Ancient Monuments

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Corrieyairack Pass,military road,Black Burn to Connachie Burn

A Scheduled Monument in Caol and Mallaig, Highland

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Latitude: 57.1048 / 57°6'17"N

Longitude: -4.6753 / 4°40'31"W

OS Eastings: 238055

OS Northings: 804714

OS Grid: NH380047

Mapcode National: GBR G9TY.C65

Mapcode Global: WH2FR.4PX7

Entry Name: Corrieyairack Pass,military road,Black Burn to Connachie Burn

Scheduled Date: 14 October 1994

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6142

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: road

Location: Boleskine and Abertarff

County: Highland

Electoral Ward: Caol and Mallaig

Traditional County: Inverness-shire


The monument consists of a length of military road approximately 3.5km long, running between Black Burn in the S and Connachie Burn in 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 and 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 intention was to construct the road 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, and thereafter the route reverted to its former use as a drove road.

A culvert constructed in stone flags, and in a fine state of preservation, crosses the road at NH383033, and there are stone-paved fords at NH382045 and at NH374050. The road descends the hill on a series of traverses (zig-zags or hair-pins) although these are not so spectacular a feat of engineering as those on the south side.

The area to be scheduled measures 30m wide, centred on the road bed of the military road, between Black Burn and Connachie Burn, as marked in red on the accompanying map, but excludes the modern structure of the bridge over the Connachie Burn. It includes the road, its ditches and an area 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 be substantially unaffected by modern alterations. Wade's roads were the first constructed roads of any length in the Scottish Highlands and formed the first planned post-Roman road system in Britain.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NH30SE 2.0.


Taylor W 1976, The Military Roads in Scotland, Newton Abbot.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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