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Stirling - Tyndrum - Fort William Military Road

Military Road (18th Century)

Site Name Stirling - Tyndrum - Fort William Military Road

Classification Military Road (18th Century)

Canmore ID 120289

Site Number NN16SE 2

NGR NN 1700 6308

NGR Description NN 1999 6044 to NN 1500 6392

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Kilmallie
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Lochaber
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NN16SE 2.00 from NN 1999 6044 to NN 1500 6392.

NN16SE 2.01 NN 1646 6322 Dam

For (relevant) field survey area (AOC, 1997), see NN26SW 27.

NN 1999 6044 to NN 1500 6392 approximate line of c.1750 military road.

Visited by OS (NKB) 19 June 1970

Part of the course of the Military Road from Stirling to Fort William, between NN 1610 6340 and NN 168 6310 was examined during the pre-afforestation survey by AOC (Scotland Ltd). Seventeen culverts, spaced at regular intervals, were noted over this 800m stretch. The road has been heavily revetted in several places to allow it to cross steep ground and in one place (NN 1646 6322) a dam has been constructed (NN16SE 2.01) to prevent flooding from a burn crossing the road line.

C Burgess (AOC Scotland Ltd) March 1996; NMRS MS 738/31, no.4 (13/1-17).

Field survey was carried over an area of 20sq km around the shores of Loch Leven during March 1996. The survey concentrated in an area between the village of Glen Coe (8km to the W of Kinlochleven) and the Blackwater dam (about 3km E of Kinlochleven) and examined all the ground between sea level and 300m that was not under existing forestry or woodland.

Monuments already recorded in this area were either related to the military road (NN16SE 2) or the building of the dam (NN26SW 3) that provides power to the Kinlochleven aluminium smelter. Some 82 monuments were recorded systematically for the first time. They fall into three clear groups: military monuments, industrial monuments and Early Historic/prehistoric monuments.

Within the area a variety of military monuments were recorded that appear mostly to relate to the protection and building of the smelter and dam. Sites included search light stations (NN16SE 38), fox holes (NN 1757 6170), and the substantive remains of a prisoner-of-war camp that was built to house a labour force for the smelter. This site (NN26SW 13) consisted mainly of building footings and landscaping features that can be clearly seen in clearings within the woodland and birch scrub about 1000m to the E of Kinlochleven. At the E end of the survey area Wade's military road runs down into the village of Kinlochleven before continuing N out of the survey area. This feature survives as a metalled track outwith the urban development. Along the line of this feature a number of culverts and small drystone bridges were noted.

Industrial monuments were classed into two groups. Charcoal- burning platforms - roughly circular scoops fronted with drystone and measuring up to 13m in diameter - may be seen mostly on the S shores of Kinlochleven to the W of the village and in the upland area immediately to the E of the village. The second group of industrial monuments was that related to the construction and operation of the dam and smelter. Most of these features are to be found between the dam and the village of Kinlochleven and range from building footings to the stations to carry the overhead cables of the system that was used to lift heavy equipment up into the construction area.

Historic and prehistoric monuments in this area are generally located in the fertile patches on the N loch shore. The sites consist mainly of rig and furrow cultivation, stone clearance and occasional enclosures, both circular and rectilinear. Due to repeated cultivation in these areas until relatively recently these features are faint and difficult to interpret.

A full report has been placed in the NMRS. Sponsor: Historic Scotland.

AOC (Scotland) Ltd 1996.

Site recorded during a survey undertaken in June and July 1998 in advance of the replacement of an electricity overhead line following the pass along the steep-sided Allt na Lairige Moire and Allt Nathrach valleys, between Lundavra and Kinlochleven.

NN 1002 6664- NN 1864 6300 Caulfeild's Military Road (NMRS NN16NW 1, NN16SW 1 and NN16SE 2). The condition of Caulfeild's Military Road was rapidly assessed. One section of road (NN 1015 6485 - NN 1363 6427) has seen the least upgrading from its original form - the remains of side embankments and dykes, sunken slabbed drains providing fording points across minor burns, and downslope retaining walls are visible at various points, and may be original features of the military road. At NN 1045 6445 half of an original single arch military bridge is visible on the downslope side of the road, incorporated within the fill of a more recent bridge. In other areas are remains of culverting (?secondary), bridge abutments and bridges.

[NB spelling of 'Caulfeild' after Curtis,1978-80]

A detailed report has been lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: Turnbull Jeffrey Partnership for Scottish Hydro-Electric plc.

A J Dunwell 1998.

Course of road confirmed. Milestones approximately sited.

Visited by OS (ES) 11 June 1974.

G Taylor and A Skinner 1776.

A R B Haldane 1962.

The military road heads towards a lochan at the foot of the Allt Coire Mhorair, descending the steep slope by means of a series of easy traverses. The road, which has been made up by British Aluminium, then continues N into Kinlochleven. Opposite the school in Kinlochleven the military road climbs by what is now a public footpath leading over the Lairig Mhor. Initially the ascent is quite rough and steep. The first section of the road at the top has been made up and is maintained well. There are also good bridges dating from various periods.

W Taylor 1976.


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