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Cuaich Dam, Cuaich - Seilich Tunnel, Etteridge, Scottish Highlands.
[23.5 km] Tue 21 May 2024

Lat/Long: 56.952345, -04.211956
OS Grid ref: NN 65483 86725

After a quick breakfast at Dalnaspidal I drove to the laybye near the access track to Cuaich generating station. I didn't use the laybye but parked on the wide verge to leave the laybye for motorists. The weather was misty & overcast with heavy rain forecast for later. I set off shortly after 6am heading along the track by the wide concrete watercourse.
Cuaich Dam.
Passing the main generating house I continued up towards Loch Cuaich. A 4wd estate vehicle was parked on the track with a man inside looking at something through a telescope. I said hello but he didn't reply. I walked across the loch dam & followed the undulating track along the west side.
The NE end of the loch is the inlet side & I could see the tunnel portal that brings water in from the distant Loch Seilich. Through a tall gate I walked across to the inlet and was pleased to see a notice over the concrete portal saying:
Cuaich - Seilich Tunnel
22,319 feet long
June 1938 - July 1940

Cuaich - Seilich Tunnel
22,319 feet long
June 1938 - July 1940
The weather was nice a

The foundations of the depot, workshops & workers accommodation can be seen.
I continued NE following the track heading diagonally up the hillside. It was a steady climb up to the highest point where a wide view of the hills opened up and I could see the track descending and vanishing into the distance.

Old foundations.

Dead Adder on the track

Phones or Phoines.

Towards Ettridge

Interesting marker on the hilltop.
There was no sign of the next buildings on the route which are called Phones. This will cause problems for internet searches. The 1860 map calls it Phoines. As the track approached the Falls of Phones I could see Creagan an Fhithica outcrop up to my left. There was a vertical structure on the summit but I couldn’s make out what it was. I reached the lodge called Phones which the old map calls Phoines. The private access road back to the A9 is described as Wade’s Road on the map, presumably the line of the old military road. I followed it to the buildings at Etteridge and crossed the busy A9 to join the cycle track that took me to the old line of the A9. I continued south along the wide but mostly deserted road. Several cyclists came along, mostly heading north.
The weather deteriorated and for a while I needed my cape but the rain wasn’t heavy. The road became increasingly boring as I continued and was glad to see the bridge across the River Truim in the distance. It is on a faint farm track and not a public adopted bridge. I crossed over then through the buildings at Cuaich and back to the car. I got back in time to avoid the heavy rain approaching.
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