|Location Map ( geo)|
|Crossings related to the A837|
Strath Oykel forms a gash across the northern Highlands, providing a route for the A837 to cross from Invershin to Ledmore on the west coast. Along the way, it has to cross the river and this is done at Oykel Bridge. Not one but two bridges stand here, spanning the river in front of the Oykel Bridge Hotel, pretty much the only building in this tiny settlement.
The Old Bridge
Standing a little upstream from the new bridge, the old bridge is a single stone arch. In design it appears to be early 18th Century, still slightly humpbacked, but not as severe as they were in the mid 18th Century. It is single track, albeit with a line of grass up the middle from lack of use. It is still theoretically open to traffic, with no barriers, but it is not advisable to try! On the north bank the old road has been adapted as a forest road, with a new rough surface laid over the crumbling old tarmac.
The New Bridge
The new bridge appears to date from the 1930s, as it is similar in style to a number of other bridges built across the Highlands which bear 1930 datestones. It is a concrete arch, clad in stone which rises up to form the parapets. It is almost wide enough for two way traffic, although cars are wider than they were in the 1930s! There are no pavements as such, although with so little traffic it is not difficult for pedestrians to cross, especially if they use the old bridge! The parapets step out at each corner to form short approach walls.
Due to the difference in levels on either side of the river, the deck actually sits at a gradient, dropping from the north. The old bridge avoided this by crossing to a ledge, with the (steeper) gradient climbed on dry land.