9 Apr 2007

"Craigellachie Brig" a Strathspey by William Marshall

I was having a picnic beside the River Spey at the Craigellachie Bridge the other day (see previous Blog entry) when I noticed a strange plaque that hangs from the south side of the bridge. I found this entry in Wikipedia® about the Bridge and its Plaque.

Craigellachie Bridge is a cast iron arch bridge located in Speyside at Craigellachie which is near to the village of Aberlour. It was designed by the renowned civil engineer Thomas Telford and built from 1812–1814. The bridge has a single span of approximately 46 m and was revolutionary for its time, in that it used an extremely slender arch that was not possible using traditional masonry construction. The ironwork was cast at the Plas Kynaston iron foundry at Cefn Mawr, near Ruabon in Denbighshire by William Hazledine, who cast a number of Telford bridges.

At each end of the structure there are two 15 m high masonry mock-medieval towers, featuring arrow slits and miniature crenellated battlements. The road to the north of the bridge takes a sharp right-angled turn to avoid a rock face, making it unsuitable for modern vehicles. Despite this it carried foot and vehicle traffic across the River Spey until 1972, when it was replaced by a reinforced concrete bridge that carries the trunk road today. Telford's bridge remains in good condition, and is still open to pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge has been given Category A listed status by Historic Scotland.

There is another plaque at the midspan of the bridge. - see photos.

This bridge was the site of a parade upon the amalgamation of The Gordon Highlanders and The Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) in 1994. The plaque has been fitted to the bridge parapet to commemorate this. Another plaque at the south end of the bridge records the bridge's restoration in 1964.

READ ALL ABOUT IT! The Press & Journal wrote this on the 6th July 2007.

One of the north-east's most iconic structures will be designated as an international civil engineering landmark at a ceremony today.Civil engineers from Britain and the United States will gather at the historic Thomas Telford Bridge which spans the River Spey at Craigellachie to mark the occasion.A plaque will be unveiled on the bridge by members of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers in Telford's honour.The ceremony is part of a programme of events being held during the summer to coincide with the 250th anniversary of his birth.Opened in 1814, the 150ft-span bridge is the oldest surviving example of Telford's prefabricated lozenge-lattice cast-iron arch design.It was cast in sections at an ironworks in north Wales and transported by sea to Speymouth from where it was conveyed to the construction site by horse-drawn wagon.The bridge continued to carry traffic over the Spey until the early 1970s when a new road bridge was built just downstream.The picturesque structure attracts thousands of visitors every year and is one of Moray's most photographed landmarks.Telford was born in the Scottish Borders and went on to become one of the greatest civil engineers of his time. He was an eminent builder of roads, bridges, canals and harbours and among his most celebrated feats of engineering is the Caledonian Canal.In Moray alone he was responsible not only for the Craigellachie Bridge but also the original Spey Bridge at Fochabers, Burghead harbour, the Spynie Canal, Cullen pier and Tomintoul Church.Later this year it is planned to create a Thomas Telford Trail linking all of Telford's surviving construction projects in Moray.

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