Drochaid Inbhir Garadh
|Location Map ( geo)|
The first road to be built through Invergarry, as opposed to rough tracks and paths, was that built through the Great Glen in the early years of the 19th Century by Thomas Telford. The road was built as one of the first in his program due to its strategic importance in the construction of the parallel Caledonian Canal. There was an earlier road, built on the opposite shore of Loch Oich and later to become the short-lived B8040, that had been buily by General Wade in the 1720s, but Telford chose a new route which passed through the settlements, and could connect with his proposed roads west via Invergarry.
The road obviously needed to cross the River Garry (since reduced in flow by Hydro Electric works), and so a site was sought. With the laird of Invergarry Castle being a major investor (and problem-causer) for both the road and canal, it evidently became essential to plot a route that he would approve. This may explain the rather curious positioning of the bridge in relation to the roads.
The Old Bridge
The old bridge is fairly typical of Telford's structures, being a single stone arch across a comparatively narrow point of the river. It is probable that Telford saw this narrow channel as the ideal site for his bridge, rather than building two or three spans across a wider point. The road then had to reach the bridge, without disturbing the Castle grounds. This would explain the fact that the old road appears to follow the modern route as far as the new bridge, and then turn along the southern bank of the river to the old bridge. This old road can be seen in the map to the right. This bridge is category C(S) listed.
The New Bridge
The new, category B listed, bridge still spans the river next to the A82 / A87 junction, it's just that that junction has moved about half a mile further west with the relocation of the bridge. Unlike most of its neighbours on the A82, the current bridge across the River Garry bears no date. It's structure is also unique, which suggests that it may not date from the 1930-35 period when the other bridges were constructed.
The other bridges built on the road in the early 1930s all have a smooth full-width arch on the inside, the internal structure hidden. However, Invergarry Bridge consists of four visible concrete arch ribs - the two outer sides and two intermediate ones - spanning the river and carrying the road deck. On either side, there are also cattle-creep arches allowing riverbank paths under the road, although only the northern path is accessible to the public.
Whilst the actual arch is decorated to resemble keystones of a traditional stone arch, the walls above are clearly prefabricated concrete panels, and as a result the parapets look very insubstantial as you walk across the bridge - but then as nothing appears to have hit them yet this is not a problem!
Immediately to the north of the bridge lies the junction of the A82 and A87. Indeed, it is the start point of the A87 as it heads west to Kintail and then across to the Isle of Skye. The junction is a simple give-way T Junction, with the A82 turning a tight 90 degree bend but maintaining priority. The junction obviously only dates from the mid-1930s when the new bridge was built. Prior to that, the junction lay a short distance to the east, in the same relative position to the old bridge.
|Inbhir Nis / Inverness, Fort Augustus|
|An Gearasdan / Fort William, Spean Bridge|
|Caol Loch Aillse / Kyle of Lochalsh, Isle of Skye|