Connel Bridge

Connel Bridge

We are on the west coast of Scotland here, near the mouth of Loch Etive which is one of the sea lochs. It is a few miles north east of Oban.

How I would have loved to have seen it pre 1966 for then it was a railway bridge carrying a branch line to Ballachulish. Ancient locos from the old Caledonian Railway clanked along the line which opened, like the bridge, in 1903.

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My view of the bridge was in 2009. The bridge still stands and it looks like a railway bridge but now it carries road traffic.

When built, back in 1903, this bridge had the second longest clear span in Europe at around 500 feet. It was built on the cantilever principle.

Road traffic was able to cross the bridge from the day of opening, but at first vehicles were loaded on trailers to go across. People were allowed to drive their own vehicles over the bridge from 1912 – when trains weren’t using it.

It is still single file traffic, controlled by lights but without this bridge, the journey to the other side is enormous. A walk around Loch Etive from one side of the bridge to the other is a good 35 miles.

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The bridge, perhaps, is not pretty, but it is elegant. It has served the locals and tourists well for over 100 years.

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