|Location Map ( geo)|
Garva Bridge is an integral part of the road across the Corrieyairack Pass, as it is the point where General Wade finally decided to cross the mighty River Spey. You can tell his fear of the river simply by looking at this humble stone bridge, with its massive stone cutwater butresses. The central pier, between the two arches, is also placed carefully on a rocky outcrop in the middle of the channel.
The bridge forms part of the military road network, connecting Fort Augustus in the west with Laggan, Ruthven and Dalwhinnie in the east. The river had to be crossed for the route that Wade had selected, and this seems to have been the best location for him.
Consisting of two spans in a style that could almost be described as 'typical Wade', this narrow stone arch bridge stretches for 180' across the River Spey. Each arch is a 45' span, with a very wide central cutwater sitting on the rocks in the river. Unlike the humpbacked style of Wade's single arch bridges that abound on his roads, Garva Bridge has a fairly level roadway between the two arches.
Despite the massive buttressing that Wade provided, the bridge has still struggled to stand the test of time, with iron straps on both arches which are believed to have first been installed in the 19th Century. Whilst the bridge is now universally known as Garva Bridge, it appears that Wade originally christened the structure St Georges Bridge. It is perhaps understandable while the name didn't stick, as the patron saint of England had no place in the heart of the Scottish Highlands amidst the turmoil of the Jacobite era!