The public road network in the West of Scotland was not developed to its current standard until relatively recent times. Many roads used to be improvements on former drovers tracks, and narrow, twisting and steep as they crossed mountain passes.
One famous old road was the "Road to the Isles", a segment of which ran from the current-day Tomdoun Sporting Lodge Hotel north-west past Cluanie Lodge to Cluanie Inn. This passed over two rivers which were dammed and flooded to form Lochs Cluanie and Loyne in around 1957. A new road, the current A87, was constructed around the edge. The old tracks to Loch Loyne are now gated and in private ownership but accessible by walkers and mountain bikers.
Where the "Road to the Isles" crossed what is now Loch Loyne, there were two bridges and a small wooded island. The road, and the small and large bridges still exist but are usually wholly or almost wholly submerged below the waterline for much of the year and unreachable and unpassable. However, in September each year, Scottish Hydro Power reduce the level of the water in the Lochs and in early September 2008 it was at exceptionally low levels. The old road and bridges were reachable and indeed passable by walkers or mountain bikers. It should be noted the larger bridge (shown here) is, from a formal Health and Safety viewpoint, far too dangerous to walk across but many do at their own risk.
The story of the "Road to the Isles" or "The Roof of the Highlands" was covered by Nicholas Crane ("Mapman") in one of his 2007 BBC 2 TV series "Great British Journeys" about the writings of early travellers, in this case H.V. Morton's tours of Scotland in 1929-33 in a Bullnose Morris car.
This image appeared briefly in "Britainís Lost Routes" broadcast on BBC1 on Thursday 14th June 2012 which described the Highland Cattle drovers route from Skye to Falkirk.
(Modern Television for BBC, Presenter: Griff Rhys Jones).
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