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Pathfinder Pack on General Wade's Military Roads and Forts

Pathfinder Pack has Narrative
 

Introduction

After the 1715 Rebellion, the government decided to build a network of military roads in the Highlands so that any future uprisings would be easier to crush. General George Wade was appointed to oversee this task. He built over a thousand miles of road and built new barracks at many key points in the Highlands. You can search the database to find out more about these military roads, bridges and forts.

General Wade's Military Roads and Forts

This photograph shows the military road that was built through the Sma' Glen in Perthshire by General Wade. The photo was taken in 1899, over 150 years after the road was built. The roads built by General Wade were of the highest standard. They replaced roads that were little more than dirt tracks and were often impassable in bad weather. Military Roads were built so that large numbers of troops and artillery could be moved quickly around the Highlands.

Military Road through the Sma' Glen
Military Road through the Sma' Glen

This photo shows the magnificent bridge that General Wade constructed over the River Tay at Aberfeldy. The most important of the military roads Wade built was the one ran between Dunkeld and Inverness. A road was built linking from that road to Crieff, crossing the River Tay at Aberfeldy. The Bridge has 5 arches and is 400 feet across. It was completed in 1735 at a cost of over £4000. Some of his military roads are still in use today.

Aberfeldy Bridge
Aberfeldy Bridge

The road building programme of General Wade required a large number of soldiers. These soldiers had to be housed and fed. This led to the building a number of stone houses, called Kingshouses. Once the roads were finished, these buildings were used to accommodate officials and soldiers carrying out maintenance. Most of these Kingshouses eventually became inns and can still be found all over the Highlands.

Kingshouses
Kingshouses

Road building in the Highlands wasn't an easy task. This photograph shows a boulder that lay across the route. A passing traveller wrote an account of the soldiers as they struggled with the boulder. They found some human remains under the stone and concluded that they must be those of a roman soldier. Later evidence suggest the bones came from prehistoric times.

Boulders
Boulders

As well as building military roads, General Wade undertook the task of building and upgrading barracks for housing troops to be permanently stationed in Scotland. Ruthven Barracks near Kingussie were constructed in 1722 and General Wade had stables added to them in 1734. The ruin of the barracks are still open to the public today.

Ruthven Barracks
Ruthven Barracks

Another Barracks built by General Wade are those situated at Bernera. These barracks were positioned to guard the crossing to Skye. The barracks were completed in 1723 and were designed to house four companies of soldiers. The barracks were occupied until 1790, but by then the Jacobite cause was long gone and the garrison was manned by only one soldier.

Bernera Barracks
Bernera Barracks

General Wade built a fort at the Southern end of Loch Ness in 1730. This was a strategic site half way up the Great Glen and one of the main routes through the Central Highlands at the time. There are military roads built at this time that are still in use today on the Eastern shore of Loch Ness.

Fort Augustus
Fort Augustus

This map was completed in 1746, just after the end of the final Jacobite uprising. It gives a good picture of the road network built by General Wade. If you click on the map you can use the zoom view to examine it in detail.

Map of Highland Roads 1746
Map of Highland Roads 1746

Related Records

Turnpike Roads

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