A COMMUNITY development company based on Royal Deeside has unveiled ambitious plans to build a striking new footbridge to span the Dee at Braemar to allow walkers and climbers more direct access to the heart of the Cairngorms.
Braemar Community Ltd, originally formed in 2004 to spearhead the restoration of Braemar Castle, is planning to submit a planning application for the new crossing within the next few weeks. And a design proposal for the 92 yard suspension bridge has been prepared by London and Aberdeenshire based Moxon Architects.
A spokeswoman for Braemar Community said: “The bridge will link Braemar directly with access tracks which lead into the Cairngorms Mountains and some of the wildest areas of the Cairngorms National Park. It will also open up low level circular routes towards Mar Lodge to the west and the Keiloch to the east.
“The proposed designs is rooted in the family of Victorian footbridges that span the upper Dee, in particular the white painted bridges at Garbh Alt Sheil, Pollhollock and Cambus O’May. These structures represented the apex of late 19th Century lightweight bridge design and this proposal features an 85 metre long deck, suspended within a cable net ‘valley’ of inclined hangers. “
She added: “There has been a history of river crossings at Braemar, ranging from fords and ferries, to a temporary war time bridge and there has long been a desire on the part of the community and outdoor enthusiasts from further afield for a permanent fixed link across the Dee. This new crossing will serve the local community, providing additional walking, cycling and horse-riding routes and it is hoped it also will contribute to the local tourism economy by attracting extra visitors to Braemar.
“Initial discussions on the location and design of the bridge with the Cairngorm National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage, adjoining landowners and the local community have been overwhelmingly positive and Braemar Community Ltd will shortly submit a formal planning application for the bridge.”
Dave Evans of Braemar Community Ltd, said: “The creation of a bridge will make Braemar an alternative stopping place for those wishing to travel further into the Cairngorms. It will reduce car journeys to outlying car parks, particularly those at the Linn of Dee, Linn of Quoich and the Keiloch and will alleviate traffic on what can be congested roads during the peak season.”
Architect Ben Adie of Moxons explained: “We have created a slender silhouette for the bridge when viewed along the line of the river and a unique spatial experience for bridge users. The ‘raking V’ pylons at either end of the bridge define the geometry of the suspension net, marking the abutments of the bridge and signalling the structure as a gateway to the wilderness area.”