Scotland’s Oldest Bridges.
A map-based catalogue of the oldest masonry bridges in Scotland.
S - Alphabetical List
SEAN SPITTAL BRIDGE Glenshee
C.Perth R.Clunie 314883,780008
History:1749 military. Caulfeild. Coupar to Fort George road
Currently: Original bridge, 500m upstream of the present bridge on the remnants of the military road. Identified by Taylor.
Currently:Very small simple segmental arch with squared rubble masonry with very little mortar. No parapets.
photo photo photo.
SHENNANTON BRIDGE Kirkcowan
C. Dum & Gall R. Bladnoch 234359,563234
History:Just NE of Kirkcowan there are three versions of Shennanton bridge due to serial bypasses. The earliest definitely preceded the 1760 military road and is present on Roy. Construction was not included in the 1763 reports. There is no bridge on on Blaeu despite the presence of "Schinen Town" The second bridge is 50 m downstream: a mid 19th century structure with two segmental arches. A third modern bridge is 200m yet further downstream.
Currently: The eastern arch of the old bridge collapsed in 2005 through neglect. The western arch remains very overgrown and without parapets. There is also a small flood arch on the west bank. Slim voussoirs seem intact and large-stone squared coursed rubble spandrels are very weathered and collapsing. .
Maps:Roy(1750) but not on Blaeu although the place name is there and Lincuan bridge is shown nearby at Kirkcowan.
Link photo photo photo.
SHIELS BRIDGE Ladybank
C.Fife R.Eden 328375,708568
Maps:1750 1680 1600 1640
History: Little to be found about its provenance but clearly a very ancient structure which firmly appears on all the maps.
Currently:18th century random rubble but well faced, and very well dressed rubble voussoirs with repairs in brick. Two segmental arches (one flood). It appears as if there was early 19th century widening and a substantial rebuild.
SHIRRABEG BRIDGE Corrieyairack Pass
C.Inverness Dry stream bedding 255647,793057
History: The military road built by Wade in 1730. Dalwhinnie to Fort Augustus. The road was repaired by Caulfeid (1760), who spent £16335 on bridges. This might be a Caulfield bridge.
Currently: Single segmental random well-dressed rubble haunched arch with rubble voussoirs. 12 ft wide p to p
SKIPPER BRIDGE Langholm
C.Dum&Gall R.Esk 337077,583392
History:This remarkable old bridge still carries the A7 to the south. Built in 1693; originally about 13ft wide. Macfarlane(1720s) records'a noble bridge of 3 arches. very large - about 44ft. ‘built about 26years ago'. Widened on the north face to 20ft in 1806 (not by Thomas Telford although he was Langholm's most famous son.) Further restructured in 1926.
Currently:South facing remains 17th/18thC. Two very tall stilted 44ft segmental spans and a further semicircular flood arch. Masonry vary variable. On the south face the spandrels are in un-faced random rubble mixed with squared and stugged stonework and gallets. It looks tired and hard work to maintain. The voussoirs are rubble and irregular. There is a beautiful stepped corbelling decorative string course. The parapets are from 1806 on both sides and are in un-coursed but faced random rubble. The widening can be seen on the north side. (photo) Tall triangular cutwaters. No refuges. Recessed 19th century. ashlar voussoirs on the north face and no corbelled string.
Link Link photo photo photo.
SLUGGAN BRIDGE nr Carrbridge
C. Inverness R.Dalnain 286989,822008
History: This spectacular structure is not the original. Wade's military bridge of 1730 was a two arched structure on the Dunkeld to Inverness road. It had clearly collapsed at an early stage as the present single arched bridge has many Caulfeild characteristics, suggesting a 1740s build. Roy's map shows a very light depiction. Perhaps it was 'down' at the time. The road north was realigned by Telford in 1809, and the bridge was bypassed. Then, in the 1829 floods, it was swept away. So impressive had it been, that the early Victorians carefully restored it to its former glory, despite the absence of utility.
Currently: Enormous humped, single 65 ft segmental arch with whinstone voussoirs of irregular length. The 45 ft rise of the arch is only a little short of the crown. Parapets almost absent. Spandrels in scarcely dressed random rubble. Peculiar stepped joins of the spandrels on either side of the arch may suggest that the original ramps were preserved from the two-arched Wade bridge. It is probable that these would have also survived the 1829 disaster.
photo photo photo.
SNUFF MILL BRIDGE see CATHCART
OLD BRIDGE OF SORN nr Mauchline
C. Ayr R. Ayr 254970,626730
History:Built by Rev Steel.1736-1751 because one of his parishioners drowned at the ford on way to a service. Church is adjacent. Not to be confused with New Brig of Sorn 1871 about one km. upstream
Currently: A beautiful original 18th century two semicircular arched bridge in grey sandstone with cutwaters. Dressed stone recessed arches and un-coursed squared rubble spandrels. Splayed approaches. 9ft wide.p to p.
Link photo photo.
SPEAN BRIDGE see HIGH BRIDGE OF SPEAN
OLD SPEY BRIDGE Granton on Spey
C.Inverness R.Spey 303977,826333
History: Roy's survey was a year before this bridge was built but there seems to be some sort of crossing (perhaps a ford or ferry)on his map. Caulfeild's road from Coupar to Fort George was completed to this point in 1754. This military bridge was part of it. The smallest arch fell in the 1829 floods. Bypassed in the 1930s by a concrete bridge upstream.
Currently: Three span lop sided bridge with the largest segmental arch (80ft) at one end. Very high spandrels in squared coursed rubble with iron cramping rails. Cutwaters rising (a long way) to refuges. Parapets in random rubble. Voussoirs are wide and in rubble and whinstone. Date-stone attributes the build to Col Charles Hay of the 33rd.
Link photo photo.
SPITTAL OF GLENSHEE BRIDGE Glenshee
C.Perth R.Shee 310903,770108
History:1749 military. Caulfield. Coupar to Fort George road which took 6 years to build. This was on an early part of the construction work.
Currently: Classic Caulfeild single hump backed sometimes squared mainly random rubble bridge Single segmental arch with radially aligned voussoirs in whinstone.
STEPENDS BRIDGE Kilmacolm
C. Renfrewshire Green Water
History: named as Drayhill Bridge on Roy. Mentioned Crawford and Semple 1775.
Currently:This is an 18th century bridge. Probable later 18th. Wide single segmental arch in well dressed rubble with semi-squared dressed rubble spandrels. No string course.
Maps:1750(Roy) 1640(Blaeu) 1600(Pont)
Currently: probably late 16th century.
STOW BRIDGE Lauder
C. Midlothian Gala Water 345837,644394
History:1654.Recorded as a packhorse bridge, perhaps because of the low parapets. However, Hinchcliffe might disagree, particularly because of the width. In fact it may be a rather late 'collection' bridge, as it was built by the kirk session of adjacent St. Mary's Church, which itself dates from the 15th century, and has a long history of serial building, dating back to the 13th century. The bridge may have been used subsequently, by pack trains, as it lies on the ancient road north from Gala to Edinburgh.
Maps:1750(Roy). Not on Blaeu. Roy's map shows three separate roads at Stow, going North to South. The bridge was on an interconnection route.
Currently: Ruinous, three segmental arched, humped, undressed random rubble bridge, which is part of a causeway. Ten feet wide, parapet to parapet (packhorse bridges are expected to be 6ft wide or less). It has beautiful wide arches with rubble voussoirs. The main span is 47ft. There is buttressing on the north facade and small triangular cutwaters, both upstream and downstream. The approaches on the lesser arches have collapsed away on the north aspect. There are odd squinch-like features at the outer ends of the spandrels (photo). Parapets are very low, but this may not be an original feature. A modern lime concrete structure now supports the primary flood arch, which is unfortunate.
Link photo photo photo photo.
STUCHENVULLIG BRIDGE Loch Lomondside
C.Dunbarton Small unnamed burn 232653,702839
History:1745 Military. Caulfeild. Dunbarton to Inverary.
Currently: small semicircular random un-coursed rubble bridge on old road a little to the east on the shore.
Page last updated Oct.2020