Fort Augustus-Bernera Military Road, 1890m W of Ceannacroc Lodge
The monument comprises of a stretch of mid-18th-century military road which now survives as a grass- and heather-covered track.
Major William Caulfeild built the Fort Augustus-Bernera military road in 1748-53 to link the Hanoverian garrison at Fort Augustus to the barracks in Glenelg some 70 km to the W. A drove route from Skye and Glenelg was utilised and metalled for troops, carts and artillery. Caulfeild's road appears on Roy's military survey of 1747-55. The road ceased to be maintained after 1784 as the Jacobite threat dissipated. Thomas Telford chose to bypass the section above Loch Cluanie as it was too steep for carriages; his 1808-11 route now carries the A87/A877. The 1962 Garry-Moriston Hydro-Electric Power Scheme dammed the loch; part of the military road near Ceannacroc Bridge was damaged when converted into an access road.
The stretch of road is about 6 km long and averages 5.3 m in width, with occasional stretches of revetment on the lower side. A number of early drainage features survive; principally well-made cobbled and paved fords in differing states of preservation. Water erosion has washed out much of the original road fabric.
The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the longest, best-surviving contiguous stretch of the road, its associated structures (eg borrow pits, drainage ditches, revetments, culverts, bridge abutments, cross drains, shedding bars and fords) and an area around in which evidence for their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map extract. The scheduling excludes the above-ground parts of modern fences, to allow for their maintenance.
The monument's archaeological and historic significance can be expressed as follows:
Intrinsic characteristics: Though much of the original road fabric does not survive, associated drainage features and the remains of fords survive in a good state of preservation. It has the considerable potential to enhance our understanding of the construction and development of 18th-century military roads.
Contextual characteristics: While around 1800 km of military roads were built in Scotland between 1724 and 1780, very few stretches survive with any original features intact as most were reused as public roads. Only two other significantly long stretches are presently preserved as scheduled ancient monuments. In the vicinity, a short stretch of the Fort Augustus-Bernera military road which preserves two bridges is also proposed for scheduling.
Associative characteristics: The road was built as part of a wider strategy of arteries for use by an army of occupation to control the Scottish highlands. The requirement to link two of the Hanoverian barracks (position decided in 1717) determined the location of the monument. General Wade devised the form and materials used by Major Caulfeild in the first programme of road-building (1724-5), such as standardised width, particular construction technique and preference for direct routes. The intended use of the monument would have had a significant effect on the people who used the road and those people they intended to subjugate. Its survival no doubt has an effect on the national consciousness given the impact of the Jacobite era. The literary pair Dr Johnson and Mr Boswell followed the route in 1773, and its association with these popular historical figures is remembered today.
The monument is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the Jacobite-Hanoverian era in Scotland. It retains the field characteristics of its kind to a marked degree and makes a significant impact on the modern landscape. The loss of or damage to the monument would significantly diminish the capacity of the class of military roads to contribute to our understanding of 18th-century Scotland.
RCAHMS record the monument as NH11SE4, Fort Augustus-Bernera Military Road.
Logie, M 1997, THE MILITARY ROADS OF THE HIGHLANDS: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE 18TH CENTURY MILITARY ROADS WHICH LIE WITHIN THE HIGHLAND COUNCIL BOUNDARIES.
General Roy, Military Survey of Scotland 1747-55.
Taylor, W 1976, THE MILITARY ROADS IN SCOTLAND, London: David & Charles.