Cambus o’ May, R. Dee, Aberdeenshire

 

Location N 57°03’57.0”

                 W 2°57’24.1”

 

Span      50m (164 feet)

Width    1.2m (4 feet)

Built 1905 (James Abernethy & Co)

 

Evidence that this was a Harper bridge: Partial, definite

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This iconic Deeside bridge was built in 1905. It was built by Abernethys of Aberdeen who were well known for their truss bridges for roads and railways.  However, this span required additional support and, rather than a mid-stream pier, support by suspension was decided upon.  Louis Harper was consulted as evidenced by the towers and particularly his finials. Abernethy also built the Polhollick suspension bridge thirteen years before but that was designed in house by David Abernethy (and didn’t have the same tower design or finials).

 

One complication was the railway track on left bank which required a bridge of approach. Following the railway closure in 1963, the bridge of approach was removed when the deck was replaced in the 1980s.  

original bridge.jpg

In January 2016 ‘Storm Frank’ led to unprecedented river levels. Near the bridge Cutaway Cottage was flooded to a height of 5 feet 6” in the living room.  The previous high was during the ‘Muckle Spate’ of 1829, when it was recorded that the same room was flooded to a height of 4 feet.  In 2016 it was reported that the river seemed to surge in waves that could be followed downstream by the helicopters of the emergency services. Trees and caravans floated down, colliding with the bridge and causing damage that led to its closure.

The bridge was repaired, repainted and opened for access once again in 2021.

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Cambus o May 2021.jpeg

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