While its breathtaking scenery has inspired folk singers and poets, its undulating twists and turns have nauseated generations of small children in the back seats of cars.

But what was once the only single-track trunk road in the UK will be declared clear of passing places next week when the final stretch of the £23.4m upgrade to the famous A830 road to the isles is officially opened.

The Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson will be on hand to see the A830 Fort William to Mallaig road lose its reputation for lost hubcaps and scraped wing mirrors.

That has all gone now with the completion of the final 4.6 mile Loch nan Uamh to Arisaig section, the final phase of the programme.

However, there had been no progress on the road for so long that one day in the middle of August 1991 crowds of people from Morar, Mallaig and Arisaig blocked the road in Morar for about half an hour. The then local MP, the late Sir Russell Johnston, a man not known for direct action, took part.

He said at the time: "To have 200 or 300 local people out demonstrating in the West Highlands really is quite amazing and shows just how frustrated they are.

"This is hardly surprising since the Scottish Office has been promising to upgrade the road since 1937. I think the straw that broke the camel's back was the announcement last month that work would not begin again until 1996. Three years ago we were told it would be 1990."

Blocking the road was the idea of a regional councillor Dr Michael Foxley. He had seen how native Americans in British Columbia were fighting for their native lands, and how the Mohawks of Quebec crusaded for their ancestral woodlands.

A year or so later the government announced that it would proceed with the Morar bypass, the first phase of the upgrade.