For almost twenty years, this bridge has quite literally been a life-saver for people trying to cross the Alder Burn in spate conditions. The present structure replaces earlier log and wire suspension bridges, however these were built relatively close to water level and were most likely swept away by water pressure on an accumulation of branches and debris in heavy spate conditions. The ‘new’ bridge was built by Tim Winter and Alec Cunningham of Rannoch School, aided by senior boys and with air transport of materials by the Royal Air Force.
‘Rannoch School regularly used the Ben Alder area for Duke of Edinburgh Award and similar outdoor expeditions, so we had an interest in maintaining and supporting McCook’s Cottage and environs, and the fact that we’d had people swept away and almost drowned at the Alder crossing point concentrated our minds on doing something to replace the previous bridge, swept away in about 1985’.
‘Senior boys at Rannoch were free in the summer term (after their exams), so we had a supply of enthusiastic labour, we had funds to buy materials, all we lacked was helicopter transport to air-freight the stuff to the site. I approached the RAF through our usual channels, they were generally cooperative, but various technical and scheduling problems meant that we didn’t actually get started until October’.
‘Once under way, the photos show that the construction proceeded quite quickly, and the fact that it is still standing in 2006 must mean that the design and siting are about right for the job. The original design looked like a massive ‘A’ frame, the chopper pilot who delivered the materials persuaded me to fold the ‘A’ down to the inverted shape that you see in the photos’
‘I make a point of checking the structure and carrying out basic maintenance every couple of years, but people using the bridge do so at their own risk – gang warily’
Thanks to Ian Lees for the header image