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Malagan Bridge

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Malagan Bridge
Drochaid Mhalagain
Location Map ( geo)
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From:  Cluanie Inn
To:  Shiel Bridge
Glen Shiel
Highway Authority
Transport Scotland
Opening Date
Additional Information
Bridge Type:  Concrete Bridge
On road(s)

The bridge carrying the A87 across the Allt Mhalagain was built in 1967 to replace an earlier structure at the same place. No evidence of the older bridge survives, and with the road being a long straight down to the bridge it seems unlikely that the previous structure was off to one side.

The bridge is a single span concrete deck with stone parapets, and is in a style commonly used in the Highlands 30 years earlier. However, fortunately, a small plaque on the north parapet declares the opening date, and also explains that the bridge was funded by the Scottish Development Department.

Caulfeilds Military Road

The remains of the old bridge

Two and a half centuries ago, Major Caulfeild was building the first road through Glen Shiel, and he too had to cross the Allt Mhalagain. Unlike most of his other bridges, some evidence does survive of this one, some distance upstream from the modern A87.

What remains is the abutments on either side of the river, built up from the dropping riverbank, and the stonework is then stepped down suggesting that it was designed to take a stone arch. The abutment on the west bank simply sprouts from the ground, but on the east bank there is a large bracken covered bulge in the grass, which suggests a short causeway to reach higher, firmer ground.

Immediately downstream of the old bridge, the river once fanned out, with several braided channels, thus explaining Caulfeilds choice of crossing point. However, at some point a wall has been built alongside the current channel to force the water to remain in one place. It seems most likely that this is related to Telford's bridge across the river, roughly where the present bridge stands. By the time the old stream bed reaches the road it is of considerable width, and would have required a number of bridges to cross. By forcing the river into one channel only one bridge was needed!

Malagan Bridge
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