Geo-Trips :: The General Wade Military Road over Slochd

Slochd Pass, Inverness

A walk from Raigbeg by Tomatin, Sun, 6 May 2018 by Julian Paren

Slochd Military Road

Start location: Raigbeg (NH 811 291)


End location: Layby on A95 near Carrbridge turn off, (NH 913 187)



Path distance: 19.7 km

The Old Military Road between Dunkeld and Inverness was built between 1728 and 1730 under the auspices of General Wade. Much of it now lies under the A9, but a few sections such as the stretch over the Slochd take a different alignment and can still be followed. The Slochd Mor is a narrow pass, hence this strategic gap is shared with the railway as well as the modern road. At 1300ft, the Slochd summit is one of the highest points on the old route between Inverness and Perth.

The Slochd Military Road is a listed as Heritage Path 157 on the Heritage Paths website and Hill Track 230 in Scotways (Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society) publication Scottish Hill Tracks. Both the Heritage Path website and Hill Tracks of Scotland describe the walk from South to North. However as part of the Scotways 2018 Walk Programme it was walked from the north at Raigbeg near Tomatin.

Fourteen Scotways members undertook the walk, which was led by Peter Mackay. With one lunch stop south of the Slochd and another at Sluggan Bridge the walk took the party six hours. Peter Mackay added Scotways marker signs at a number of path junctions along the route. The party was able to leave cars at both ends of the walk so that the walk was a true linear walk. For future walkers, leaving a car at each end is the most straightforward way to do the walk.

The walk started at Raigbeg along an obvious track between walls but after a mile took an ill-defined route across rough moorland before becoming part of tracks that serve a current purpose and are well maintained by estate owners and those requiring access to their crofts. Part of the route coincides with National Cycle Route 7 and because of its strategic importance to this route, Sustrans initiated the funding for the renovation of Sluggan Bridge in 2002. The highlights were the natural woodland south of Slochd, the Wade bridge at Ortunan and the magnificent recently restored Sluggan Bridge - the real feature of the Slochd Military Road.

The Sluggan Bridge was built by Caulfieid in 1764 to replace the ford on Wade's road. Just five years later, it was necessary to rebuild the bridge, it having been destroyed by floods. At the turn of the eighteenth century the Sluggan Bridge was bypassed, along with the section of road to its south, by the building of the direct road from Carrbridge to the Slochd.

On the map below, the grey line is the GPS track from this trip. Click the blue circles to see a photograph taken from that spot and read further information about the location. The blue lines indicate the direction of view. There is also a slideshow of this trip. ( )

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NH8028 : Slow for Raigbeg by Julian Paren
Slow for Raigbeg
One suspects the upper is an unofficial sign, while a detour for heavy vehicles... more

NH8128 : Tree beside the General Wade road from Tomatin to Boat of Garten by Julian Paren
Tree beside the General Wade road from Tomatin to Boat of Garten
A distinctive tree, photographed earlier by Dorothy Carse. [[[1021834]]]

NH8128 : Well-defined section of the General Wade Military Road south of Tomatin by Julian Paren
Well-defined section of the General Wade Military Road south of Tomatin
No disputing where the old road lies. A party of 14 walkers, members of Scotways,... more

NH8227 : Poorly defined section of the Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Poorly defined section of the Slochd Military Road
One bank of the road is good to walk on, but the depression that was the General... more

NH8227 : Tree and dead wood beside the Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Tree and dead wood beside the Slochd Military Road
Just like a graveyard of bones in the middle of nowhere.

NH8226 : Estate road above Slochd by Julian Paren
Estate road above Slochd
A track leading of the Slochd Military Road.

NH8325 : Sheep by Slochd summit by Julian Paren
Sheep by Slochd summit
I am sure the sheep are oblivious to the panorama of the Cairngorms with the notch... more

NH8424 : Natural woodland at Slochd by Julian Paren
Natural woodland at Slochd
Apparently Ring Ouzel are common here. View from the Slochd Military Road.

NH8424 : Walking the Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Walking the Slochd Military Road
The road created by General Wade and still in excellent condition today as the... more

NH8423 : A General Wade bridge and the ruins of Ortunan by Julian Paren
A General Wade bridge and the ruins of Ortunan
A small bridge to cross a small burn.

NH8422 : Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Slochd Military Road
General Wade's Military Road now an excellent footpath. See... more

NH8422 : The General Wade bridge at Insharn by Julian Paren
The General Wade bridge at Insharn
A bridge on the Slochd Military Road. See... more

NH8422 : By Insharn by Julian Paren
By Insharn
A small burn and an open prospect.

NH8422 : The croft at Insharn by Julian Paren
The croft at Insharn
The croft is sited on National Cycle Route 7 and the General Wade Slochd Military Road.

NH8421 : Walking the Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Walking the Slochd Military Road
A group of 14 members of Scotways on a day walk along the Slochd Military Road.... more

NH8521 : Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Slochd Military Road
A well surfaced road shared by National Cycle Route 7 and the General Wade Military Road.

NH8521 : View south from the Slochd Military Road near Inverlaidnan by Julian Paren
View south from the Slochd Military Road near Inverlaidnan
A good open view with the Cairngorms distant.

NH8621 : Walking the Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Walking the Slochd Military Road
A good footpath heading for Sluggan Bridge. The path is part of the Slochd... more

NH8622 : Sign above the Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Sign above the Slochd Military Road
The sign says Caution : Eroded path surfaces. National Cycle Route 7. No... more

NH8622 : Sluggan Bridge by Julian Paren
Sluggan Bridge
Originally built and rebuilt by General Caulfeild, the bridge was again restored... more

NH8621 : River Dulnain upstream of  Sluggan Bridge by Julian Paren
River Dulnain upstream of Sluggan Bridge
A quiet spot, seemingly miles from nowhere. The bridge was part of the Slochd... more

NH8721 : Sluggan Bridge from the east by Julian Paren
Sluggan Bridge from the east
The bridge was restored in 2002 as part of promoting National Cycle Route 7. The... more

NH8720 : On the General Wade Military Road by Julian Paren
On the General Wade Military Road
Just a tree stump by the way, and not a "General Wade Stone" as first thought.

NH8819 : By the ford on the Allt Lorgy by Julian Paren
By the ford on the Allt Lorgy
The Military Road has no bridge to cross the minor burn, and has therefore to be forded.

NH8919 : Slochd Military Road at Lethendryveole by Julian Paren
Slochd Military Road at Lethendryveole
The military road passes between an avenue of trees.

NH9019 : Walking the Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Walking the Slochd Military Road
A wooded section of the path.

NH9118 : Leaving the forest at Kinveachy by Julian Paren
Leaving the forest at Kinveachy
A final descent to the A9 with the Cairngorms ahead to mark the conclusion of the... more

NH8128 : Marker Stone for the Slochd Military Road by Julian Paren
Marker Stone for the Slochd Military Road
One of the many marker stones beside the General Wade Road over the Slochd. A... more

All images © Julian Paren and available under a Creative Commons licence external link.

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