25 April 2009

Scottish Bridges: 3. Rumbling Bridge

Rumbling Bridge. It was just a dot on a map, but with a name like that it was a dot that just begged for a visit, especially after seeing two Shakking Bridges already on my trip to Scotland.

According to the internet, which is supposedly never wrong, the original Rumbling Bridge was built in 1713 by William Gray, carrying a road across the River Devon, at a point where it drops deep into a gorge, the water's rumbling sound giving the bridge its name. It's a masonry arch spanning about 7m, and without any parapets.

Again according to the internet, the second arch bridge was built above the original in 1816, leading to an unusual double arch bridge which is well worth seeing, particularly above the somewhat spectacular river gorge.

Quite how accurate or complete the internet's information is must be open to doubt, as there's a stone clearly visible on the bridge inscribed with the name "T.H. Tuckett" and dated 1664, which suggests there was a bridge on this site at an earlier date.

The photo at the start of this post is a panorama and hence slightly distorted and doesn't really give a good idea of the depth from the top of the bridge to the river below - it's deeper than it looks (36m). The old postcard on the left gives a slightly better idea and shows that at one time it was possible to walk across the lower arch - it's a real shame that's no longer an option.

It's unclear precisely why the lower arch bridge was left in place, as it must have been rendered largely unuseable during erection of the timber centering for the upper arch, and remains unuseable now. I did wonder briefly whether it formed some propping function, but that also seems unlikely.
Whatever, it's an unusual and picturesque bridge, worth the short detour from our journey.

Further information:

5 comments:

structurespace said...

That's a really great bridge, I love the visible overlaying of centuaries of use on the site.

I suppose if the first bridge was used as a handy formwork foundation, then it would have been a great asset to the builders of the second. Perhaps the reason that it's still there is that it would be almost impossible to rob out the majority of the stone from an arch bridge!

Are those wrought iron braces, visible as dark vertical lines on the abutments?

The Happy Pontist said...

I don't remember what the dark lines were, I'll take a look at my photos more closely when I get a moment (they're much higher resolution that I've included here).

Anonymous said...

I have just visited Rumbling Bridge and photographed the inscription. It reads:
T.H. TUCKETT
L. M.L. M.D. M. R P
1864
with masons' marks between some of the letters. The date is not 1664.

The Happy Pontist said...

I've had a closer look at my photo and I think you're right about it being 1864.

Anonymous said...

The dark vertical lines are drainage slots for surface water drainage from the road above, rather than iron braces.
I live just down the road from here in Muckhart