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Bridge of Livet (Glenlivet)

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Bridge of Livet
Location Map ( geo)
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From:  Bridgend of Livet
To:  Glenlivet
Glen Livet
Highway Authority
Opening Date
C16th, 1835, 1980s?
On road(s)
Crossings related to the B9136

To many people, Glenlivet is simply a very pleasant type of Single Malt Whisky. However, there is a real place from which the Whisky takes its name, and that real place takes its name from the River Livet. As with any river, when a road reaches it it needs to be able to cross it, and in this instance there is not just one, but 3 standing bridges spanning the river. The oldest is a partially collapsed Packhorse Bridge, the newest a rather ordinary concrete span.

The Old Bridge of Livet

The central arch

The oldest surviving structure to cross the River Livet is a Packhorse Bridge, lying a few hundred metres upstream of the modern road bridge. It is easily accessible, with a small car park off the B9008, but the bridge is in a rather precarious condition so can no longer be crossed.

The bridge originally consisted of 3 stone arches, the central one crossing the main river channel and the others providing extra capacity in floods. Unfortunately, they were not quite sufficient and the arch on the southern bank was washed away in 1829. The surviving arch on the north bank appears to be a much flatter arch than the central arch, with all three being supported by natural outcrops of bedrock. Today, it is only the arches that survive. Any spandrels or parapets built up around the roadway have long since collapsed and disappeared. It is primarily for this reason that the bridge is considered dangerous to cross, as the arch structures have little support.

The bridge is believed to date back to the late 16th Century, despite its similarities with the structures of General Wade half a century later. It is suggested that it was constructed by the laird at Blairfindy Castle (near the Glenlivet Distillery), and the narrow roadway almost certainly rules it out as a military road bridge.

Downan Bridge

Looking across the Downan Bridge

Following the collapse of the Packhorse Bridge in 1829, a new bridge was needed to cross the River. Unusually, a new site was chosen, a little further downstream, and the new bridge duly completed in 1835, some 6 years later. Commonly known as the Bridge of Livet, it is correctly the Downan Bridge, to differentiate it from its predecessor.

The Bridge is a single stone arch across the river, in a style very commonly found across Scotland at the time, ie a level roadway and parapets rising over plain stonework. The most notable part of the bridge is that the parapets have been raised slightly at some point with metal railing type guardrails just a few inches high. The roadway is only single track, and while this was sufficient when it was constructed, traffic for the Glenlivet Distillery includes large articulated lorries, which must have caused problems at this little old bridge. As a result it is now retained for pedestrians.

The New Bridge

The new bridge

In order to relieve the problems of lorries on the old bridge, a new concrete structure now lies alongside, wide enough for a full S2 road which, with the close proximity of the junction, must be very helpful! The bridge consists of three spans, much as the original packhorse bridge did, the central span crossing the river and two side spans for flood water. The spans are separated by two large fin-shaped concrete piers, an unusual design which was presumably chosen to cope with the power of floodwater that can sweep down the Livet.

Today the bridge carries the B9136, but for how long is unclear as older maps show the B9136 crossing Drumin Bridge further downstream, and climbing the steep hill there.


Looking across the bridge to the junction

Immediately to the north of the two newer bridges across the Livet lies the junction of the B9136 with the B9008. This is a simple give-way T junction, albeit a wide one to cope with the lorries turning here.

Bridge of Livet (Glenlivet)
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Crossings of the River Spey & Tributaries
River SpeyGarva Bridge • Spey Dam Bridge • Laggan Bridge • Spey Bridge (Newtonmore) • Ruthven Bridge • Kincraig Bridge • Spey Bridge (Aviemore) • Boat of Garten Bridge • Broomhill Bridge • New Speybridge • Old Speybridge • Cromdale Bridge • Advie Bridge • Blacksboat Bridge • Carron Bridge (Speyside) • Craigellachie Bridge • Boat O'Brig • Fochabers Bridge
River FiddichBridge of Fiddich • Bridge of Poolinch • Bridge of Auchindoun • Bridgehaugh
Avon & LivetBridge of Avon (Ballindalloch) • Silver Bridge (Strathavon) • Bridge of Avon (Tomintoul) •  • Drumin Bridge • Bridge of Livet (Glenlivet) • Bridge of Livet (Tomnavoulin)
River DulnainDulnain Bridge • Carr Bridge • A9 Dulnain Bridge • Sluggan Bridge
Other Tributary CrossingsTromie Bridge • Feshie Bridge • Coylum Bridge • Nethy Bridge

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