Sunday, February 9, 2020


Picture credit - Alan Austin

My sister-in-law and her family are great fans of the Isles of Glencoe Hotel at Ballachulish, pictured above, and regularly go there for weekend breaks. And I noted a visitor from South Africa describe it on Facebook recently as an "exquisite place". Surrounded by greenery by the shore of Loch Leven a few miles from Scotland's most famous glen - Glen Coe, celebrated in equal measure for its scenery, outdoor recreation and history - this is tourist central.

Yet 35 years ago, Ballachulish was described as "Scotland's dirtiest village". Have a look at the Youtube video below. It's a piece from the BBC's "Nationwide" programme in 1973. Note the burnt out buildings, the abandoned cars, the derelict railway station and piles of debris. Where the IoG Hotel now stands is the tongue of waste land sticking out into the sea at 1:47 and where the reporter is walking from 2:00 to 2:28.

That's how I remember Ballachulish from my earliest recollection in the 70s - a grotty blot on the landscape to whizz past, normal gorgeous Highland scenery to be resumed shortly. As the Youtube reveals, it's because Ballachulish is not a crofting or fishing village but a slate quarrying village. And once the quarry had closed, industrial dereliction set in. I was sort of vaguely aware of Ballachulish's quarrying past but decided I needed to know more. The intrusion of industry into the Highlands & Islands, an area generally associated with being "unspoilt", is a theme that fascinates me. As so often happens, though, my enquiries led me into a few digressions so this post is going to be a bit leggier than I originally planned.

Approximate boundaries of Lorne in yellow

The Lordship of Lorne
Ballachulish is situated at the very north end of the territory called Lorne which stretches from Loch Leven south to Loch Awe. In the 13th century, Lorne, with its adjacent islands of Mull, Coll, Tiree and Jura was held by the MacDougalls of Argyll, the most powerful lords on the western seaboard who ruled their domain from Dunstaffnage Castle, just north of Oban.

Dunstaffnage Castle. The curtain wall was probably built in the second quarter of the 13th century by Duncan (died c.1240) or Ewen MacDougall of Argyll. Picture credit Ben Allison

The MacDougall Lords of Argyll had prospered by backing the right horse in the struggle between Scotland and Norway for control of the western seaboard which culminated in the Norwegians ceding suzerainty over the islands on the west coast of Scotland after the Battle of Largs in 1263. But the MacDougalls then spectacularly crashed and burnt early the next century by backing the wrong horse in the Wars of Independence.

Allied by marriage to the Comyns who were in turn similarly allied to the Balliols, the MacDougalls started well by beating Robert Bruce when he was at his lowest ebb at the Battle of Dalrigh just east of Tyndrum in 1306. But two years later Bruce turned the tables by defeating the MacDougalls at the Battle of the Pass of Brander (the steep sided valley the road to Oban passes through between Loch Awe and Loch Etive). Dunstaffnage was besieged and captured for the king. Alexander MacDougall of Argyll and his son John went into exile in England never to return to Scotland, their estates forfeited to the Crown: for a time John was an admiral in the English navy, an appropriate role for one whose heraldic banner was an image of a galley.

The Galley of Lorne - the coat of arms of the Lords of Lorne

The foregoing account of the fall of the MacDougalls of Argyll is quite well known. But what I didn't know was that they made a comeback in the reign of Robert Bruce's son, David II (1329-71). Admiral John's grandson, another John nicknamed Gallda (Gaelic for "foreigner" in reference to his years of exile in England), managed to ingratiate himself with the new king sufficiently to be rewarded in the 1350s by a grant of the mainland parts of his family's former territory, namely the Lordship of Lorne. But the MacDougall resurgence was destined to be shortlived because when John Gallda died in the mid 1370s, he left two legitimate daughters and an illegitimate son, Allan. This set the scene for a power struggle because the MacDougall clan kindred in Lorne supported Allan as their chief whereas the Crown insisted on the application of feudal law - which required that the lands of the lordship be divided between the legitimate heiresses with the elder's husband taking the title Lord of Lorne - particularly as the heiresses' husbands were two brothers, Stewart kinsmen of the new king, Robert II (1371-90), the first of the Stewart dynasty.

After much manoeuvring, political, military and legal, a settlement was arrived at whereby the older heiress and her husband transferred their interest in Lorne to her sister and brother-in-law - Sir John Stewart of Innermeath - and Allan MacDougall contented himself with the island of Kerrera and a slice of territory between Oban and Loch Feochan under Stewart overlordship. At some point in the mid-15th century, a subsequent MacDougall chief built as his stronghold Dunollie Castle at the entrance to Oban Bay - the castle and Kerrera still belong to the MacDougalls at the present day.

The familiar profile of Dunollie Castle at the entrance to Oban Bay - Picture credit dun_deagh

Stewarts of Appin
Thus did the Lordship of Lorne come into the hands of the Stewarts but only for two more generations when history repeated itself. The third Stewart Lord of Lorne, John Mourach ("Leper John"), died in 1463, assassinated in Dunstaffnage Castle by a renegade MacDougall still smarting over the settlement of the Lordship reached more than half a century earlier. John left three legitimate daughters, an illegitimate son, Dugald, and a brother, Walter, to whom he intended Lorne to pass absent a legitimate son. But the daughters were married to three members of that most acquisitive of clans, the Campbells: Colin, 1st Earl of Argyll; his uncle, Colin, 1st Campbell of Glenorchy; and Arthur Campbell of Otter. These three were not about to pass up the opportunity to add Lorne to their existing territories round Loch Awe. In 1469, after much political and legal wrangling, the Campbells backed Walter Stewart into a deal whereby he got to keep some of his late brother's lowland estates due to be inherited by his nieces, the Campbells' wives, in exchange for transferring Lorne to the Earl of Argyll. The latter then cut Glenorchy in for a third share of Lorne, specifically the southmost part between Loch Feochan and Loch Melfort. (Arthur of Otter doesn't seem to have got anything.) Finally, John Mourach's masterful illegitimate son Dugald was accommodated with the northmost portion of Lorne, from Loch Creran to Loch Leven. He and his successors styled themselves Stewart of Appin.

Castle Stalker - Picture credit WłasnąDrogą

In the third quarter of the 16th century, Alan, the 3rd Stewart of Appin (counting from Dugald, the illegitimate son of John Mourach, the last Stewart Lord of Lorne) built as his stronghold Castle Stalker, pictured above. He also parcelled out parts of his estate to his kinsmen. This was a very clannish thing to do - a clan chief's kinsmen owning parts of the clan territory was functionally the same, if not preferable, in clan terms to it all being owned by the chief himself. (The Stewarts of Appin are a good example of a segment of a lowland family settling in the Highlands, going native and morphing into a clan. The Frasers are another example - indeed most people don't realise there were ever Frasers who weren't part of a Highland clan.) Anyway, among the Stewart kinsmen who got a portion of Appin was Alan's grandson, another Alan, who, around 1540, received Ballachulish Estate consisting of three farms on the south shore of Loch Leven, namely, (from west to east) Ballachulish, Laroch and Brecklet.

And having FINALLY wrenched myself back round to Ballachulish where I started, I think I'll break here and resume in a subsequent post.

The arms of Stewart of Appin reflect his heritage: the "fesse cheque" of the Stewarts quartered with the Galley of Lorne

The Rest and be Thankful

In the early hours of Thursday 30 January 2020, after hours of torrential rain, the "Rest and be thankful" - as the stretch of the A83 road between Arrochar and Cairndow is known - was closed by a landslide. This is quite a regular occurrence - it happens about every couple of years - but what grabbed my attention about it this time was the response to the closure which enabled drivers almost to travel in time.

Picture credit - BBC

The problem
It may be a regular occurrence but that doesn't stop closure of The Rest and be Thankful being a headache. Consider the map below:-

The Rest is the red stretch in the red circle. It's closure is not too much of an issue for travellers from Glasgow to Dunoon and the south of Cowal (the peninsula enclosed by Loch Fyne on the west and the Firth of Clyde and Loch Long on the east) because they have the alternative of the car ferry across the Clyde between McInroy's Point and Hunter's Quay (green line on the map) which takes 20 minutes and runs at a frequency of up to 15 minutes at peak periods.

Closure of the Rest is more of a problem for people going to south west Argyll - Inveraray, Lochgilphead, the ferry to Islay, Kintyre and Campbeltown. They have no option but to go round to Inveraray via Crianlarich, Tyndrum and Dalmally (blue line on the map) which adds an extra 23 miles (about 35 minutes' driving time) to the journey. (Incidentally, you read in the media of a diversion of 59 miles - see for e.g. here - but that's Tarbet to Cairndow (not Inveraray) via Tyndrum and is the total distance rather than the extra distance closure of the Rest causes.)

The road
The road over The Rest and be Thankful was part of a military road from Dumbarton to Inveraray built between 1743 and 1749 by Major Caulfeild (General Wade's successor as military road builder as discussed here.) Leaving the west shore of Loch Long at Ardgartan opposite Arrochar, it followed the floor of Glen Croe (not to be confused with the more famous Glen Coe which is further north) before climbing steeply via a hairpin bend to the pass (806' elevation) which leads into Glen Kinglas and the descent to Loch Fyne at Cairndow. Travelling this way in 1760, Richard Pococke, an Anglican clergyman who became Bishop of Ossory then of Meath in Ireland, noted at the head of the pass "a semi-circular seat made in turf, on which is this inscription on a stone - "Rest and be thankful, 1748"". And so this stretch of road has been known ever since.

Picture credit - nairnbairn via Geograph

Note that the stone presently at the top of the Rest (pictured above) is a later one and not the one Pococke noted. The inscription on the present stone is:-

"Rest and be thankful - Military road rep'd [repaired] by 93d. Reg't [Regiment] 1768 transferred to Comm'rs [Commissioners] for H. R. & B [Highland Roads & Bridges] in the year 1814." 

It marks the transfer of repsonsibility for maintaining the road from the military to the civilian authorities. But if it had been adequate for marching soldiers along (provided they remembered to rest and be thankful at the top of the pass), it was less good for wheeled traffic owing to the steep gradients at the head of Glen Croe. A memorial by the Duke of Argyll and other landowners in the county to the Highland Roads & Bridges Commissioners in 1808 on the subject is worth quoting in full:-

That till about the middle of the last [the 18th] century there was no Road between Argyllshire and the rest of the Kingdom, except over high Mountains and by crossing dangerous Ferries, and although a new Road [i.e. the military road] was then made at the Expence of the Public, from Dumbarton to Inveraray, by the sides of Loch-Lomond, Loch-Long and Loch-Fine, yet there were so few Carriages used in the Country at that time, that little or no attention appears to have been given to the adapting the Road for that purpose, and the consequence is, that of late years it is found to be both difficult and dangerous for Carriages, and it has been the desire of every person concerned, particularly the Judges of the Supreme Criminal Court, who are obliged to travel the Road twice a year, [this is referring to sittings of the High Court of Justiciary at Inveraray] to have alterations made upon the present Line of Road, so as to render it more easy and safe for Travellers; and one very considerable improvement has lately been made at the public Expence upon that part of the Road which is on the side of Loch-Lomond, by which the access for Carriages from Dumbarton to the Head of Loch-Long is greatly meliorated.
     That between Loch-Long and Loch-Fine the access is still extremely bad, some parts rising no less than One in Three perpendicular in getting over the Mountain which separates Glen-Crow from Glen-Kinglas.
     That the Memorialists have lately had the whole of that part of the road surveyed by Charles Abercromby, and have received from him a Plan for altering and amending it in such a way as that the rise shall in no part exceed One in Twenty-six, and a great part will not rise above One in Thirty.
     That the Expence of making these alterations is estimated by Mr. Abercromby at £6,890 sterling, and the Memorialists are willing to contribute One-half thereof by an assessment upon their property, and to undertake the support of the Road in future by Tolls aided by the Statute Labour, provided they shall be encouraged by the Honourable Commissioners under the Authority of the aforesaid Act of Parliament

That last sentence alludes to the fact that the Highland Roads & Bridges Commissioners had power under an Act of Parliament of 1803 to contribute half of the cost of road works if the local landowners paid the other half - so the memorial quoted above was, in modern parlance, an application for match funding. But the Commissioners declined the request, taking the view that they had statutory power to assist the construction of new roads but not the improvement of existing ones.

By road and steamboat from Glasgow to Inveraray

What the HRB Commissioners did agree to assist, though, was the construction in the first decade of the 19th century of two new roads across Cowal with shallower gradients - one from Lochgoilhead to Ardno on the east shore of Loch Fyne (green on the map above) and the other from Ardentinny to Strachur (yellow). From the western terminus of either of these roads, the traveller could get to Inveraray by existing roads and either across the loch by St Catherine's Ferry or round its head. The two new roads really came into their own a few years later with the advent of steam navigation and Ardentinny and Lochgoilhead came within easy reach of regular steamers from Glasgow: these were preferable routes for all except the tiny minority (the aristocracy and the High Court judges) who had their own carriages:-

The Marquis of Lorne (son and heir of the Duke of Argyll) and his bride, Princess Louise (daughter of Queen Victoria), crossing the Rest in 1871. The difficulties and dangers of the route for carriages complained of to the HRB Commissioners don't seem to be impeding their progress. But the scenery has been exaggerated in the drawing so no doubt the apparent speed of the carriage has been as well!

Thus, as far as most travellers were concerned, the road over the Rest and be Thankful was eclipsed for the remainder of the 19th century by the two more southerly routes across Cowal. But this changed with the advent of the motor vehicle in the early 20th century century and calls for improvement of the Rest were renewed. Here's a selection of photos of it at this time:-

The road going out the bottom left of the photo is going towards Cairndow and Inveraray, bottom right is the side road to Lochgoilhead (B828) and the road going top right is going towards the hairpin bend to drop down into Glen Croe - you can see the road along the floor of the glen heading towards Arrochar in the background. The finger post points left to Cairndow and St Catherine's and right to Arrochar. Picture credit - Am Baile   

The hairpin bend in the military road. The highest level of road visible is the side road to Lochgoilhead (B828) which has its own hairpin bend just out of view to the right. The lowest level of road on the right is the road to Cairdndow and Inveraray.

Looking east down Glen Croe

I've heard that lorries sometimes had to reverse up the hairpin because reverse gear was lower than first. The 1922 AA Book warned that the descent was "exceedingly sharp, and the utmost caution is required in handling the brakes." The AA also noted that the hairpin bend had recently been improved (is that visible in the last photo above?) but more comprehensive upgrading didn't come until the 1930s. (This was a time when two other arterial routes which were essentially still 18th century military roads were re-engineered: the A82 from Tyndrum to Inverness (think of the "new" road across the Black Mount and through Glen Coe) and the A9 from Dunkeld to Inverness.) The whole road from Cairndow, on the shore of Loch Fyne, to Ardgartan on the shore of Loch Long opposite Arrochar, was improved. The work seems to have proceeded in phases from west to east over almost a decade. I gather Cairndow was bypassed in 1932 and the hump-backed 18th century military bridge at Butterbridge in Glen Kinglas seems to have been bypassed at some time during the 1930s as well.

The humpbacked military bridge bridge at Butterbridge in Glen Kinglas built 1748-49, bypassed by the present A83 in the 1930s. Picture credit - Andrew Mckie
Butterbridge and its bypass built in the 1930s. Picture credit Paweł Stankiewicz

But the crucial section - bypassing the hairpin bend at the Rest and be Thankful and the steep drop to the floor of Glen Croe by making a new line of road higher up the side of the glen and descending on a more gentle gradient - was interrupted by the War and not opened until 1945.

This War Revision of the OS One Inch map published 1941 (see it in full here) shows the Cairndow and Butterbridge bypasses (red and yellow circles) completed but the new line of road down Glen Croe (green circle) still marked by uncoloured pecked lines meaning it hadn't been built yet.

Despite the inauguration of the new road up Glen Croe in the 1940s, the old military road remained in place, used as an access to the farms in the floor of the glen. It was also, due to its challenges, popular for car rallying. Here's a selection of views of the old and new roads:-

The old and new roads at the Rest and be Thankful summit. Notice the ghost junction between the old road and the side road to the west (left) to Lochgoilhead (B828) at the south (bottom) end of the car park in the angle between the old and new A83.
The new road in Glen Croe with the old road below it. (The road through the trees on the right is just a forestry track.) Picture credit r n b 69

The new road (bottom right) passing the hairpin bend in the old military road
Raindrops on the Google Streetview car's lens as it approaches the summit. The hairpin bend in the old military road is visible on the left.

Temporary solution     
What grabbed my attention about the recent closure of the Rest and be Thankful was the temporary solution: re-opening the old military road to traffic. I didn't know this before but apparently it was reinforced in 2013 so as to be available as a temporary relief road while a landslide over the "new" road was cleared. There's an album of pictures of the work being carried out here.

18th century bridge being prepared for 21st century traffic. Note the crash barrier of the "new" road along the top of the photo. Picture credit - Glen Wallace

As it's a single track road, when in use as a diversion off the "new" road, traffic is ferried up and down the military road in one way convoys:-

The Citylink coach from Glasgow to Campbeltown eadges nervously up the military road in 2014. Picture credit - busmanscotland

It wasn't plain sailing when the old road was brought in to use last weekend, though, as apparently a lorry got stuck causing a two hour delay:-

Picture credit - Jai Cowper-Smith/Dunoon Observer
By the side of Loch Restil looking south (Arrochar direction) towards the summit. Picture credit - Dunoon Observer

I can't help thinking that, even without such accidents, waiting for your convoy's turn to go can't involve much less time than driving round via Tyndrum and Dalmally.

A parallel?
The sight of the traffic instrastructure of previous centuries being re-commissioned, queuing vehicles, traffic cones, police cars and hi-viz jacketed Health & Safety types having kittens reminded me very strongly of when that other road vulnerable to landslides - the A890 along the south shore of Loch Carron - was closed for a few months in 2012 and the Strome Ferry, which had formed the link until the road was built in 1970, was brought back into use. There's an album of pictures of that here.

Car ferry approaching North Strome for the first time in 42 years. Picture credit - Donald Morrison

When the A890 along Loch Carron is closed, it involves a corking 120 mile (2.75 hours) detour to get to the other side of the loch (back up to Achnasheen, over to Beauly, down to Drumnadrochit and Invermoriston, then west via Cluanie and Kintail to Auchtertyre). As the children of Lochcarron village go to school in Plockton on the other side of the loch, when it became clear the road round would be closed for longer than a day or two, there was nothing for it but to resort to the desparate measure of re-opening the famous "Strome Ferry (No Ferry)". Fortunately there is a sole survivor of the sort of six car turntable ferry that used to operate at Strome. She is the Glenachulish, built for service on the Ballachulish Ferry but made redundant there when the bridge across Loch Leven  opened in 1975. Nowadays, she operates the summer only Kylerhea Ferry and, as she winters at Kishorn just round the coast from Loch Carron, she was available to take up service at Strome at short notice when the road was closed in January 2012.

Permanent solutions?
No amount of shoring up will immunise the A83 in Glen Croe or the A890 by Loch Carron from the threat of future landslides. The ideal permanent solution for the A83 would be a tunnel. And anything less than all the way from Ardgartan on Loch Long to Cairndow on Loch Fyne would be a false economy because Glen Kinglas (from Butterbridge down to Cairndow) is also prone to landslides (though less frequently) and here there is no alternative of the old military road because the present road follows its line too closely.

Looking west down Glen Kinglas towards Loch Fyne. Picture credit Gareth Harper

At Loch Carron, the talk is either of a bridge (or causeway incorporating tidal generator) across the narrows where the ferry used to run or else a new road leaving the shore of the loch at Attadale before it reaches the landslide zone and running inland, across the hills to Gleann Udalain and rejoining the A890 a couple of miles north of Auchtertyre (see 2014 Options Appraisal here). The whole road from Contin to Achnasheen to Lochcarron and across the Strome Ferry to Auchtertyre - today's A835/832/890 - was another one funded around 1810 by our friends the Highland Roads & Bridges Commissioners who had declined to fund improvements to the Rest and be Thankful. Their resident engineer, Thomas Telford, had suggested to them a route round Loch Carron and through Gleann Udalain as an alternative to the Strome Ferry but this was not taken up, presumably due to the additional expense involved. All these schemes, in Wester Ross and Argyll, remain expensive, of course, so for some time to come I expect to keep seeing this:-

Picture credit - Dunoon Observer

I certainly hope so, anyway - I'd pay quite a lot of money to be able to wind the clock back to the 1930s and drive up Glen Croe on the military road and across the Strome Ferry in the same weekend!                      

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Ghost junctions

Tyndrum via Google Streetview

I like road junctions. Especially the big ones where there's a parting of the ways in the main road and you have to make a conscious decision which way you're going. Tyndrum, pictured above, is a good example: right on the A82 for Glen Coe and Fort William or left on the A85 for Oban and the ferries to the islands?

Junctions often used to be equipped with evocative paraphernalia - road signs, obviously, but also sometimes a bridge, an AA or RAC box or a hotel - but many have been realigned in the last 50-60 years due to road improvements and have lost some of their character. It is, however, often possible to trace where the old junction lay: I call these "ghost junctions". A particularly well preserved one lies just west of Kinlocheil where the A861 to Corran Ferry down the west side of Loch Linnhe leaves the A830 to Mallaig. It was created by the rebuilding (in the late 1960s or early 1970s, I think) of the A830 on a line slightly to the south of its original track as seen below:-

Looking west at the old junction between the A861 and the A830 - you can go for a virtual walk round here

The old junction between the A830 & A861 as seen on the OS 1 inch map, 7th series, Sheet 35 "Loch Arkaig"

Gorstan - A835/A832
A favourite junction of mine is at Gorstan just west of Garve where the A832 for Gairloch and Kyle peels off the A835 for Ullapool. It has a ghost 300 yards west created when the last single track section of the A835 - the mile and a half from Gorstan north to the bridge over the Black Water - was doubled in the early 1980s. The "change transparency of overlay" slider when you overlay old maps on modern aerial photography on the National Libraries of Scotland's Georeferenced mapping pages is ideal for tracing ghost junctions:-

By the way, right at the end of this post, there's a map showing all the places mentioned in the text. And under all the following screengrabs from Google Streetview, there's a link that should take you to the spot viewed so you can go for a virtual walk round. Anyway, here's what the A835/A832 junction at Gorstan looks like today:-

Google Streetview

And here's the ghost junction 300 yards west on the A832. It's now just a local access to the hamlet of Gorstan:-

Google Streetview

This ghost junction is not in such a pristine state of preservation as the A830/A861 one at Kinlocheil because the A832 has been widened and regraded to lessen that gradient as it climbs westward. Here are some pictures of the old junction in former times:-

Next is the AA box which used to stand just west of the junction pictured in 1964 - the A832 was single track from Gorstan until the early/mid 1970s and note the sign (click to enlarge) warning that the Skye and Strome ferries didn't operate on a Sunday:-

Picture credit the AA

And this old sign still stood just west of Gorstan junction until the mid 1980s when I photographed it:-

Achnasheen - A832/A890
16 miles west of Gorstan, the ways part again at Achnasheen where you go left on the A890 for Lochcarron and Kyle (via the Strome Ferry until 1970) or straight on with the A832 for Gairloch. This junction was re-jigged in early/mid 1990s when the adjacent roads were doubled and it's now a roundabout:-

Google Streetview

But again, there's a ghost junction 100 yards west of the roundabout where the A890 used to join the A832 at a bridge over the River Bran built by the Highland Roads & Bridges Commission about 1810-20: as a listed building, it's been retained as a footbridge to Ledgowan Lodge and Hotel (I recall a stushie a few years back when the new owners of the Lodge claimed this was no longer a public right of way but don't remember the outcome):-

Google Streetview

A832/A890 junction at Achnasheen

Here are some pictures I took of the old junction in the 1980s before the roads were realigned:-

viewed from the south, approaching on the A890 from Lochcarron

viewed from the west, approaching on the A832 from Gairloch

And finally, a nice recent picture of the old bridge:-

Picture credit - Simone

Auchtertyre - A890/A87
33 miles south west of Achnasheen, the A890 meets the A87 at Auchtertyre where, due to the two roads having been upgraded at different times, there are not one but two ghost junctions.


The first, original junction was in the centre of the village, joining roads built by the Highland Roads & Bridges Commission around 1810-20. Here's a picture of it - note the finger post pointing to Dornie Ferry along the A87 to the right:-

In the late 1960s/early 1970s, the A87 was bypassed to the south of the village so that the junction moved south with it. At the same time, the first 100 yards of the A890 to the north of the old A87 through the village was realigned on a slightly more easterly (to the right in the picture above) line leaving the original junction as a ghost. This is how I photographed it in 1986:-

Since then, the first few yards of the old A890 have been incorporated as a driveway to the house:-

Google Streetview

Finally, in 1978, the A890 from Stromeferry to Auchtertyre was rebuilt as a double track road and by-passing Auchtertyre to the east so the junction with the A87 was moved again. Here's the OS 1:50,000 map (Sheet 33 "Loch Alsh & Glen Shiel") in the mid 70s after the A87 had been moved but still with the original single track A890 passing through the village:-

Here's the second A890/A87 junction (which lasted less than 10 years between the A87 by-passing south of Auchtertyre in the late 60s/early 70s and the A890 being rebuilt in 1978) as it appears today, now just a local access into the village:-

Google Streetview

And here's the third and present A890/A87 junction viewed from the north coming down the A890:-

Google Streetview

Finally, although slightly off topic, I can't leave the A890 without sharing two pictures of it between Achmore and Auchtertyre before 1978 when it was still a single track:-

The A890 descending towards Auchtertyre in 1966 - picture credit Peter Jeffrey

The A890 beside Loch Udalain in 1971 - picture credit Doveson2002

Braemore Junction - A835/A832
If we retrace our steps back to Gorstan and, instead of going left on the A832 towards Achnasheen, carry on on the A835 towards Ullapool, the first junction we come to, after 19 miles, is Braemore Junction where the far end of the A832 rejoins the A835.

Google Streetview

Needless to say, it too was re-arranged when the adjacent roads were upgraded from single to double track in the late 1960s. You can see this most clearly on the NLS georeferenced map viewer (remember to move the transparency of overlay slider):-

The A835 from the east used to approach along a slightly more northerly line then divide into three in front of the gate lodge at the entrance to Braemore Estate: the private road into the estate went straight ahead, the A835 towards Ullapool swung round to the left of the lodge and the A832 to Dundonnell went left over a bridge over the Abhainn Droma river 60 yards west of the present bridge. This is what it looked like:-

Braemore Junction - picture credit Peter Newling

That's the private road into Braemore Estate going to the right of the lodge, the A835 to Ullapool to the left and the A832 to Dundonnell via the Destitution Road is going out the bottom left of the photo in front of the wall. Note the finger post. Contrast with the same view today:- 

Google Streetview

Here's the old bridge that used to carry the A832 over the Abhainn Droma - sadly, it no longer exists:-

Braemore Bridge - picture credit Peter Newling

Thanks to Peter for permission to use these last two pictures.

NLS side-by-side map viewer
Google Streetview

I've just noticed from Google Earth aerial imagery dated August 2019 that recent landscaping in front (to the east) of the lodge appears to have obliterated the traces of the old junction. So below is your last chance to see this most spectral of all ghost junctions zoomed in on older Bing imagery:-

Below is approaching Braemore from the west on the A832 - you can see the old road going off to the left towards the old bridge:-

Google Streetview

Finally, here are a few pictures of Braemore Junction, approaching from the east on the A835, before it was realigned:-

1967 - Picture credit Alan Reid
Picture credit - the AA. That's a very high res picture worth clicking to enlarge.

Lastly, a similar but older and rather grainy photo from an old guide book to Wester Ross when the trees were younger. If you click to enlarge, you can just make out a finger post in front of the lodge:-

Well, reading this post back, I realise it's perhaps a tad esoteric for most tastes but I certainly enjoyed messing about with maps, aerial imagery, Streetview and old photos putting it together! If anyone has any other old photos of any of these junctions, do let me know. I leave you with a map of the locations mentioned above:-