • Inland Crossings • Other Island Crossings

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