|Location Map ( geo)|
Carrbridge is a historically important crossing point of the River Dulnain on what would eventually become the A9. The route probably dates back to medieval times, when Cattle Drovers herded livestock south from Sutherland and Caithness to the markets of the Central Belt. The precise location of the original ford is not certain, but believed to be a little further downstream to the current bridges.
The 18th Century Bridge
Perhaps it is surprising that the primary reason given for the erection of the bridge is that burials at the nearby church of Duthill were often delayed when the river was in spate. It was up to one of the local lairds, however, to commission the bridge from a mason of Ballindalloch. It was built over the summer of 1717, between May and November, and survived over a hundred years before the fatal damage occurred.
The original bridge was a packhorse bridge, steeply arched and narrow - the surviving arch is roughly 6 foot across - with low parapets. During the eighteenth century, the river flooded several times, causing minor damage, but in 1829 the parapets were destroyed, and some of the other masonry damaged. The bridge was still used, however, without being repaired.
There must have been at least one intervening structure spanning the River Dulnain in Carrbridge, as the current structure dates only from the second half of the 20th Century. It seems probable that the Victorians would have constructed a new bridge, especially considering the grandeur of the neighbouring Hotel, but the bridge may have been built even earlier.
However, what is known is that in the late 1920s a new bridge was built here across the River Dulnain to the design of Owen Williams, who built a number of concrete bridges along the route of the A9 at the time. Sadly this bridge has since been demolished and replaced with the very ordinary structure we see today.
The modern structure which carries the B9153 - the former A9 - is a single span Concrete deck, perhaps as far removed aesthetically from its forebear, which stills stands defiantly only 100m or so to the west.