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18th century military road, ESE of Inveroran Hotel

A Scheduled Monument in Oban North and Lorn, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.5303 / 56°31'49"N

Longitude: -4.7884 / 4°47'18"W

OS Eastings: 228600

OS Northings: 741069

OS Grid: NN286410

Mapcode National: GBR GCKG.7CJ

Mapcode Global: WH2JL.F414

Entry Name: 18th century military road, ESE of Inveroran Hotel

Scheduled Date: 19 December 1969

Last Amended: 20 January 2021

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2858

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: road

Location: Glenorchy and Inishail

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Oban North and Lorn

Traditional County: Argyllshire


The monument comprises a section of engineered military road likely to date to around 1752/3. This section of road covers a straight-line distance of approximately 1680m and with an average width of approximately 4m. It survives as the partly visible remains of a loose road surface and its associated construction works, located in upland moor. From its southern end, the monument rises from 200m above sea level to a height of 294m and then downslope to approximately 180m at its northern end. It is part of a longer 18th century military road which connected Stirling with Fort William. 

The scheduled area is irregular, covering an overall distance of approximately 2400m at 10m wide. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. Specifically excluded from the scheduling are the above-ground remains of all modern boundary features as well as the above-ground elements of all signage.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):

a. The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past, or has the potential to do so, as a section of 18th century military road engineering in the Highlands of Scotland. It is a component of a wider network of roads providing improved access along key natural and established historical routes and between strategic and military locations. As part of a longer branch of constructed road, it has a lasting impact on the local landscape - its function as a communications route continues, as a section of the West Highland Way.         

b. The monument is likely to retain structural and buried archaeological features which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, it survives as a single length of representative engineered roadway.  

d. The monument is a particularly good example of eighteenth century military road building in Highland Argyll and Bute and is an important representative example of the longer routeway between the cotemporary military garrisons at Stirling and Fort William.  

e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past, particularly the study of military planning, road construction and the exploitation of landform and topography to improve lines of physical communication across Scotland. It retains significant historic and social interest for us because of its connection with the wider, prevailing political and military situation in Scotland at the time.

g. The monument has significant associations with historical, traditional, social or artistic figures, events or movements - the transformation of society and culture in the Scottish Highlands in the 18th century, during the period of the Jacobite Risings. The road was built as part of a wider route network for use by Government forces in order to control the Scottish Highlands. This programme of military road building was undertaken by two key British military figures - General George Wade and Major William Caulfeild. This section of road is attributed to the wider programme under the control of Major Caulfeild.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The monument is a 2400m length of military road constructed in the mid-18th century as part of the road linking Stirling with Fort William. This section is visible as the line of the original roadway built as part of a programme to increase Government control over the Highlands of Scotland. The construction work was undertaken by soldiers of various British Army regiments and contracted groups of local men.

The road was engineered to take troops, their horses and their heavier, wheeled wagons with a planned road width of between 3.05m and 4.88m. The roads generally followed straight lines where possible and contoured around hills. The road was made by excavating down to the natural gravels or rock and then backfilled with stone in various sizes. A final layer of gravel was used to seal the upper surfaces. The excavated material was banked up on the sides, separating the surface from adjacent drainage ditches. Culverts were used to take water courses under the road. These roads often survive as linear features cutting across the landscape - with a distinct profile of banks either side of a hollow way.

Along this section of road, there are signs of surfacing, quarry scoops, parallel ditching and transverse culverts. Some of these are likely to relate to the contemporary construction of the road, while in other locations, these features are likely to be the result of later and more recent maintenance works. The carriageway is generally up to 4m wide (and wider in places where a single, parallel ditch is visible). This section rises and falls over the eastern shoulder of Ben Inverveigh between the River Orchy and the Allt Orain, both tributaries of Loch Tulla to the North. The road generally cuts through the landscape following a direct route, however, where it follows natural contouring, there are the occasional signs of terracing visible and the placement of corners and switchbacks, where the slope is steepest.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

There was an estimated total of 1700km of military road built in Scotland (approximately 400km by General Wade and 1300km by Major Caulfeild) between the early 1720s and the late 1750s.

The first programmes of work started in 1725 Under Wade's command, Repairs were made to various fortifications including Edinburgh Castle and at Fort William and new forts were built at Inverness (Fort George) and Killihuimen (Fort Augustus). Road communications and connections were improved between the garrisons at Fort William, Fort Augustus and Fort George. The roads programme then focused on expanding the network between Dunkeld and Inverness (later known as 'The Great North Road'); Crieff to the Great North Road at Dalnacardoch (later known as 'The Second Great North Road') and; Fort Augustus to the Great North Road at Dalwhinnie.  The second major programme of works was overseen by Wade's successor, Major William Caulfeild, with branches constructed, from 1741 onwards, between: Crieff and Stirling, an incomplete build between Dumbarton and Inverary, Stirling to Fort William, Coupar Angus to Fort George, and Amulree to Dunkeld.

This representative section of road forms part of the second, later programme of works under Major Caulfeild, between Stirling and Fort William. It is notable for its position in the landscape, exploiting the natural routeway between Tyndrum and Glencoe, to the west of Rannoch Moor. The relatively straight routing of this section reflects the original intention set out by General Wade, that the road should follow as direct a route as the topography would allow, simplifying its construction and improving the speed of progress.

The National Record for the Historic Environment indicates an interesting variety of recorded military heritage dating to the 18th century. The growing road network is just one element of this heritage and complements many other forms, including barracks, forts, bridges and King's houses.   

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)         

The network of 18th century military roads has close historical associations with people and events of national importance. The military road building programme had very significant political and social impacts on the Highlands of Scotland during the 18th century – most notable in this case, with the road's proximity to Glencoe and the documented warfare that took place there. The roads and bridges are directly associated with Major General George Wade and Major William Caulfeild, who oversaw the planning and construction of the network.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference numbers CANMORE IDs 89049 (accessed on 19/10/2020).

WOSAS Reference 15690 (accessed on 19/10/2020).

Ang, T., and Pollard, M., 1984, Walking the Scottish Highlands – General Wade's Military Roads, Andre Deutsch Limited: London

Salmond, J.B., 1938, Wade in Scotland, The Dunendin Press Limited: Edinburgh

Taylor, W., 1976, The Military Roads in Scotland, SRP Limited: Exeter

Wallace, T., 1911, 'Military Bridges and Fortifications in the Highlands with Bridges and Milestones', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 45: pp 318-33


HER/SMR Reference


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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