One of the joys of living in Dunblane is that all of my friends come to see me.
So tonight, I await the return of friends + godchild on their way home from Skye. These friends had a rather harrowing journey North. The Sat Nav chose the most likely route without any regard for ferry timetables, and they found themselves travelling a long and winding road around the lochs back to very near where they had set out because they arrived in time for the ferry to cross them into the wilds, but not for the next ferry to carry them over the sea to Skye.
So tonight, they came armed with insider knowledge: a better faster route, with not a ferry in sight.
And what an adventure. Fords, and streams, and narrow bridges. Crackeling phone lines, and a revised arrival time. So, I’ve been trying to figure out where they were (unlike last time, when I was trying to figure out where they could stay for the night if it got really bad).
I found this charming description of their route. Not quite the highway they were hoping for, it seems.
The A889 is quite narrow for a primary route. It’s certainly wider than single-track, but isn’t quite wide enough for two marked lanes. I would guess it’s just over 4 metres wide on average, which should be enough for two cars to pass easily, and wide enough for a car and a truck to pass with care. Some bridges are likely to be narrower, but will have warning signs.
The A889 is also neither straight nor level, and in that respect is just like most of the other older roads through the Highlands. It goes up, down, left and right, always following the line of least resistance across the hillside. If I remember correctly, the road edges have painted white lines, and there are plenty of red/white reflective posts along both sides – so the line is easy to follow.
The road also unfenced for part of the route, with hill sheep and deer wandering unrestricted across the road. Again, this is not unusual for a Highland road.
However, the biggest problem with the A889 road is probably the drivers who use it.
Pray for them, reader.
It might be a long night.
Update: I was wrong. It turns out that the road described was indeed reasonable. The one that really caused trouble was the Old A889, which is kept by the forrestry commission and no longer on the map. How exciting.