|Location Map ( geo)|
|1783, 1809, 1834, 1885|
Ballater Bridge (also known as Royal Bridge or the Queen's Bridge) crosses the River Dee on the B971 (shown on many maps as a spur of the B976) in Ballater. The town of Ballater dates to the late 18th century, as a result of the popularity of the Pannanich Wells east of the river, whose waters were taken as a spa cure. Ballater was created to provide accommodation to visitors, and a bridge was required to allow them to cross to the wells.
There appear to have been three previous bridges in the area. The first was built in 1783, 100 m east, but it was destroyed by a flood in 1799. Thomas Telford made the next attempt, completed in 1809 as part of his commission on Highland Roads and Bridges, but it lasted until 1829 when it too was swept away. A wooden bridge by Telford's successor, Joseph Mitchell followed, opening in 1834 and lasting until its replacement by the current bridge.
The present bridge, by Jenkins and Marr, has four arches faced in granite. It was opened in 1885 by Queen Victoria. While the arches are all the same width, the two side arches appear to be shallower, allowing for a slightly humped profile to the road way. This is reflected in the parapets, although they are stepped rather than curved as is more normal. The centre pier is flanked by semi-circular pilasters rising up to support square refuges which are corbelled out. These are not repeated over the other two piers, which again is unusual.
The nearby Polhollick footbridge provides an alternative crossing for pedestrians over a suspension bridge by James Abernethy and Co to the west; it was built in 1892 and reopened in 2015 after renovations.