Bridge of Oich, designed by James Dredge (1794-1863), in the Scottish Highlands south of Fort Augustus in the Great Glen. It was photographed by Colin Price, who reports that he took the photograph from about 200 yards off the Great Glen Way, and that the bridge is also referred to as being at Aberchalder.

For all its modern appearance, the Bridge of Oich was completed in 1854, and the Scottish listing (Canmore) describes it in its Archeology Notes as an ancient scheduled monument. The listing text gives the following details: "A double cantilever chain suspension bridge of the Dredge type, with coursed bullfaced rubble battered pylons linked by round-headed pedimented arches. Wooden decked...." More information is to be found in Grace's Guide's entry on the bridge, as follows: "Span 47.4m. At the towers, the chains are made up of 12 wrought iron rods in parallel. The number of rods reduces progressively towards mid span, thereby economising on the use of wrought iron."

The design is unusual, and was invented by Dredge himself — although he was a brewer by profession, and the extent of his responsibility for the individual bridges made to his patent is unclear. Scotland's Historic Environment website, having explained that this bridge replaced an earlier stone one that had been swept away in a flood, calls it Dredge's "patented ‘taper principle’ design." This meant, according to Grace's Guide, that instead of being "suspended by more or less vertical rods, Dredge's bridges have tie rods which come off the chain (or the towers) at prescribed angles, becoming more acute towards the centre of the span. This induces some compression in the deck, in contrast with a suspension bridge, whose deck is freely suspended from the chains, with no end support from the towers." Dredge's bridges were not only more economical but quicker to construct than regular suspension bridges. According to Grace's Guide again, 36 or so were started; but only a few remain now. Bypassed in 1932, the Bridge of Oich was restored by Historic Scotland and reopened for pedestrians in 1997.

Photograph, as mentioned above, by Colin Price; commentary and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use the image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or to the Victorian Web in a print document. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]


"Bridge of Oich." Grace's Guide. Web. 14 June 2022.

"Bridge of Oich." Historic Environment, Scotland. Web. 14 June 2022.

"James Dredge." Grace's Guide. Web. 14 June 2022.

"Oich, Bridge of Oich." Canmore. Web. 14 June 2022.

Created 14 June 2022