The dead-end road along the north shore of Loch Arkaig will be closed for bridge and repair work from early February, and may not re-open to the public until as late as early May. During this period walkers accessing the hills via Glen Dessary or Glen Pean will need to make other plans - though alternatives are likely to be less convenient.
The road, the C1153 in officialese, runs to the remote west end of the loch near Strathan, and is the most popular landward start point for trips into the Rough Bounds of Knoydart - as per this UKH Route Card for example. Hills affected include Sgurr na Ciche, Garbh Chioch Mhor, Bidein a'Chabair, Sgurr Mhurlagain, and northern approaches to Streap and Sgurr Thuilm. Access to a number of bothies in the area is going to be disrupted too - Sourlies, Glen Pean and A'Chuil among them.
Civil engineering firm Wallace Stone has applied to The Highland Council for a Temporary Traffic Order to close two roads, the B8005 that runs between Clunes and the start of the C1153, and the full length of the C1153. On the B8005 a diversion through the Achnacarry estate will be put in place for light vehicles; but no diversion is possible on the single track Loch Arkaig road.
The initial application covered the period from 28 January - 5 April, but contractor Fion Construction will be unable to start work until 4 February at the earliest, say Wallace Stone. Once underway, work could take as long as 13 weeks.
'There may be the possibility for access to certain parts along this route but the timings of this will depend on the appointed Contractor's programme and whether or not their works allow safe passage' says a spokesman for Wallace Stone.
'A mini-bus service will be operated by the appointed Contractor to transport those using the C1153 to their destination along it.'
This service will be made available to walkers, at the contractor's cost.
'We will discuss scheduling with the Contractor at the pre-start meeting next week' the spokesman tells us.
'We wouldn't want a situation to arise where walkers are driven to one end of the road when the Contractor is present on site, walk for the day, and arrive back to the pick-up point to find the Contractor has finished for the day.'
It's been confirmed that work will commence in the week beginning 4 February and run until April. Access will be maintained for all during the road works but may locally result in short delays, where the contractor is working (around anything up to 20 minutes apparently).
Bridgeworks are intended to start in the week beginning 4 March, though the exact dates of individual bridge works are yet to be confirmed by the contractor.
Once they're being worked on bridges may be out of action for periods of days. Access when this work is being undertaken will be limited. The contractor says they'll will endeavour to maintain access for as many of the bridge construction days as possible and a mini bus/taxi service will be available at certain points too. It may be better to contact them directly, if you know when you want to travel - tel 01397 702 834
NB. Thanks to site user skog for flagging this up.
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