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