Turnpikes and tolls of Aberfeldy and Loch Tayside

Under construction

By 1734, Wade had constructed the two military roads leading from Stirling to the north – one by Crieff and the Tay Bridge in Aberfeldy and the other by Callander, Balquhiddar, Strathfillan and over the Black Mount to Fort William. Gillies noted that 'these two highways were connected by a road which crossed Breadalbane, from Lochearnhead over the hill to Ardeonaig, along the south side of Loch Tay and on to Taymouth Castle and Tay Bridge. The Third Earl, at his own expense made a road from Kenmore to Glendochart, along the north side of Loch Tay, in the construction of which he had to build no fewer than 32 bridges on the Loch Tayside section alone. The bridge over the Tay at Kenmore was completed in 1774'.

It is not clear when the Third Earl built his road along the north side of Loch Tay but it is shown on Roy's Military Survey of The Highlands 1747- 1752.

An act in 1669 made it the job of every parish to maintain roads and all able-bodied persons were required to work on their upkeep for up to six days a year without pay. As an Officer of Taymouth one of Alexander Fisher's duties was to organise gangs of workers to repair bridges and roads. This statute labour system was widely resented and very inefficient.

In 1750, the Turnpike Act was passed allowing roads to be built privately and the owners to charge for their use. In 1794 James Robertson, in his General view of the agriculture in the southern districts of the County of Perth, noted that a turnpike road between Perth and Crieff was nearly finished and another between Stirling and Crieff was agreed upon. He also noted that when these two roads to Crieff are finished, the Commissioner for roads will no doubt apply the statute labour to other roads, many of which stand much in need of repairs.

The roads around Aberfeldy and along the north side of Loch Tay were upgraded to Turnpikes in the 1820s.

Name of Trust Miles Tolls
Bishopric (Dunkeld, Aberfeldy, Kenmore) 23 3
Taybridge (Crieff to Weem toll) 26 5
Tummelbridge 22 3.5
Strathtay 10 1.5
Lochtayside & Glendochart 39 5

On 18th December 1827 Donald McGregor, road contractor Tyndrum, signed a contract written by Donald MacGillivrie to upgrade the road from Kenmore to the Bridge of Lawers. A plan, sections and specifications had previously been prepared. Roads were to be metalled to the breadth of 14 feet and depth of 5 inches in the middle and 3 inches on the sides with stones broken to the size of 3 inches square which being properly levelled must be covered with well harped gravel from the loch to the depth of 4 inches on the middle and 3 inches on the sides. Drains would be added to the sides where necessary. Bridges had to be widened and parapets raised. £5 per day would be deducted from the contract for every day the road remained uncompleted and not open for the public use after 20 November 1828. The entire contract ran to 48 pages.

Inherent difficulties with both the turnpike and statute labour system led to a review that eventually led to the disbanding of the turnpike trusts and passing all roads over to the newly formed county councils in the 1880’s.

Page last updated - 15/7/16