|Location Map ( geo)|
The River Morar is reputedly the shortest river in Scotland, possibly the British Isles. More of it is a tidal estuary than a fresh water river, and yet there are 4 bridge sites along it. In addition to the Railway Viaduct, the A830 and B8008 road bridges, there is also the remains of an even older road bridge.
The old bridge that now carries the B8008 into Morar would appear to have been reconstructed at some point, and itself is a replacement for an earlier structure a little further downstream. The bridge we see today is carried by modern steel girders, possibly installed in 1994 when the new bridge opened, carrying a steel deck with metal barrier parapets. The girders are supported by two concrete piers set in the river bed, which appear to date back maybe as early as the 1930s. There is also a steel pedestrian walkway cantilevered out on the western side.
It is easy to see why the road was diverted away from this old bridge when the Morar Bypass was built, as it is a narrow structure, with sharp bends at either end, the northern one threading its way through an arch of the railway viaduct as it goes. There is still a large tarmac area at this end signed for large vehicles to manouvere.
A little downstream from the old bridge is a stone pier set on the south bank of the river. Hidden in undergrowth on the northern bank, it is possible to identify a ledge above the river which bears all the hallmarks of once having been a road. From what little remains it would be difficult to identify a date more accurate than 'probably 19th Century'!
The New Bridge
In 1994, the Morar bypass was opened to take the trunk A830 away from the narrow road through the village. As the old bridge is also narrow and twisty, while the new bridge carries the wide road in a straight line across the River Morar.
As the road now crosses the river below high tide level, it is a much longer bridge that has been constructed, taking four lengthy spans to cross the river and beaches either side. The three pairs of piers sit in the river, carrying the concrete deck across at a height which allows boats to pass underneath and reach the tidal pool between the two bridges.