06 September 2012

Scottish Bridges: 49. Old Invercauld Bridge

Readers who’ve somehow stayed with me throughout this interminable series of posts on Scottish bridges may have noted a proclivity for metal footbridges of the 19th and 20th century, and a general lack of interest in the many masonry spans which actually make up the majority of the older bridges in the Scottish Highlands. The explanation is simple – I’m an active bridge designer, and I’m drawn to structures which I feel hold some kind of technological relationship to those that I design or wish to design.

However, the Old Invercauld Bridge could not pass without comment. There are two road bridges here, one which carried the old road to Braemar across the River Dee, and one which replaced it. Both are multiple span arch bridges. We didn’t stop to photograph the New Invercauld Bridge, but its older companion is a very striking structure.

The old bridge was built in about 1752 as part of Major William Caulfield's programme to build a network of military roads across Scotland. It's now a Scheduled Monument.

It has six spans of rubble masonry, with the spans varying from 10 feet to 68 feet. Huge flagstone-topped triangular cutwaters punctuate both faces.

In 1859, it was bypassed by a new three-span masonry arch bridge, built by J F Beattie at the instigation of Prince Albert. This then carried the Aberdeen to Braemar road, now the A93. The old bridge became part of the Balmoral Estate, and remains so. It's private property, and although there is a public right to walk across it, visitors need to find somewhere on the main road to park.

We didn't have time to get very good photos, but hopefully this one gives some idea of its rough-hewn, robust magnificence.

As a PS for anyone wondering when this series of posts will actually come to an end, we are getting close. There’s one more bridge from the second day of our trip, and then four bridges from the final day. All five may well be the best from the entire journey.

Further information:

No comments: