14 Famous Bridges in Scotland (Scotland’s Most Iconic Bridges)
Scotland has a fantastic array of bridges, both large and small, ranging from ancient pack-horse crossings to sweeping engineering marvels. Plan your next trip to Scotland so that you can see at least one of our famous crossings.
In this fascinating guide, we look at some of Scotland’s most famous bridges.
Auld Brig o’ Doon
This 15th century cobblestone bridge spans the River Doon in the village of Alloway, Ayrshire. The Scots word for old is “auld,” and “brig” means bridge.
This beautiful bridge is so well-known that it appears on the Bank of Scotland’s £5 banknote.
The legendary Scottish poet, Robert Burns, was born in Alloway in 1759 and he refers to the bridge in his famous poem “Tam o’ Shanter”.
The bridge is also thought to have inspired the popular Lerner and Lowe musical “Brigadoon,” though the village itself was purely fictitious.
Brig o’ Balgowrie
Considered to be the oldest bridge in Scotland, legend has it that Bishop Henry Cheyne started work on the Brig o’Balgowrie towards the end of the 13th Century and that Robert the Bruce completed it.
The bridge we see today, which spans the River Don near Old Aberdeen and Seaton Park, was built in the early 17th century. It was built with the city’s famous silvery grey granite.
Clyde Arc Bridge
The bridge, which opened in 2006, is one of 21 that cross the River Clyde in the Glasgow area.
It has an impressive metal arch and connects the SEC campus on the north bank, including the impressive SSE Hydro Arena, to the media village on the south bank.
Unusually the bridge spans the River Clyde at an angle giving the crossing its nickname of “The Squinty Bridge”.
The Island of Seil is about 10 miles south of Oban and is known for its beautiful scenery and rich history. Visitors must cross the steeply humped Clachan Bridge, known locally as “The bridge over the Atlantic,” to reach this picturesque island.
What gave this historic bridge such an unusual name? This bridge spans Clachan Sound, which leads into the Atlantic Ocean. Engineer Robert Mylne built it in 1792 on the plans of local architect John Stevenson.
The historic Tigh a Truish inn is the first building reached after crossing the bridge from the mainland. The name derives from the period immediately following the 1745 Jacobite uprising, when the wearing of tartan and the kilt was prohibited. Travelers from the islands to the mainland would stop at the inn to change from their traditional highland attire into trousers.
This lovely seven-arched bridge spans the River Tweed, connecting Scotland and England. Prior to the completion of the bridge in 1767, the only way to cross the river was by ford. Coldstream was founded because it was the first suitable crossing point on the river north of Berwick.
Coldstream residents witnessed the armies of Scotland and England march across the border to meet in battle over the centuries.
One infamous crossing occurred in 1513, when King James IV’s Scottish army marched to meet the English forces commanded by the Earl of Surrey at nearby Flodden Field. By the end of the Battle of Flodden, 10,000 Scots had died, including the King and the majority of his nobles.
Because of its proximity to the English border, Coldstream became a popular destination for eloping couples who would secretly marry in the tollhouse just across the bridge in Scotland.
Forth Rail Bridge
This magnificent structure is so important that UNESCO has designated it as a World Heritage Site. It is one of Scotland’s most recognizable landmarks, carrying the railway line from Edinburgh into the Kingdom of Fife across the Firth of Forth. Every day, approximately 200 trains cross the bridge, carrying approximately 3 million passengers.
When was the Forth Rail Bridge constructed?
The North British Railway built the Forth Bridge, as it is officially known, and it opened on March 4, 1890.
The herculean task of “painting the Forth Bridge,” traditionally painted red, has become a popular cliché for a never-ending task. New painting techniques mean that the most recent coat will last at least 25 years, putting an end to the tradition of constant painting.
There are now three bridges spanning three centuries that cross the Firth of Forth. The Forth Rail Bridge, built in 1890, was joined in 1964 by the Forth Road Bridge and the Queensferry Crossing.
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is a remarkable structure that spans 1,000 feet (305 meters) and is instantly recognisable due to its numerous TV and film appearances. There are 21 arches, the tallest of which is 100 feet (30. 5 meters).
What is the location of the Harry Potter Bridge?
The Glenfinnan Viaduct connects Fort William and Mallaig on the scenic West Highland railway line. The viaduct is located at the mouth of Loch Shiel, overlooking the evocative Glenfinnan Monument.
The Jacobite Steam Train, which played the part of the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films, operates a twice-daily service carrying passengers on the journey of a lifetime.
If you’d like to experience this World-famous trip for yourself check out our very special one-day tours from Edinburgh and Inverness featuring a journey on the Jacobite Steam Train.
The elegant Kylesku Bridge is a major landmark along the well-known North Coast 500 tourist route. It connects Scourie and Inchnadamph by crossing the deep-sea entrance to Loch a’ Chairn Bhaine.
The bridge’s architecture is so significant that Historic Environment Scotland has designated it as Category A.
The bridge was legally renamed into Gaelic in 2019, the first such change in Scotland. Drochaid a’ Chaolais Chumhaing is the Gaelic name for the bridge.
If you don’t speak Gaelic fluently, Kylesku Bridge can be used just as well.
Old Inverness Footbridge
The Grieg Street Bridge, as the crossing is officially known, was built in 1881 and provides a pedestrian route across the often-rising waters of the River Ness in central Inverness. The span is a whopping 61.3 meters.
This elegant suspension bridge is affectionately known as “The Bouncy Bridge” because it bounces up and down as pedestrians approach the middle point!
The views of Inverness Castle from the bridge are particularly appealing in the evening, when the castle is floodlit.
Packhorse Bridge Carrbridge
The original Carr Bridge, which spans the River Dulnain, was built in 1717 by a local stonemason called John Niccelstone. It was built to allow funeral parties access to Duthil Churchyard and quickly earned the nickname “The Coffin Bridge” among locals.
A “new” bridge was built in 1797, and it has since been replaced by a more modern structure.
For centuries, taking a ferry to the Isle of Skye was the only way to get there. The shortest crossing was from Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin, and despite the frequent service provided by large vessels, long queues were common during the summer months.
The construction of a new Skye bridge began in 1992. The crossing is built in two parts with the first section being from Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland to the little island of Eilean Ban, home to the famous naturalist Gavin Maxwell who wrote “Ring of Bright Water”.
The second section is a graceful single-span concrete arch bridge that spans the Kyle at a height of up to 35 meters.
When the bridge first opened in 1995, there was much controversy because an expensive toll was charged to cross the bridge in either direction. However, after significant local and national pressure, the charge was abolished in 2004 and the bridge is now toll-free.
Sligachan Bridge Isle of Skye
The picturesque Sligachan Bridge, set against the majestic Cuillin Mountains, has appeared in countless holiday photos.
It was built between 1810 and 1818 by the famous engineer Thomas Telford and spans the water that flows from the heart of the Cuillin mountains into Loch Sligachan via three arches.
Sligachan is a significant intersection where the main road to Portree meets the west coast route to Dunvegan and Bracadale. It was the site of regular cattle marts, and in 1830, the Sligachan Hotel was built here, and it has since served travellers and walkers.
The water that flows beneath the bridge is said to be endowed with the gift of eternal beauty. According to legend, dipping your face into water for seven seconds and letting it dry naturally will grant you eternal beauty.
Swilcan Bridge, St Andrews
Despite being the smallest bridge in our review, it packs a powerful punch. For centuries, the Swilcan Bridge has spanned the burn that runs through the first and eighth fairways of St Andrews’ famous Old Course.
It has witnessed 29 Open Championships as well as some of the most significant events in golf history.
Stirling Old Bridge
Stirling Old Bridge, built in the 1400s or 1500s, spans the River Forth and replaced several earlier timber bridges.
One of its predecessors was the site where William Wallace’s Scottish army defeated King Edward I’s forces in 1297. More information about this famous battle can be found in our most recent Stirling blog.
The bridge we see today had arched gates at each end, but they are thought to have been removed when the Governor of Stirling Castle, General Blackeney, ordered the south arch to be destroyed in order to delay Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army as they marched south during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.
It’s Time to Reserve Your Scottish Vacation with Scottish Tours!
Now is an excellent time to begin planning your next Scottish vacation. Consider the exciting adventures that these iconic bridges could lead to.
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By: Travel Pixy
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