A bridge and some fences

Plans for a footbridge across the River Dee below Braemar have come to the fore again.
A design for the bridge has been unveiled and a formal planning application is expected to be submitted very soon.
The bridge – if given the go-ahead – will be the only crossing between the Invercauld Bridge east of Braemar and the bridge at Mar Lodge, and would make a slight short-cut for those heading up Gleann Slugain, avoiding the car parking at Keiloch and the walk in past Invercauld House.
The design has been released by Moxon Architects with Flint & Neill structural engineers for Braemar Community Ltd.

It’s a new take on the Victorian suspension bridges seen in the area, but the 85m bridge will have a distinctly modern look and will be capable of taking horses as well as foot travellers.
In a typical piece of PR gobbledygook, Moxon state that the new bridge will be suspended within a cable net ‘valley’ of inclined hangers which will provide a unique spatial experience and imbue a high degree of transparency when viewed in elevation.
They go further, to say: “The ‘raking V’ pylons at either end of the bridge define the geometry of the suspension net, marking the abutments of the bridge and signalling the structure as a gateway to the wilderness area.”
Flannel aside, however, the new bridge – should it be successful – will be a welcome addition to the established routes into the Cairngorms, not least to the village of Braemar itself. I’ve never liked the walk in past Invercauld when going up Slugain – far too much like slinking past the laird’s hoose – and have even been known to go over the top of Carn a Drochaide to get to a certain wee doss.
For more information ab9out the bridge click here. The location is described in a pdf here.


Deer fences: goodbye and hello

Carn a Mhaim seen behind gate posts which are all that remain of the deer fence

Look. No fence! Only the gate posts remain in this shot, nicely framing Carn a Mhaim.

For anyone who hasn’t been in to the Mar Lodge Estate for a while, I should perhaps also have noted in the latter part of last year that the area has been considerably improved by the removal of many deer fences.
At the Luibeg ford and bridge area, all up Glen Derry, and between the Linn of Dee car park and the Black Bridge, long-standing deer fences have all been removed.

Deer fence removed from woods south of the Black Bridge, Cairngorms

Unfettered. The woods south of the Black Bridge, no longer behind a fence.

The removal – a huge improvement – has been made possible by the removal of deer from the equation. I do hope that, once a new generation of trees has established itself there will be an equilibrium sought so that an appropriate number of deer can be allowed to re-establish themselves: they are, after all, as much a part of the highlands as the trees.
However it’s not all good news. It seems the NTS has caved in to constant pressure from neighbouring overstocked estates who claim ‘their’ deer are being ‘sucked in’ to Mar Lodge Estate. Instead of toughing it out, it seems the estate has capitulated to the extent of erecting a massive deer fence which, if it doesn’t go all around the estate, is at least of considerable length. You have to go through it as you cross the boardwalk just out of the Linn of Dee car park, and you can see it stretching all along the southern flank of Feith na Sgor above Glen Dee.

New fence around Mar Lodge Esttae, Cairngorms

The new fence. Since this photo was taken a gate has been put across the boardwalk.

It’s a shame to see this happen, but I like to think it’s two steps forward and one back rather than the other way round.

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9 Responses to A bridge and some fences

  1. I’ve forded the Dee a few times by Braemar Castle to get in to Glen Slugain more quickly. It’s a nice approach and I remember one particular time when a beautiful salmon jumped out of the water right next to me. The new bridge looks like a good idea and will bring some great new paths easier to access.

    • I remember an old friend, now sadly passed on, who told me similar tales of fording the Dee below Braemar, allegedly once with her rucksack balanced on her head because of the depth of the water. Allegedly. 🙂

  2. ian shand says:

    I myself , have forded the dee a few times over the years , near Braemar castle ….in low water times of course !…keep up the good work Neil .

  3. Jim Ford says:

    Thanks for the interesting report.

    I know what you mean about “slinking past the laird’s hoose” – I usually do it with gritted teeth, but the advantage of the existing route (for me) is the car park at Keiloch.

    On the subject of bridges, is there any news about a replacement for the bridge at Carnachuin on the Feshie? It always amused me that you only saw the warning about how dangerous the old bridge was, _after_ you crossed it, if taking the trail upstream.

    Regarding the “certain wee doss”: A few years back I took a 360 degree panorama of the interior. If you’re interested Adam, I can send it to you for inclusion on this excellent site. I also did one of the interior of Faindouran.


    • Hi Jim,
      Don’t know about the Feshie bridge. It was supposed to happen last year but there was some hold-up – maybe to do with planning? Last I heard it was still supposed to happen, but no idea about timescale.
      Re the 360 degree of the Howff, I could certainly find a space for it on here – the pic I have of the inside is one of the most clicked on photos in the whole site.

  4. Hugh Spencer says:

    We always crossed the Dee for the Slugain in the sixties but not of course in the winter when we hoofed it from the Invercauld gates in the dark using the drive up past the House. Then we found the Deer Fence accross the Dee not far upriver from the summer wading point. You tiptoed past someones house to reach them and inched accross sometimes with your feet nearly in the water – as your weight pushed the bottom of the fence gates under the water. One very wet and windy Sunday night the fence was floating almost level such was the water height. As I crossed a gust caught the fence and I was tossed up into the air and luckily landed back on the fence and not in the racing floodwater. We were a bit more hazard aware after that. I think the fence is still there.

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