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Crossing Into History

September 11, 2017 Destination Europe No Comments Email Email

Three bridges built in three different centuries, the iconic Forth bridges are must-see sites in Scotland. Spanning the Firth of Forth side by side, the bridges link Edinburgh & The Lothians to the Kingdom of Fife, and the national tourism organisation believes the opening of the newQueensferry Crossing, which stands alongside the Forth Road Bridge and iconic Forth Bridge, could see the area emulate the success of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and Tower Bridge in London – all of which regularly attract millions of visitors every year.

As the world’s longest three-tower cable stayed bridge, the Queensferry Crossing is a feat of modern engineering. It will make it easier for visitors to travel across the east of the country, to discover attractions such as Dunfermline Abbey, Hopetoun House, Blackness Castle, Aberdour Castle, Deep Sea World and Inchcolm Abbey. Here’s what you need to know about them:

  • Queensferry Crossing – to the west, the Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic on 30 August 2017, becoming the Firth of Forth’s newest road bridge. It was officially opened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on 4 September.
  • Forth Road Bridge – in the middle, the Forth Road Bridge was opened in 1964 and stretches 2.5 km. It’s the only one of the three you can walk or cycle across.
  • Forth Bridge – to the east, the famous Forth Bridge was opened in 1890. As well as being a working rail bridge it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

VisitScotland has just released new content on their site, highlighting places fot the perfect viewpoint or selfie of the three bridges. Click here for more information.

From their beauty, grandeur or breathtaking engineering prowess, Scotland’s bridges each have their own story to tell. Some of Scotland’s most recognisable structures include:

Forth Bridge

It now enjoys the same prestigious status as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, having earned its UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2015. Designed by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, the Forth Bridge remains an important symbol of Britain’s transport heritage and Scotland’s engineering pedigree. Its distinctive style makes it one of the most recognisable structures in the world, inspiring artists, photographers and filmmakers. Last year it was also chosen as Scotland’s greatest manmade wonder.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

A favourite with Harry Potter fans having starred in two of the blockbuster movies, the impressive Glenfinnan Viaduct carries the railway 100ft above the River Finnan. When it was completed in 1901 it was the longest mass concrete viaduct in Britain and was built by rail and road engineer Sir Robert McAlpine.  The Jacobite Steam train, which doubled as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies, runs from Fort William toMallaig. A must-see attraction in the area includes the Glenfinnan Monument and Visitor Centre which commemorates the Jacobite clansmen who fought and gave their lives in support of Charles Edward Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The Brig o’Doon

This 15th century cobbled bridge in Alloway is famed for its appearance in poetry. The Brig o’Doon saved Tam o’Shanter in Robert Burns’ poem of the same name. The witches from Alloway Auld Kirk were pursuing Tam when he crossed the bridge on horseback but were unable to cross the water, and only managed to rip off the poor horse’s tail. Originally, the old bridge was supposed to be demolished but this decision was overruled byAlloway’s increasing role as a gateway for literary tourists, attracted to the area by Robert Burns’ work.

Clyde Arc

Best known as the ‘Squinty Bridge’ due to its twisted arch, the Clyde Arc was designed by the Halcrow Group and built by Kilsyth-based civil engineering company, Edmund Nuttall. Its construction was part of a huge regeneration project on the Clyde Waterfront. The Clyde Arc is just one of 21 bridges that span the River Clyde, with the earliest bridges dating from the 1850s. They are diverse in style and each plays a part in telling the story of how Glasgow formed to be the city it is today.

Clachan Bridge

Built in 1792, Clachan Bridge crosses the Clachan Sound, but is known by the much grander title of ‘The Bridge Over the Atlantic’ because the sound opens directly into the Atlantic Ocean. It was designed by John Stevenson, whose family founded Oban, and the plans were revised by RobertMylne. In the early summer, the rare Fairy Foxglove covers the bridge in a gentle purple haze.

Carrbridge Packhorse Bridge

Celebrating its 300th anniversary this year, the Carrbridge Packhorse Bridge is one of the most iconic visitor attractions in the Cairngorms. Originally built to allow funeral processions to gain access to Duthil Church, the crossing is often nicknamed ‘coffin bridge’. It was funded by the Brigadier-General Alexander Grant of Grant who paid mason John Niccelsone to create what is the oldest known stone bridge in the Highlands. All that remains of the bridge is a single span, arcing high into the air across the swiftly rushing river below.

The Kylesku Bridge

Replacing a long running boat service, Kylesku Bridge was completed in 1984 and is one continuous concrete curve that crosses Loch a’ChairnBhain. The previous ferry services had proved unpredictable, especially in bad weather, and the award-winning bridge helped travellers to avoid a 100 mile route on land. The bridge is located in the North West Highlands Geopark on the North Coast 500 driving route.

Tay Road Bridge, Dundee

One of the longest road bridges in Europe, the Tay Road Bridge connects the city of Dundee with Fife and spans 1.4 miles.  It was designed by Glasgow-based William A. Fairhurst and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was in the first car to cross the bridge on the day it officially opened in August 1966. Unusually, the pedestrian pathway runs through the middle of the two lines of traffic and is raised above them.

Leaderfoot Viaduct,

This elegant red sandstone viaduct opened in 1865 and was created by Charles Jopp and Wylie & Peddie. Its 19 red sandstone arches carried theBerwickshire Railway over the River Tweed and although there was flooding damage to the line in 1948, the Leaderfoot Viaduct was in use until 1965. You can take an 8.5 mile circular walk which includes the viaduct, as well as Melrose, Newstead, Gattonside, Earlston.

Swilcan Bridge

Also known as Golfer’s Bridge, this crossing might be small in size, but it’s an iconic part of golfing history and a mecca for golf fans. This stone footbridge crosses over Swilcan Burn, which meanders across the 1st and 18th fairways of the Old Course in St Andrews. It has witnessed 29 Open Championships in its time and been privy to some of the finest moments in golfing history.

To cast your vote for your favourite Scottish bridge visit: https://community.visitscotland.com/discussion/1135/your-favourite-scottish-bridges

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