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Shiel Bridge (Kintail)

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Shiel Bridge
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (3)
From:  Glen Shiel
To:  Loch Duich
Highway Authority
Transport Scotland
Opening Date
1815, 1967
Additional Information
Engineer:  Thomas Telford
On road(s)
Crossings related to the A87
This article is about the bridge across the River Shiel on the A87 in Kintail.
For the bridge across the River Shiel on the A861 near Acharacle, see Shiel Bridge (Acharacle)

Shiel Bridge is the tiny settlement where the River Shiel, A87 and old military road from Fort Augustus all meet the sea in the form of Loch Duich. As with so many Highland bridge points, the old bridge still stands, but is bypassed by a modern structure.

The New Bridge

The New Shiel Bridge

While Telford's structures are still standing, and serving their original purpose of carrying traffic, neither were particularly wide, and so when the A87 was upgraded through Glen Shiel, the decision was taken to construct a new bridge a little way upstream from the old structures, and crossing the River Shiel before it met the Allt Undalain.

The new bridge seems to have been one of the earliest parts of the works at the western end of the route, as it was built in 1967. It is a three span concrete structure, with the piers stood on the edge of the normal river channel, the extra width allowing for flood conditions.

The Old Bridge

The old bridge across the River Shiel is still used by the road over the Mam Ratagan pass to Glenelg. It was built by Thomas Telford in 1815, along with the causeway approach from the south and the neighbouring bridge over the Allt Undalain. It was all part of Telford's road from Invermoriston to Kyle of Lochalsh, now the route of the A887 and A87.

The bridge itself is a single stone arch across the river, albeit a wide and high arch, constructed with dressed stone. The neighbouring bridge is almost just a small scale copy of the Shiel Bridge. Before the bridge was built, the old military road would have passed along the southern bank of the river, before climbing over the Mam Ratagan to Glenelg Barracks. Traffic headed for Lochalsh would probably have had to seek out a boat for the onward journey.


The junction between the A87 and the road to Glenelg lies immediately to the north of Telford's bridge across the River Shiel. It is a simple Give way T junction without any turning lanes, although there is a bus stop opposite, which allows traffic to manouvere past right turning traffic if necessary. The old junction, prior to the opening of the new Shiel Bridge, was at the southern end of Telford's Bridge, where the A87 had to turn sharply to cross the bridge, the straight on route being the military road to Glenelg. This old road is still a popular route for tourists, as it climbs over the Mam Ratagan Pass and gives access to the Glenelg - Kylerhea Ferry which crosses to Skye in the summer months.


Route To Notes


Invergarry, Inverness (A887)


Kyle of Lochalsh, Uig

Mam Ratagan Pass

Glenelg, Glenelg - Kylerhea Ferry (Easter to October only)

Shiel Bridge (Kintail)
Related Pictures
View gallery (3)
Junctions on the A87
Invergarry Bridge  • Bunloyne Junction  • Shiel Bridge  • Auchtertyre Junction  • Kyle of Lochalsh  • Kyleakin Roundabout  • Skulamus Junction  • Broadford Junction  • Sligachan Hotel  • Portree  • Borve Junction  • Uig

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