Ancient Monuments

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Corrieyairack Pass,military road,Allt Ruadh to watershed

A Scheduled Monument in Caol and Mallaig, Highland

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Latitude: 57.05 / 57°3'0"N

Longitude: -4.5943 / 4°35'39"W

OS Eastings: 242730

OS Northings: 798429

OS Grid: NN427984

Mapcode National: GBR HB12.SBF

Mapcode Global: WH3H9.D2H6

Entry Name: Corrieyairack Pass,military road,Allt Ruadh to watershed

Scheduled Date: 21 October 1994

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6128

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: road

Location: Laggan

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Caol and Mallaig

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument consists of a length of military road approximately 1.5km long, running between the Allt Ruadh burn to the S and the watershed to the N, part of the road built between Dalwhinnie and Fort Augustus in 1731, under the direction of General Wade.

By 1730, the military roads from Dunkeld to Inverness and along the Great Glen were complete, and in order to link Fort Augustus directly to the first of these a road was planned, running partly along the upper Spey valley and climbing to 800m at the Corrieyairack Pass to cross the watershed. The new road was 45km long; work was started in April 1731 and completed by the end of that October, at a cost of L3281 4s 9d. Some 17.5km of this road remains unmetalled.

The road was intended to be constructed of layers of rammed stones, with large stones at the bottom, topped by smaller ones, to a depth of over a metre. In stretches with firm subsoil, however, this is likely to have been reduced. In places can be seen patches of flat stone cobbles, which may be remains of the original surface, but for much of its length the road is likely to have been surfaced with gravel. Wherever the terrain allowed the road was flanked by a ditch on the uphill side (and in parts on the downhill side) and a further uphill ditch appears in some places, either parallel to or in place of the roadside ditch, approximately 8m from the edge of the road.

The road was abandoned in 1830, on completion of the road between Laggan and Spean Bridge, and the route reverted to a drove road.

The road crossed Allt Ruadh by a now-ruined bridge and climbed out of the Corrie Yairack by 12 traverses (zig-zags or hairpins), carried on bulwarks of stone and mortar. At the base of the traverses, the road was separated from a stream by a wide dyke to prevent flooding.

The area to be scheduled includes the road, ditches and an area which may contain evidence for their construction and use. It measures 30m wide, centred on the road bed of the military road, increasing to 130m wide at the traverses, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as part of the longest continuous stretch of military road built under the direction of General Wade to survive substantially unaffected by modern alterations. Wade's roads were the first constructed roads of any length in the Scottish Highlands, and formed the first post-Roman planned road system in Britain; the traverses form perhaps the most impressive feat of engineering on any of Wade's roads.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NN49NW 2.0.


Taylor W 1976, THE MILITARY ROADS IN SCOTLAND, Newton Abbot.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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