A836 road

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A836 shield

The A836 in the Scottish Highlands
Route information
Length122 mi (196 km)
Major junctions
South endTain
57°49′51″N 4°06′24″W / 57.8307°N 4.1067°W / 57.8307; -4.1067
A838 (twice)
North endJohn o' Groats
58°38′19″N 3°04′08″W / 58.6386°N 3.0689°W / 58.6386; -3.0689
Thurso, John o' Groats
Road network

The A836 is a major road entirely within the Highland area of Scotland. It is 122 miles (196 km) long[1] and runs from Ross and Cromarty to Caithness, with the majority of its length in Sutherland. At 58.648°N where it passes through East Mey[2], it is the northernmost A-class road in mainland Great Britain.


Originally, in 1922, the route was designated from Bonar Bridge to Tongue. By 1935 this had been extended south to Alness and east to John o'Groats. Prior to the opening of the Dornoch Firth Bridge in 1991, the section southeast of Bonar Bridge was part of the A9, and the B9176 from Ardchronie to its then-terminus at Alness was designated as A836.[3] The opening of the bridge removed a 26-mile (42 km) detour around the firth.


As it branches from the A9 near Tain it is a Primary route and runs generally north through Bonar Bridge and Lairg this is where it changes from a primary route to a A-classed road. At Tongue the road turns east, following the north coast, passing through Thurso, and eventually ending at John o' Groats, where it meets the A99.

The A836 passes through some of the loneliest and most sparsely populated parts of Britain,[4] and despite having an 'A' classification, is a single track road in many places.[5] It is a hazardous route in winter owing to the narrow road width, sharp gradients and turns, and is particularly not a recommended route for goods and livestock vehicles, unless strictly necessary.[6]

The North Coast 500 scenic route runs along part of the A836.


  1. ^ "A836, Wick KW1 4YR". Google. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Scothighlands - Drive from Scrabster to Gills Bay via Thurso". www.scothighlands.com. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  3. ^ "A836". The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  4. ^ Rob Humphreys, Donald Reid (2002). Scottish Highlands & Islands. Rough Guide Travel Guides. Rough Guides. p. 296. ISBN 978-1-858-28880-2.
  5. ^ "Great drives: Inverness to Ullapool". The Daily Telegraph. 27 June 2000. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Dornoch Firth (bridge)". Hansard. 9 May 1972. Retrieved 6 September 2016.

External links[edit]