Craighall, R. Ericht, Blairgowrie and Rattray, Tayside

 

Location N 56°37’03.26”

                 W 3°20’58.75”

 

Span      27.4m (90 feet)

Width    not known

Built 1886, removed c1950

 

Evidence that this was a Harper bridge: Definite

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Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections

This bridge was built in ‘about’ 1886, according to Louis Harper. The bridge is just below Craighall Castle over the River Ericht (NO174483) Here the River Ericht descends through a steep gorge incised into the old red sandstone conglomerate, the cliffs of which can be clearly seen in the photograph. Access to the bridge required us to follow a fishermen's path along the east bank upstream from a lower reach. Fortunately, the river was low or it might not have been possible.

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We first came upon several cable tensioners of familiar appearance, lying in the shallows of the river. Looking about, we saw that the wreckage of almost the entire bridge festooned the cliff of the left bank from its attachments above. We found a path leading to the footing above and there in the undergrowth we came across one of the pylons, complete with cables and tensioners still attached. This finding allowed us to study how the cables had passed through the timber pylons (and each other) to access the rear of the tension box. There being two boxes at this level on opposite sides of the pylon, the cables crossed and probably made contact in the innards of the pylon. The bridge had had a span of 90 feet (27.43 m).

 

The bridge gradually fell into disrepair, having been in use for about 60 years. The cables can still be seen on the west bank; they look as if they have been cut, leaving the bridge to fall and lie below the east bank attachments. 

 

This bridge gave us useful insights into how these early bridges were made, in particular the tension arrangement at the masthead and the way in which the hangars were applied to the main and platform cables. Information on the hangers was central to the restoration of the Newquay bridge in 2017. 

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