Philip Thompson Ltd was engaged by SSE to initially design and thereafter construct a path between Bridge of Tarff and Glendoe Hill entrance. The overall length of this route following the B862 is approximately 3 miles.Due to the constraints and potential dangers to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders it was prudent to construct the path distant from the road edge where feasible. It was envisaged that the predominant use of the proposed path would be for walkers and leisure cyclists albeit provision is made for horse riders. On this basis it was considered that a whin dust finish to the path was preferable from the perspectives of aesthetics, maintenance and cost. The path width, bearing in mind the rural location and the recommendations of Paths for All & Sustrans Design Manual (April 2014) is 2.0m. The proposed path specification follows the recommendations of Paths for All.
It was recognised that to ensure longevity for the path a robust drainage scheme must be implemented from the outset and by combining this with a regular maintenance programme will ensure the path can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for many years.
A route had previously been considered and approved by the local planning authority however, Philip Thompson Ltd identified that potential improvements could be incorporated by realigning some sections of the route. Improvements were achieved by ....
- Realigning the route away from the residential properties and farm buildings near Borlum Farm.
- Enhancing path user experience by maintaining a longer route adjacent to Loch Ness
- Enhancing path user experience by taking path users via the Waterfall at NH 3897 0854
- Reducing the number of path user road crossings from two to one.
- Removing the visual impact of construction at the original Borlum Farm road Crossing point
- Removing the engineering and visual impact of the original side slope construction to the south of the Ardochy road
- Removing the engineering and visual impact of the original side slope construction to the south east of Allt an Dubhair
- Removing the roadside construction adjacent to the Glendoe entrance
- Forming a link with the proposed South Loch Ness Trail path from Glendoe to Loch Tarff. Thus providing a continuous trail route from Torbreck on the outskirts of Inverness to Fort Augustus.
Revised Route Description
The revised route exits the B862 immediately south of the bridge of Tarff and drops down into the fields to the East side of the road. The route generally runs parallel to the road for a distance of approximately 780m before turning northeast towards the shores of the loch. The route then follows along an existing path with an alignment more or less parallel to the lochside. This entire section is of minimal gradient. There are a number of field entrances along this section where path construction required upgrading to take account of agricultural vehicles crossing the path. Some localised areas were soft underfoot and in these locations the path is of "floated" construction. Some trimming of tree branches over the first 360m was also required to maintain an alignment parallel to the road and less intrusive to the fields. Particular attention was paid to protecting tree roots adjacent to the path construction and these sections of path were also constructed using floated construction techniques.
Prior to the path reaching the forest adjacent to the loch, the path turns south and follows a fence line before rising up and following the line of the Allt an Dubhair with its spectacular waterfall and thereafter towards the existing track which leads to Glendoe Lodge. The path runs parallel to the existing track within the field back towards the B862 and crosses the road at this point. This is the only road crossing and benefits from open sight lines in each direction. The route then follows around the perimeter of the field before crossing down and over the Allt an Dubhair. A 7m span bridge was required at this location and this span ensured abutment construction did not impede either the river flow or interfere with the river embankments. The route then passes through an open grazing area, rising at a steady gradient up towards Glendoe. A further 4 m span bridge was required to cross the unnamed stream at NH3908 0841. Generally, the route runs parallel to the B862 albeit the path is located approximately 30m to 40m to the south of the road. The terrain is reasonably dry in this section with a few localised softer areas where the path is of "floated" construction.
The path continues to run parallel to the B862, crossing under the overhead line before joining the route of the old Military road. There is one small section over a length of approximately 35m which had restricted width due to a rock outcrop. Over this length the rock was trimmed back and the existing fence line moved slightly to create a path corridor just over 2m wide. After the rock outcrop the route continues to follow the old military road up to the brow of the hill. The revised route then turns South and follows along the western edge of the Glendoe forest tract. Thereafter the route turns East along the forest edge to join onto the existing Glendoe hill access track. This will link the path to the trail route for the South Loch Ness trail section proposed between Glendoe and Loch Tarff.
Project Start: October 2016
Project completion: February 2017
Project value: £450,000
Completed on time and to budget