|Location Map ( geo)|
|Crossings related to the B976|
|Ballater Bridge • Gairnshiel Bridge|
Crathie Bridge, also known as Balmoral Bridge, carries the B976 across the River Dee from Crathie Church to the entrance to Balmoral. It is therefore a very important bridge, for the Royal Family at least!
Whilst several hundred miles from his normal 'Great Western' stamping ground, this bridge was designed by IK Brunel. He appears to have got the job due to the high esteem with which Prince Albert held him regarding his grand engineering projects. Whilst Brunel was undoubtedly happy to put his name to a Royal project, the little bridge at Crathie is nevertheless somewhat smaller than the projects Brunel is normally associated with!
Having brought the Balmoral Estate in 1848, Albert and Victoria set about improving the estate, not least by moving the main Deeside Road to the north bank of the river - requiring a new bridge at Invercauld - and providing a proper carriage bridge at Crathie to replace the relatively new, but 'shaky' Suspension Bridge which had been built a little downstream in 1834.
Brunel wasted no time in getting the designs completed, and the bridge would have been opened in 1855 had it not been for delays with the construction of the Stone abutments. It appears that the Royal Family may have been slightly dismayed with the functional design once completed, perhaps hoping for something more flamboyant, although Albert had authorised the plans before construction commenced!
The bridge itself is a single span metal truss bridge, with a series of riveted, pierced girders forming the two trusses, and parapets and the slightly curved deck running between. The roadway is single carriageway, without a pavement, or indeed any priority signage. The single span allows for the river to flow unimpeded when in spate, and contrasts with the contemporary 5-arch stone bridge built at Invercauld.