Old Packhorse Bridge

Well, I missed yet another week, I seem to be way too busy with other things at the moment, and these distractions are not good for creating things. I have something today, though, a charcoal drawing … or are they called paintings, I don’t even know. I used a reference photo which I had taken on 26 September 2012. The idea was to force myself to work a bit rougher than I do with graphite pencils, and I believe this attempt didn’t turn out too bad, what do you think? I will definitely do a few more of those, it can only get better.

The subject is the old packhorse bridge in Carrbridge, a place we pass on our frequent trips back into civilisation, and it never fails to catch my eye.

The bridge, one of the oldest stone built bridges in the Scottish Highlands, was commissioned in 1717 by Clan Chief Brigadier-General Sir Alexander Grant of Grant and built by mason John Niccelsone from Ballindalloch. This single span hump back rubble bridge was constructed to take foot and horse traffic over the river Dulnain, and specifically to allow funerals to take place at the Church of Duthil, which, before then, were often delayed due to the river carrying too much water to permit a safe crossing. This would explain the other names it was known by locally, the Coffin Bridge or the Funeral Bridge.

At the time it cost £100 to build, which I imagine was a fair bit of money in those days, and was paid for from stipends of the local Parish of Duthil. Construction of the seven foot wide (between parapets) bridge took about six months. Major floods in the 18th and then again in the early 19th century washed away the side walls, parapets and the surface, leaving the structure as it stands today. It can be viewed from a viewing platform or the nearby B9153.

Apparently it used to provide a great venue for local youngsters to cool down on warmer days, as they jumped from the bridge into the river below. I am not sure if this is still going on today as, sadly, the B-listed structure is now considered unstable.

Packhorse Bridge, Carrbridge, Charcoal

The Old Packhorse Bridge, Carrbridge – Charcoal on A3 cartridge paper.

For those who are interested, these sites provide further reading:

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/15453/details/carrbridge+old+bridge/

http://her.highland.gov.uk/SingleResult.aspx?uid=%27MHG4627%27

http://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=3267

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrbridge

http://www.carrbridge.com/index.php/History/bridges.html

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3 thoughts on “Old Packhorse Bridge

  1. That’s wonderful Sonja! I really enjoyed the history too. I would have liked to have driven that route myself on my recent trip but we were chasing the sun which was always forecast to be better, unusually I’d imagine, on the west coast. That really dicatated where we headed each day. I had lots of alternates planned, the Cairngorms will have to wait ’til next time! 🙂

    • Thanks, Adrian. I’m sure the Cairngorms will still be there when you decide to pay them a visit, it’s not as if they could up sticks and go some place else 😉
      We have had some glorious weather these last few weeks, sadly it is on the turn now. It is quite unusual to have the better weather on the West Coast, so you did right to make use of it. It is a beautiful part of the country, although I have to say, I am happy where I am, on the North East Coast of Scotland 🙂

      • I’ll bet Sonja! To my shame, I stayed in Stirling for nearly 10 years as an undergraduate and postgraduate student, absolutely loved it but rarely ventured further north than the Trossachs. That said, funds were tight and it wasn’t an easy trip to make by bus, certainly not in a day although I did go to Fort William several times. I fully intend to make up for it now though. I’ll certainly be back again this year, probably in the autumn. So, so very beautiful!

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