Drochaid Inbhir Moireastan
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Transport Scotland • Highland|
When Thomas Telford built his road up the Great Glen at the beginning of the 19th Century, he was starting from scratch along the shores of Loch Ness. The only previous road through the Glen was General Wade's Road on the opposite side of the loch, now the B862 and B852. Wade had chosen the east shore to avoid so many river crossings, Telford chose the west shore to connect the communities.
Invermoriston Bridge was initially started in 1805, but it took eight years to complete, the delay caused by 'idle workers' and a 'languid and inattentive contractor'! It consists of two stone arches, straddling the two channels either side of a large rock 'island' in the middle of the channel. While the location and angle of the bridge may seem odd compare to the modern road layout, it must be remembered that shallow arch bridges were only proven later in the century, and that Telford always played it safe, looking for longevity rather than ease of use. He therefore chose to make use of the rocky outcrop in the middle of the river, to ease the crossing and provide it with extra strength in time of flood. It would also have been a lot easier to build!
Today, the bridge is sadly badly damaged. A plaque at the end of the bridge says that it has been vandalised, but it seems a little extreme to blame such a large amount of damage on vandals. Both spans of the bridge remain intact, and the bridge can still be crossed, but the deck at the eastern end has been robbed of stone, meaning that steps take you down almost onto the arch itself before climbing back onto the deck. It is possible that it was damaged when the new bridge was built.
The New Bridge
Opened in 1933, the new bridge is on a much more natural alignment for the main road through the Great Glen. It is a simple stone faced concrete single-span bridge, similar in design to Fort Augustus Bridge further south. When looking at the location, and the width of the river crossed, it is perhaps surprising that Telford was unable to span the river here too, so easing the bends on the approach to his bridge. However, 200 years ago, the river would have been much more powerful, before the upper glen was dammed for Hydro Electric generation.