|Location Map ( geo)
|Places related to the A9
The Royal Burgh of Tain lies on the southern shore of the mouth of the Dornoch Firth to the north of Inverness. It is not a particularly large town, but due to the remote rural area that extends, particularly, to the north and west, it acts as a service town for a wide area, so is home to a number of supermarkets and other businesses. The town has a long history, and whilst it has seen less growth in the modern post war era than Alness and Invergordon to the south, this only means that the fine old buildings of the town centre survive, often still performing their original purpose.
The main road through Tain has long been the Great North Road running from Inverness to Caithness. In the 1810s Thomas Telford built the road over Struie Hill to act as a more direct route north, but he also improved the road via Tain to the Meikle Ferry, all as part of his commission on Highland Roads and Bridges. The A9, however, was routed via Tain, and even with the bypass, the road grazes the edge of the town as it makes its way north. The old route of the A9 through the town is now the B9174. When the roads were originally classified, the A9 was the A88 (Inverness - Scrabster), and it was this route that passed through Tain until the A9 was extended north.
To the north, the Meikle Ferry has long since ceased running - the construction of Bonar Bridge by Telford saw its importance diminish, and by the 1960s it just offered a pedestrian service. It's replacement is the Dornoch Firth Bridge, which carries the A9 on a shorter route than even Telford had managed, the old road along the south side of the Firth is now the A836, which meets the A9 again many miles to the north in Thurso, after taking a very different route.
South of Tain, the peninsulas of Tarbat Ness and Nigg are reached by a couple of B roads. The B9165 turns off the A9 and heads to Fearn and Portmahomack, the B9166 branching off to Balintore. A little further along the A9, the B9175 leaves the Nigg Roundabout and heads to Nigg itself. For many years this was the B9163, which crossed the Nigg Ferry to Cromarty and continued across the Black Isle to meet the A9 again near Conon Bridge.
|Thurso, Wick (A99)
|Crosses Dornoch Firth Bridge, also NC500
|NC500. was A88
|Bonar Bridge, Ardgay, Edderton
|was A88, then A9
|Fearn, Balintore (B9166), Portmahomack
|route through town
|was B863, then B9163