Ruaridh Ormiston has been in touch to ask for your help in securing the future of an ancient Scottish Highland hill track. The 300 year old Wade’s Road goes from Kingussie to Fort Augustus and is currently used by mountain bikers as well as horse riders, walkers and many other outdoor user groups. However, Transport Scotland are building a new section of Dual Carriageway at Etteridge that will have a closed barrier central reservation that will stop all off road non-vehicular users crossing the A9 at that point.
As Ruaridh points out, the old military road is recognised as a formal right of way on both sides of the A9 and so the crossing should be considered the same.
During the consultation Transport Scotland told people and groups that “current levels of access for walkers, cyclists and equestrian users would be preserved when the dual carriageway” – so of course people like the Scottish Rights of Way took this to mean that some form of crossing from the Wade’s Road on the East side of the A9 to the Core Footpath Network and Sustrans route on the other side of the A9 would be preserved.
However Transport Scotland did not see it that way and have refused to accept the need for the crossing at all. This could put peoples lives at risk if they were to try and dodge traffic while trying to jump the central reservation on this section. It is also possible that closing this crossing breaches Scottish Access Legislation too. Indeed, in the Environmental Impact sssessment of the new carriageway, they state that “existing travel patterns for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians should be unaffected by the scheme.”
The petition needs your support to show them that this isn’t true and that all that would be required is a simple livestock underpass such as the one seen further north on the A9 in order for the ancient route to stay accessible.
Their campaign is currently supported by the Cairngorms National Park, the Local Outdoor Access Forum, Scottish Rights of Way, Heritage Paths Scotland, British Horse Society, Trekking and Riding Society of Scotland, British (Carriage) Driving Society as well as various local Councillors, various MP’s and MSP’s.
If you’d like to get involved and show your support, then sign the online petition here:
You can also read Transport Scotland’s proposal here:
Posted on: February 24, 2011