|Location Map ( geo)|
|Highland • Transport Scotland|
|1785, 1951, 1979|
There are three bridges over the River Laroch, all within the village of Ballachulish, and all have carried the A82 and/or A828 over the years. The oldest bridge is the Brig O'Laroch itself, dating back to 1785 when a Drove Road was constructed from the narrows of Loch Leven through Glencoe to the Devils Staircase. For nearly 200 years this was the only bridge on the river, until in 1951 the increase in traffic to the ferry saw a new bridge built on the recently constructed Albert Road through the village. Then, finally, following the opening of the Ballachulish Bridge in 1975, the village was bypassed with the third bridge.
The old Brig O'Laroch
The original bridge is a narrow, single track stone arch dating from 1785, constructed as part of the Drove Road through Glencoe which is recorded as having been built completed 1786. It is very similar in style to the Brig O'Coe in Glencoe which was presumably built at the same time to carry the same Drove Road. While the bulk of the structure is built of stone, the arch itself appears to be end-on slate (waste?) from the quarry in the village.
The location chosen for the bridge caused the road to loop right into the village, climbing a dozen or so metres in the process. While this may seem odd today, it probably reflects the location of an older bridge, or ford across the river as the road was already a major route before it was reconstructed, with houses on both sides of the river accommodating quarrymen. In addition, the land nearer Loch Leven is still boggy and occasionally liable to flooding. The river also drops quite quickly below the bridge, so keeping the road higher up the contours until it met the river made sense.
In 1922 when the roads were first classified, this little bridge became part of the A82. However, with much of the route being reconstructed, and the new roads around Loch Leven to Kinlochleven (now B863), the A82 was re-routed around the loch, and the A828 extended to meet the A82 at Glencoe Crossroads. Either way, the road through the village was the main route to the Ballachulish Ferry.
The footbridge alongside the bridge is a much more recent addition, added in the 1970s to remove pedestrians from the still busy bridge.
Albert Road Bridge
The new bridge on Albert Road was built in 1951, adjacent to the railway bridge over the river, but was never on the route of the A82 as the road was the A828 at the time. Albert Road seems to follow the route of a path across the village, with a bridge over the river that was extant in the 1900s One inch OS mapping. However, by the 1920s the railway line ran nearly parallel, so the path may have sneaked over the railway bridge to cross the river. A few cottages, relating to the railway, existed, but the road was not properly developed until the late 1930s when the block of council housing including Park Road was started. Construction was interrupted by the war, and not completed until the mid 1950s, so the bridge seems to be contemporary.
The bridge itself is a fairly standard concrete deck between stone parapets, as seen all across the West Highlands.
The Bypass Bridge
The bridge on Albert Road was the main crossing for a mere 20-30 years before it too was superceded in c1979 when the Ballachulish Bypass was opened, and a new bridge constructed. This is another concrete deck bridge, and for obvious reasons is the widest span and widest deck of all of the bridges over the Laroch. As with the Albert Road Bridge it carries an S2 road, with pavements on both sides.