Scotland’s Oldest Bridges.

A map-based catalogue of the oldest masonry bridges in Scotland. 

C - Alphabetical List

C.Perth  R.Ardle  313985,751404

History: A bridge is present on Roy's map which means it certainly existed prior to Caulfield's military road (1749) between Coupar and Fort George.  However, it is not the present structure. There are overgrown ruined abutments 30m upstream on both banks, next to the hotel and in the garden of the post office, respectively. Taylor had noted these (Military Roads of Scotland.)  In 1743 repairs were made to this original bridge. In 1749 the Bridge of Cally was replaced by Caulfeild, in the first section of the road. On the same road, the bridges weren't finished until 1766 (Bridge of Couttie) and more major military work was done in 1813 on the Bridge of Cally section. OSAs identify both Couttie and Cally.  The present bridge probably dates from the early 19th century.
Currently:  Large semicircular single arch on stilts. Cramping. Fully flat-decked. Largely coursed squared rubble spandrels and surface. The abutments of the previous bridge are completely overgrown and do not photograph well.

Photo Photo.

C.Inverness  R.Nairn  280016,848056

History: Existed in 1641 (Date-stone.) Mentioned in Mcfarlane in 1726.  Rebuilt in 1764 by a local landowner. Major repairs in 1850. Closed to traffic in 2011 because of major deformation and outward leaning despite metal cramping in 1958 and 1989.
Currently: 18th century.   One segmental and one semicircular arch. Slightly humped. Cutwaters. Date-stone retained. Armorial panel. Voussoirs in well dressed rubble. Spandrels in random roughly dressed rubble. Facing voussoirs more recent than soffits. Steel tie bars and bracing.

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CARR BRIDGE Carrbridge
C.Inverness  R. Dalnain  290636,822927

History: ‘Funeral bridge’ or ‘coffin bridge’ built in 1717
’ to allow funeral-trains to get to the church.   It was known as Dalrachny Bridge when built.  In 1829 it was described as having wing walls and"plump and well conditioned body"   It is often described as the oldest bridge in the Highlands.  This may be the case but only by a short interval.    It is a very picturesque and iconic tourist attraction. 

Currently:1717.   Only the single naked semicircular rubble arch remained after the 1829 floods and has stood ever since.   Voussoirs are non-aligned to arch focus as is typical for early 18th century.  7ft wide. Remnants of abutments are in undressed random rubble. Often described as a packhorse bridge but is not strictly so. 

Link photo photo.

C.Stirling  R.Carron   274116,683501

History:1695 date-stone (see photo) but is older than that. There was at least one bridge over the Carron in the 15th century (Bailey) and both Denny and Carron bridges are on Pont's map. Substantial rebuild in 1690 estimated which cost 1000 merks. Monies raised by legacies and donations (Harrison). In Roy's time, the road from the valley crossed at the bridge before descending into Denny on the south bank of the river. This road is now no more than a track.  It was a bigger river without the dam hence the redundant flood arch. Repairs in the 1720s by Comm. of Supply.
Maps:1750(Roy) 1600(Pont)  1640 (Blaeu)
Currently: a very old bridge with different stages of repair. Partly late 17th century.
Two stilted segmental arches of different size. Arch barrel seems more recent with five orders of tiny dressed voussoirs in brick, not stone.  Spandrels and coping in rough but sometimes squared un-coursed rubble. Two orders of voussoir on the small flood arch. The lower one might be a more recent support structure. Modern buttresses on each side, perhaps of the same vintage as the arch repairs. Unusually, the bridge deck is steeply inclined. It is about 11 ft. wide. There are huge triangular cutwaters.

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Stirlingshire .   Bonny water    279060,678916

History: MacFarlane (1720s) describes "a bridge at Castlecary Mill: One arch."  It was bypassed 50 yards upstream in the 19th century. The old Glasgow/Falkirk road used to go through the Mill-farm on Roy's map. The current farmer of Castlecary Mill Farm claims this and it seems to be confirmed by the detail of the old map. The little bridge spans a very fast flowing burn, prone to flooding.  

Maps:1750(Roy). Not on Adair, Blaeu or Pont. 

Currently: Small single segmental arch in well dressed rubble. Span about 15 ft. Width 8ft. Cobbling visible on the flattish decking. Spandrels in well-dressed squared coursed stonework. Slight squinches to permit splayed widening. An 18th century bridge would have been built in random rubble. This bridge appears to be the original: probably 17th century; it is certainly absent from the very oldest maps. 

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C.Renfrewshire  Whitecart Water   258532,660136

History: 'Snuff Mill Bridge’.  Snuff mills harnessed the flow of water to grind tobacco into snuff. There were more than twenty in Scotland, mainly from 1710 onwards, as the tobacco trade boomed. This was originally a meal bridge in the 17th and 18th centuries. A datestone of 1624 is preserved. It became a snuff mill in 1814. Originally a semicircular arch (see photo- sketch). Rebuilt in the 18th century using the original stone. Closed to traffic in 1924.

Maps: Roy(1750) Pont 33(1600)

Currently:  Coursed squared rubble, possibly ashlar: certainly very well dressed. Segmental arch. Dressed voussoirs. Additional flood arch.

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C.Midlothian  R.North Esk  321963,658975

History: Also known as Roman bridge. Built 1738 by 2nd Baronet Clerk at Newbiggin House, an early 17th century mansion which he had owned since 1654. John Baxter was the estate mason bridge builder. A new 'Penicuik House' was built on the Newbbiggin footprint in 1761.

Currently:  The majestic avenue leading from the house to the bridge continues beyond it, on the other bank and then appears to peter out, going nowhere.  On the near bank the road is implausibly steep.  On Roy, the main approach to Newbiggin was from the Northeast, not from the bridge.  This is a very beautiful early 18th century estate bridge, impressively restored in 2014. Unusually decorative in style , for its time. Almost semicircular humped arched with 4 additional pseudo flood arches in the nature of Georgian follies: too high to be useful as flood arches. Two of these semicircular oculae are fashioned into small chambers. Very well dressed voussoirs, possibly ashlar. Uncoursed squared and dressed rubble spandrels and approaches. Unusual ornamental resetting of the arch within the spandrels. 9-10 ft wide between parapets.

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C.Fife. Ceres Burn. 340015,711429

History: This little 17th century bridge is on the south-west side of the town.  Roy's map shows the Bishop's road approaching Ceres from the south-west, via Kennoway on the today's Fife Pilgrim Way.  The bridge was so called because, in 1689, Bishop James Sharp of St.Andrews was murdered by Covenanters at some location nearby  as a reprisal for his severe treatment of Presbyterians. However, the Blaeu map (1600) appears only to show a bridge on the north side of the town kirk, and structurally,  this latter is almost certainly the older.    Adair's map shows both bridges, one north of the town and one in the south-west, so both bridges are pre-1680. Tom Robertson ( has revealed, from his research, that Bishop Sharp spent the night prior to the attack at Kennoway,  and that he was on his way to St.Andrews.  So,  it seems that although this is the younger of the two bridges, it is certainly the one linked to the bishop. The old bridge north of the town was not on his route.    

Maps: Roy(1750) Adair (1680s) .  Not on Blaeu. 

Currently: A small very beautiful,  humped,  random rubble bridge. The recessed ashlar arches are in such good condition that one might conclude there had been a very substantial restructuring at some stage. Yet the voussoirs are slightly chamfered suggesting antiquity.  Only 6 ft wide. 27 ft span.  Hood mould. Cobbled decking. Splayed approaches. This could be called a category 1 Hinchcliffe packhorse bridge although its location in a 13th century village suggests it was simply the town bridge. It is so narrow and humped that one has to wonder how the bishop's carriage got over!  

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C.Fife.  Ceres Burn.  339662,711788

History: This bridge was  on the north side of the town on the very old maps as well as on Roy. It is just wide enough to take two lanes of modern traffic.  On Roy's map it is on the route to Coupar.  It is the older of the Ceres Burn crossings and the only one on the 1600 map.  

Maps:Blaeu(1640) Adair(1680) Roy(1750) 

Currently: The arch is in dentilated ashlar suggesting a restructuring in the early nineteenth century but the same decoration is on both faces.   The substance of the stonework, however, is random rubble on the western face, suggesting an eighteenth-century or earlier rebuild and there is also a very old looking hood-mould.  There is no hood mould on the eastern face.  The real discovery, however,  is on the soffit,  where there are two additional widenings clearly showing three parallel arches. (photo 3).   As the bridge is on Blaeu's map we can reasonable presume that the middle one is from the 16th century. This section is a little over 3m wide.  There have been two much later expansions at different periods. In a 19th century expansion, it appears that the facing voussoirs have been remodelled to match each other. 

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C.Moray  Haughs Burn.  341515,850953 

History: This little bridge seems to be unknown. Certainly unrecorded. No available information.  Yet it is firmly on Gordon's 1636 map and known by locals as "Charlies Bridge".  It seems that in the 1746 skirmish in the run-up to the battle of Culloden, the bridge was crossed by Prince Charlie.  This is not the case, although the skirmish certainly took place in Keith and 90 prisoners were taken by the Highlanders.

Maps: The bridge is absent from Roy and from Blaeu- but is exactly in the correct spot for Gordon's map.  Today, it is labelled "Bridgend" on the OS.

Currently: Appears to be the original. A small packhorse bridge, over a very small burn, completely overgrown with ivy. About 6ft wide and 18ft long.  Semicircular arch in rubble and un-coursed random rubble spandrels and abutments. 

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C.Stirling  Bannock Burn  279232,690233

History: This bridge was reputedly first built in 1696: probably a mill bridge and may have been over the mill lade which is adjacent. The present bridge has a plaque which states "This bridge was rebuilt by the justice of the peace 1747" So clearlly statute labour, around the time of Roy's survey. The bridge was bypassed in the 1960’s, immediately upstream.
Currently: 18th century single segmental arch with well faced random rubble spandrels and rubble voussoirs. Solid coping to parapets. No string. The abutment revetments are interesting.They appear to be in weathered ashlar and possibly a remnant from an earlier 17th century structure(photo). A few yards to the north is a culvert over the mill lade which still exists.

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C. Renfrewshire  Roebank Burn   235741,655457

History: According to Crawford and Semple, this bridge was built about 1715. Firmly on Roy, on the original abandoned road out of Beith going north towards Paisley, approximately 50 yards west of the present crossing. Remnants of the original road can be seen in the undergrowth. Late 19th century OS shows the old road was still in use.
Currently: Extremely overgrown and dangerous high bridge over a deep chasm. Access at water level almost impossible. Single semicircular arch with dressed rubble voussoirs. Spandrels in coursed squared well dressed and squared rubble on the western facing. This looks like a 19th century widening. Rough undressed random rubble on much of the the east side which may be original. Access to the soffit was not possible, so the widening could not be confirmed. Unusual flood arch arrangement which also appears more 19th century. The bridge is now completely lost and overgrown, yet intact. It is surprisingly wide even for a 19th century reconstruction. There are masonry road blocks across the access which date from WWII.


C.Nairn  R.Nairn  282426,850216

History:1755 military bridge. Major Caulfeild. Coupar to Fort George. This road was built while Roy's survey was being conducted but it does appear on the map so this bridge had a predecessor.  Roy describes it as 'Nairn Bridge’.   The bridge has the shape and style of a Caulfield military bridge but may have been substantially rebuilt in the 19th century.  

Maps: 1750(Roy).
Currently: An 18th century bridge with 19th century improvements. One segmental arch plus one smaller flood arch. Spandrels in squared coursed rubble but radiating out from the voussoirs giving a beautiful pattern. This is most unusual and almost certainly not an original feature.  The voussoirs are of different lengths; as such, the arch itself is integral to the spandrels, though the the voussoirs are of better dressed stone at the arris. This may be part of an extensive repair on both faces which does not match the soffits. No string course. Buttressing and cutwaters.

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S.Lanarkshire  R.Clyde   294128,626697

History: This bridge lies on an old Roman road coming down from Edinburgh, through Biggar, towards Carlisle. It replaced an ancient ford, known as Ramwellcraigs, and was a packhorse route carrying lead from Leadhills towards Edinburgh.The proximity of Cold Chapel identifies the location in the Parliamentary papers. The plans in 1661 came to fruition in 1683 following a petition to Parliament because of a great deal of loss of life: "lamentable loses and dangers at the ford"

A Commission of Supply directive in 1707 sanctioned suitable toll charges.   Maps:1750(Roy)<br/>

Currently: Three flat recessed segmental arches of varying size. Large cutwaters. There is an inscribed date of 1768. The style of the bridge is certainly late 18th century Comm. of Suppy which implies  a further rebuild. The modern A702 now bypasses it, adjacent and to the north.   



C. Lanark  R.Clyde  286871,643911

History: This is the oldest surviving bridge over the River Clyde on the ancient Glasgow to Carlisle road.  A ford was mentioned 1461. HenryVI crossed it, fleeing north. Ferry boat established in 1491 by Royal Charter with a well paid ferryman with hereditary rights. The present structure was the first bridge. Planned from 1649 because of heavy loss of life through spates in the river (Parliamentary records). The bridge was not completed until 1699. Master of works was John Lockart. It cost 16000 Merks (1375 pounds English). Tolls were imposed: two pence per pedestrian. The accounts still exist. The river is fast flowing here and floodwaters have occasionally been close to the crown of the bridge. It is extremely well built.
Currently:1699. Three large semicircular arches without ribs. Three islands, immediately upstream, channel the water by a stream to each arch. Four m. wide. Random un-coursed rubble spandrels. Slim ashlar voussoirs. Triangular refuges at each pier. More recent parapets in squared coursed rubble.

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C.Forfar  R.South Esk  339557,759775

History: This may be the home bridge of the adjacent 14th century Cortachy Castle which belonged to the Ogilvie Airlie family. Mentioned by MacFarlane in 1744.
Currently: Dated 1759; this was probably a restructuring.
Single arch. Almost semicircular. Wide red sandstone voussoirs. Squared coursed rubble spandrels and abutments. 13 ft wide. Iron tie-rods and mattress plates.  Plain without a string course but spandrels from different build. Difficult to see any widening but this would be probable. Fully flat-decked.

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C. Lanarkshire  R. Avon   271209,643212

History: Very little history available for this 18th century bridge. It was certainly on Roy's map and then on the old turnpike from Strathavon to Muirkirk ( OSA). Massive floods on the Avon in 1771 may have led to a rebuild but there is no confirmation of this, although two more upstream bridges were wiped out at the time. It was bypassed 100m upstream in 1938. The bridge is now at risk of collapse and in the absence of any support from historical authorities, the longtime resident of the adjacent cottage, William Brown, has been valiantly attempting to stem the tide by attending to essential maintenance. He admits, himself, that is a losing battle. This is a fast flowing river with serious flooding issues at this spot.  


Currently: Although the crude undressed random rubble masonry of the walls and spandrels might suggest this was the bridge on Roy's map (1750), the very well dressed voussoirs suggest a later date, albeit that the arch is not not recessed. The width of 16 ft, parapet to parapet, almost certainly suggests a later date. Possibly 1770s. There is certainly no evidence of parallel widening. No string course. Simple cutwaters, both upstream and downstream. Two slightly raised wide segmental arches of about 35 ft. Pier looks robust which may help with durability. Slightly humped. Parapets in serious decay. There is an interesting revetment (photo 4) on the northern downstream bank which may be a remnant of a previous structure.

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C. Lothian  R. Almond  317951,675463

History: Built in1488. Two arches collapsed in 1587. Parliament reported ‘..the brig of Crawmond quill now and hes bene this lang time failing downing na passage hed or may be he’d thairby’. It possibly remained 'down' until 1617 when there was a complete rebuild except for the remaining western arch of original design. Even the piers and cutwaters were refashioned. Further repairs in 1687 by Robert Mylne master mason to the Crown. Also repaired in 1761 1775 and 1854. Walter Scott recounts a story that James V was attacked by brigands while crossing the bridge, incognito and without entourage. A local man intervened and saw off the robbers. Unaware it was the King he then welcomed him into his home, for a while, to clean up and recover. He was suitably rewarded in due course. There followed a tradition of Royal hand washing, on the bridge, attributed to James V but subsequently honoured by George IV.
Maps:1750(Roy) 1680s(Adair) Oddly not on Blaeu.
Currently: A 15th century old yellow sandstone ashlar and squared coursed rubble bridge with un-coursed random rubble approaches. Flat decking. Three stilted pointed arches of around 35 foot span. The eastern one appears almost segmental. The western arch is the oldest and has four huge ribs and a counter-course ring of chamfered voussoirs added to by the first chamfered rib. The two eastern 17th century arches have larger un-chamfered voussoirs in a single course. The central arch has the smallest span which is odd. Cutwaters are of varying shape which is also strange. The bridge is 13 ft wide from parapet to parapet. Strong string course rises up at crown of the arches. Very well maintained with recent pointing.

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C.Aberdeen  R.Crathie Burn  326024,795276

Very clearly on Roy but certainly not linked to the later military road. Probably a remnant of the Old Deeside Road. Currently: Tiny isolated segmental arch which is the central remains of a wider structure. Most of the rest of the bridge has disappeared. The abutment revetment (photo) defines its previous dimensions. Voussoirs only with a turf deck.

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C.Argyll   R.Add    194721,699731

The most remote of Roy's bridges, today. An ancient long distance drove road ran from Kilmartin, through the hills between Aweside and Loch Fyne, aiming for Inverary. Well mapped on the OS. Well documented by Haldane. Cattle were herded from Kintyre as well as from Islay and Jura. Some came from Mull. They were on their way to markets in Crieff and Falkirk. The road is well outlined on Roy's road network from 1750. This bridge has recently become less remote because of the new Forestry Road to Loch Awe. 

Maps: 1750(Roy)

Currently: 18th century. A very substantial rubble bridge with a single stilted segmental arch. Humped. Random un-coursed rubble. Hardly dressed. Long whinstone voussoirs of irregular length. Pitch dressed rounded coping stones. Slight squinch on the upstream side. Splayed. 12 ft between parapets. 25 foot span. Remarkably like a Major Caulfield Bridge though this seems improbable. No military provenance.  The drove road itself is very clear on the landscape, both inside and outside the forest. 

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C.Aberdeen  R.Cullen Burn  350601,866233

History: Cullen House dates from 1602. The main estate bridge leading as a viaduct into the main drive was built to a design by William Adam in 1744.
Maps: Features prominently on Roy (1750)
Currently: 18th century. Enormous granite single span bridge in squared very well dressed blocked in rubble spandrels and abutments. Marked well dressed string course in ashlar. Remarkably wide voussoirs, also in rubble: about 3 ft wide. Huge semicircular arch. Parapets are a little more recent. Interlocking coping stones. Elaborate design to buttresses which are more like pilasters. This bridge, like the Adam creation at Aberfeldy, is completely atypical for the period.

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C. Midlothian  Leith Water  318275,667743

History: New Stat. Accts., .1845 ' Bridge said to be 500 years old ‘ but this has not been substantiated.  It was on the main road to Lanark from Glasgow. First recorded in 1666: the Covenanter Battle of Rullion Green. Rebuilt in 1896 and widened on the downstream side.
Maps:1750(Roy) 1680s(Adair) 1640(Blaeu)Pont(1600)
Currently:  The eastern downstream side is 19th century with a stilted segmental recessed arch in ashlar and a solid hood-mould. Squared rubble spandrels now brought to course. More recent parapets with coursing and string course. Iron ties (photos 1 and 2). The western upstream side appears original (probably 17th century) but in such good condition that the dressed rubble arch may have been taken down and then restored. Rubble voussoirs and no hood-mould. No chamfering which is significant for dating. Random rubble spandrels are pitch-faced but not squared and only partially coursed with some residual sagging which has now been strengthened. There is no string course on the upstream side (photos 3 and 4)

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Page last updated Oct.2020