I’ve written before about the life and times of the Luibeg Bridge but have just had made available some great photos of its construction, destruction and reconstruction. (Pictures come courtesy of Alasdair Ewen, who sent them from his grandfather Bill Ewen‘s collection.)
The present Luibeg Bridge, at 014943, was built by the Cairngorm Club (with assistance from builders) in 1948 – but not in that position.
It was built more or less where the ford crosses today, perhaps a little downstream, at a traditional crossing site adjacent to a previous bridge formed of two tree trunks with a decking of planks, which had long since seen better days.
Having studied the burn in spate, the decision had been taken to raise it on stone piers so that the aluminium girders which formed the span were about two meters above normal water levels. However there are spates and there are spates, and in 1956 came a spate and a half. Bridge span, bridge piers and large portions of the banks were all washed away. You can see the piers still lying by the burnside.
It was a disaster, but redeemed by the fact the bridge was salvageable. Girders were retrieved from where they lay and a new crossing point was chosen 500 metres upriver, where a narrow gorge through the bedrock gave solid foundations and a good height above the water level which has now stood the test for over 60 years. A new deck was added last year and it looks good for a long while yet.