Friends of Craigellachie Bridge
Opened in 1815 the Craigellachie Bridge is the oldest surviving cast iron bridge in Scotland. Designed by Thomas Telford, one of the most famous engineers of his time, it has mock-medieval towers that flank the bridge on either side.
The Craigellachie Bridge is best experienced by walking over and around it. Walk over the bridge and wonder how on earth buses and lorries managed to maneuver round the tight bend on the north side. The original Thomas Telford Craigellachie Bridge was still being used by everyday traffic until the modern Craigellachie Bridge was built in 1972.
When should you come and see the bridge? At anytime of the year, as the Craigellachie Bridge is surrounded by beautiful Speyside countryside. Come in spring to see the spring bulbs and hawthorn out in bloom surrounding the bridge; come in summer and you will see all the shades of green around it; come in autumn and have your breath taken away with the stunning autumnal display of red, yellow, orange and brown trees and shrubs; come in winter when we have snow and admire the dramatic architectural structure of the Bridge.
The Craigellachie Bridge is owned by the Moray Council. However a group of local people with a passion and interest in the Craigellachie Bridge formed The Friends of Craigellachie Bridge in 2015 to celebrate the Craigellachie Bridge’s bi-centenary. The group became a Scottish Registered Charity in April 2016 with the charitable objectives of promoting and stimulating the general knowledge of the Craigellachie Bridge and its surrounding area, along with providing information about the history, culture and heritage of the Bridge.
The Craigellachie Bridge is one of only a few engineering projects in Scotland that has been recognised as a landmark of importance by both the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Civil Engineers – it is right up there with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
This historically significant Bridge sits in a dramatic environmental setting and is one of the finest and most innovative of more than a thousand bridges designed and erected under the direction of internationally renowned Thomas Telford. It was a masterpiece of practical design based on a unique combination of intuition and experience which made the most of cast iron’s tensile strength limitations and harnessed its compressive strength and longevity – before the development of “strength of materials” structural analysis and improved materials. It’s unique “spider’s web” delicacy-with-strength was achieved by distributing loadings throughout the whole framework through the use of elegant lozenge-lattice spandrels.
The Craigellachie Bridge has been well used as a logo; on artwork on products and even on a postage stamp. The Craigellachie Primary School and Speyside High School have the Bridge as a logo on their school uniforms.
The bridge is featured in the artwork and logos of Spey Valley Brewery who brewed an 1814 lager in commemoration of the bridge.
The Craigellachie Bridge was commemorated on a stamp in 2015 and large samples of the postage stamp can be seen on the rear of the local village post office delivery vans.
The bridge inspired a popular Strathspey written by William Marshall in 1814.
It was also 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. A plaque has been fitted to the bridge parapet to commemorate this.
The Craigellachie Bridge also provides a magnificent and romantic backdrop for wedding photographs. Indeed the Bridge itself has also been used by several brides over the years, as their preferred location to make their vows.
If you are interested in the Craigellachie Bridge and would like to support the work of the Friends of Craigellachie Bridge, then why not consider becoming a Member of the Friends of Craigellachie Bridge. Membership Certificates costs £10. The Friends group have a facebook page and are working to setup a website soon.
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