Fort Augustus Bridge
The first bridge across the River Oich at Fort Augustus was built in 1746, after the defeat of the Jacobites. The fort of Fort Augustus, and indeed the Military Road through the Great Glen had all been built in the 1720s following the first Jacobite Rebellion. However, after the second rebellion, it was decided that a new programme of road building should be undertaken, and the bridge at Fort Augustus was one of the first results.
A Stone Bridge
The old Bridge was a 3 arch Stone bridge, probably built with a plan or pattern that had previously been drawn up for a different site, but suited the River Oich, as it was built in a great hurry. Today, just the western arch remains standing, but this exhibits the severity of the solid design, no ornamentation as seen on other bridges, just a mass of solid masonry dumped in the river to carry a road across.
Washed Away and Rebuilt
In 1849, there was a 'great flood' in the Great Glen, which washed away the old bridge at Bridge of Oich further upstream, and also severely damaged the Bridge here at Fort Augustus. Two of the three arches collapsed, and suddenly a major thoroughfare through the glen was broken.
Fortunately, during the construction of the canal (which has seen the old Military Road from the fort rerouted), Thomas Telford had trained up various local men in the arts of Engineering. One of them was Joseph Mitchell of Fort Augustus. He therefore petitioned parliament to provide some money for the immediate reconstruction of the bridge, and using his engineering skills he designed a 'temporary' timber Trestle bridge to fill the gap, whilst awaiting further money to be raised for the proper repair. The new bridge was built in 1849-50, and 160 years later, that trestle is still standing. It consists of three 'arches' rather than the original two, with two intermediate legs in the river.
Today, the bridge is a dangerous structure, in sever danger of collapse, but a local group are desperately trying to raise the funds to repair the bridge, and retain this historic example of a trestle bridge - one of the biggest and finest in the British Isles (if repaired!)
A Modern Bridge
During the early 1930s, huge amounts of money were spent on upgrading the A82 from Glasgow to Inverness. As a result, the road through Fort Augustus was realigned, to avoid the awkward bends put in in the 1810s when the Canal was dug. This involved a new bridge across the River Oich, aligned with the canal bridge, and the bridge opened in 1934.
The Bridge is a stone faced Concrete structure, similar to those built further north at Drumnadrochit and Invermoriston. There is one main central span, with smaller spans on either side, all crossing the river.
|Fort Augustus Bridge|