Ancient Monuments

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Corrieyairack Pass,military road,Melgarve to Allt Ruadh

A Scheduled Monument in Badenoch and Strathspey, Highland

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Latitude: 57.0333 / 57°1'59"N

Longitude: -4.5579 / 4°33'28"W

OS Eastings: 244865

OS Northings: 796487

OS Grid: NN448964

Mapcode National: GBR HB34.4YF

Mapcode Global: WH3H9.YHQ1

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

Scheduled Date: 21 October 1994

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6129

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: road

Location: Laggan

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Badenoch and Strathspey

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument consists of a length of military road approximately 4km long, running between Melgarve in the S and the burn Allt Ruadh in the N, being part of the road built between Dalwhinnie and Fort Augustus under the direction of General Wade in 1731.

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 north of Laggan in 1830, after the completion of the road between Laggan and Spean Bridge and thereafter reverted to its former use as a drove road. A stretch of approximately 70m to the W of Caochan Ban has been resurfaced in stone in recent years.

Bridges stood at NN451964 (with an enclosure immediately to its SW) and at NN434983 (over Allt Ruadh), and the modern track diverges from the original course of the road at these points.

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

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.

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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