The new Carnach Bridge was officially opened on 23 August 2019 by Camusrory Estate and representatives from the funding bodies. Knoydart’s lack of roads meant the guests had sailed in from Mallaig and Inverie to the Camusrory pier at the head of Loch Nevis, then walked up to the new bridge below the deserted settlement of Carnoch.
Nestled between Meall Buidhe and Sgurr Na Ciche in Knoydart, the new bridge crosses the River Carnach, and forms part of the Inverie to Glen Dessary Path, the main route for walkers into Knoydart from the south. It is part of the Cape Wrath Trail (Fort William to Cape Wrath).
Estate owner Rupert Soames thanked everyone for their help in building the bridge. In particular, he singled out estate staff Robert Cooper and David Edwards who had constructed the bridge onsite as well as ferried all materials from Mallaig. He said, “to erect a new bridge in such a remote location and to such a high specification (which will last a generation and longer!) is a triumph for all concerned.”
David Langworth, a ScotWays Director said, “with all the recent bad news about bridges being damaged by the floods, it is fantastic to be at the opening of a new bridge that replaces one that was washed away.”
The preceding bridge succumbed to the 2017 floods and left a river crossing that was dangerous or even impossible in flood conditions. The replacement bridge was designed by David Narro Associates, fabricated by NEWCo Ltd of Fort William with the support of the outdoor community including the Mountain Bothies Association, Scottish Mountaineering Trust, Mountaineering Scotland and ScotWays. Further financial support came from the Donald Bennet Memorial Fund, Rv & R H Simons Trust, Tim & Patricia Stapenhurst Charitable Trust and several private individuals.
Stuart Younie CEO of Mountaineering Scotland said “Mountaineering Scotland is delighted to have been able to support this project. It is great news for the outdoor community and will ensure an important access point is maintained for climbers and hillwalkers looking to experience one of Scotland’s wildest and most beautiful areas with its challenging and iconic mountains. Congratulations to everyone involved.”
In 1981, St Andrews University Mountaineering Club and the Corriemulzie Mountaineering Club constructed a suspension bridge at the same site over the River Carnach as a memorial to two Corriemulzie members who were killed in a climbing accident. The late Donald Bennet, past president of ScotWays, was heavily involved in the project as an engineer. In a nod to this history, the ceremonial ribbon cutting was carried out by Liz Bibby of the Corriemulzie Mountaineering Club, following which all present walked over the bridge admiring both it and its beautiful setting.