In the years after the Second World War, a large part of Knoydart was a very private estate where walkers and climbers were not welcome. By the early 1970s, the estate had been sold and the whole outlook towards visitors to the area changed. In 1977, the Mountain Bothies Association re-built the byre at Sourlies at the head of Loch Nevis, with the co-operation of the estate contrasting sharply with the previous owner who had blown up the house nearby to deter poachers using it as a shelter. ScotWays helped finance the building of the bothy and it was opened by George Cheyne of the Society.
In 1981, St Andrews University MC and the Corriemulzie MC constructed a suspension bridge over the River Carnoch as a memorial to two of their members. The late Donald Bennet of the Society was heavily involved in the project as a civil engineer. This bridge began to deteriorate over time and efforts were made to get the Army to build a replacement bridge, but to no avail. The Estate Manager did a good job in replacing some of the planks and stays but the recent floods where the water level was over the deck caused severe damage to the structure and it was removed earlier this year as it was too dangerous to cross.
The Estate has commissioned a new girder bridge of two spans with a higher clearance than the previous bridge. The cost of this structure is £32,000 delivered to Mallaig and then there will be the cost of transport to the site and assembling the components there. Low water level will be required to rebuild the central pier and fair weather to transport the structure to site. Such weather can be rare in that part of Scotland! The Estate is seeking financial assistance from the outdoor community who value keeping such an important route open. It is the main route for walkers into Knoydart from the south and is now part of the Cape Wrath Trail.
At the recent Directors’ meeting, £5,000 was allocated from ScotWays’ funds to be paid on completion of the bridge, and we are delighted that the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, Mountaineering Scotland and the Mountain Bothies Association have also promised financial support. We are approaching other outdoor organisations to assist with funding. If any individual member would like more information or would wish to support this project, please contact David Dixon via firstname.lastname@example.org