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Tummel Bridge to Drumochter Road

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Tummel Bridge to Drumochter Road
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Tummel Bridge to Drumochter Road
From:  Tummel Bridge (NN751594)
To:  Dalnacardoch (NN725702)
Via:  Trinafour
Distance:  9.8 miles (15.8 km)
Meets:  B846, B847, A9
Old route now:  B847
Highway Authorities

Perth and Kinross

Traditional Counties


The road described here is only part of a much longer route built under the direction of General Wade in the 1720s. Designed to link the new fort at Inverness with the Ruthven Barracks and then continue south to Crieff in Perthshire, much of the old road north of Drumochter is now parallelled by the A9. South of Tummel Bridge, the route follows the B846, A826 and A822 to Crieff. However, this section in the middle is largely unclassified today, with the exception of a short stretch of the B847.


Tummel Bridge to Trinafour

We start on the B846 just under a mile to the west of Tummel Bridge, with a small T-junction where the minor road is signposted to 'The North'. Impressive words for an unclassified road, but one with a great deal of history. The road immediately starts climbing, with a short straight before a bend as the contours steepen. It then runs in a long straight, climbing across the slope rather than directly up it, but as the gradient changes, so the road seems to undulate creating a series of blind(ish) summits and hidden dips.

Today the road is fairly well wooded / forested on either side, but the occasional glimpse through gaps of far off mountains gives an idea of the sort of experience Wade and his contemporaries had when travelling along this route. It must have been a bleak and inhospitable place at times, but as the road climbed higher, things would only get worse.

The long straight is not actually as straight as it appears, and eventually the curve tightens around Drumcroy Hill before dropping quite sharply down to the B847. The B847 now follows Wade's Road north for about 2/3 of a mile into the tiny settlement of Trinafour. Here the old road turns left before the new bridge over the Errochty Water, and climbs up past the church to the old bridge.

Trinafour to Dalnacardoch

After the long straights of the previous section, the road changes character completely now. The north side of Glen Errochty is steep and so the road requires a series of sharp bends to make the initial ascent from the bridge. At present traffic lights control the flow on this narrow steep section, thanks to the construction of the Beauly-Denny Power line higher up the hill.

The initial climb is round three bends, but then a straighter section, albeit almost as steep, takes the road across the hillside to a small piece of woodland, where another bend swings back to the west. Still climbing - 250m in under 2 miles - the road crosses back until it is approximately 80m further up the hillside, due north of the previous 3 bends. Here a very sharp hairpin has been significantly widened to allow construction lorries to turn. It is almost immediately followed by another widened hairpin. So, to recap, the road has travelled just under a mile around 6 sharp bends to gain 100m of altitude and progress nearly 600m northwards!

After all that zig-zagging up the hill, the road still has nearly another 100m to climb but thankfully the gradient has eased, so the way ahead is much straighter. From the tiny Maud Loch, a good view can be had of Loch Errochty stretching out westwards into remote hills, but on the other side of the road a forestry plantation hides the low summit of Meall a' Chathaidh, over the shoulder of which the road crosses.

Beyond this summit, the descent is much easier, crossing over a small bridge which has recently been repaired. The bridge is unlikely to be Wades, and indeed immediately to the south of the bridge, a possible short loop and ford site can be traced in the grass and heather. Shortly after the bridge the modern road does indeed diverge from Wade's, with the new road taking a less direct but gentler descent over another small bridge. A keen eye is needed to pick out Wade's alignment, but here and there it does still show up. Indeed, it shows up as a green stripe on Google Earth, presumably as it is better drained!

As the old and new routes re-converge, there is under a mile to go to the A9 at Dalnacardoch. The road has undoubtedly been realigned as it crosses the railway line, but the bridge over the River Garry to the north is believed to be the original bridge built by Wade. The road then swings westwards to pick up the old A9 alignment, itself the original Dunkeld - Inverness Military Road, before a new junction with the modern dual carriageway A9 at Dalnacardoch Lodge, known as the Trinafour Junction.

Tummel Bridge to Drumochter Road
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