The Corrieyairack Pass is a challenging route that connects the Great Glen to Speyside. Historically, it was used by cattle drovers before the completion of General Wade’s road in 1731. Ironically, Bonny Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army were among the first to use it after its completion. The minister of Laggan also crossed the pass regularly while courting a lady from Fort Augustus who eventually became Mrs. Grant. These days, engineers servicing electricity pylons along its length are frequent travelers on this pass.
While driving over the pass has become fashionable, considerable damage caused by motor vehicles has led to their prohibition. However, those traveling on foot or wheeled vehicles would still find the pass difficult, even back when General Wade’s Road was built. One man noted that “the whole road is rough, dangerous, and dreadful, even for a horse,” particularly at Corrieyairack summit where strong winds could sweep travelers away. Soldiers occasionally died here after consuming too much whisky, so if you’re planning an ascent, make sure to avoid this fate.
The route description includes an off-road section running southwards from just south of Fort Augustus up towards Melgarve near Laggan in Speyside, starting at 60 meters altitude and climbing all the way up to 775 meters high. BaseCamp MTB offers shuttle services for riders who don’t wish to climb the entire way themselves. However, it’s important to note that both Historic Scotland and Highland Council have issued notices prohibiting any vehicles on the pass. The zigzag course through the Culachy Burn area offers lovely views into the Great Glen and Loch Ness, as well as the Cairngorms Mountains and River Spey far below. However, the steep descent requires extreme caution.
Corrieyairack Pass Location
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