Shiel Bridge (Kintail)
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Crossings related to the A87|
Uig-Harris Ferry • Uig - North Uist Ferry • Invergarry Bridge • Skye Bridge • Raasay Ferry • Glenelg - Kylerhea Ferry • Moriston Bridge • River Loyne Bridge • Clachan Duich Bridge • Eas-nan-Arm Bridge • Dornie Bridge • Sligachan Bridge • Mam Ratagan Pass • Allt a' Chaorainn Bhig Bridge • Malagan Bridge
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
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.
|Invergarry, Inverness (A887)|
|Kyle of Lochalsh, Uig|
|Glenelg, Glenelg - Kylerhea Ferry (Easter to October only)|