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Little Garve, Bridge

Footbridge (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Little Garve, Bridge

Classification Footbridge (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Little Garve Bridge ; Little Blackwater; Strath Garve; Black Water

Canmore ID 12271

Site Number NH36SE 5

NGR NH 39640 62880

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Contin
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NH36SE 5 39640 62880


OS 1:10,000 map, 1989.

See also NH36SE 18.

This bridge carries the line of the military road MR 17 (NH36SE 18) over the Black Water, to the E of Little Garve.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 4 May 2005.

Architecture Notes

Historic Scotland List Description


Circa 1762. Long humped back bridge, large single arch ring

with smaller secondary arch at west approach; rubble, squared

rubble dressings to arches. Coped parapet rising to point

over centre of main arch, coping composed of combination of

horizontal and vertical slabs. Curved and splayed approach at



Scheduled monument. Part of military road from Contin to

Poolewe constructed circa 1762, probably by Major Caulfield [Caulfeild]

(succeeding) General Wade. Shored up at NW with 2 old

telegraph poles. Now bipasses by A835 road.


J.B. Salmond, WADE IN SCOTLAND (1934) p. 296-8. National

Monuments Record of Scotland.

Building de-listed, though scheduled 2007.

Information from Historic Scotland 2007.


Construction (1760 - 1769)

Probably built 1760s.

R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Photographic Survey (July 2007 - April 2008)

NH 3964 6288 Following a desk-based assessment and site visit in July 2007 further visits were undertaken in order to make a photographic record of progress during the two phases of the renovation works, with this season’s work covering the final phase in the early spring of 2008. A geo-referenced plan and digital plot of the camera locations was also completed.

This stone bridge, scheduled monument no. 2720, located to the E of Little Garve, was built in c1762 under the supervision of Major Caulfield in order to carry the Contin to Poolewe military road (RCAHMS MR 17) across the river. Constructed from rubble (cobbles and boulders), including squared-off dressings at the arches, it is a long humpback bridge and has a large single arch ring (the eastern flood arch) with a secondary arch at the western end. A coped parapet made up of both horizontal and vertical slabs rises to a point over the apex of the eastern flood arch. The eastern approach is curved and splayed.

It is believed locally that the northern elevations, at the W end of the bridge, were shored up by the Newfoundland Timber Corps working in the area in the 1940s. A reference of 1934 says it was even then shored up at the NW end by two old telegraph poles. These appeared to be still in place in 2007. In 1987, the poor condition of the bridge led to its being closed to traffic. The bridge was further damaged during the winter of 2005–6, when a small section of the bridge collapsed. The first photographs taken, at the end of July 2007, show trees growing from the stonework and the timber shoring on the NW side in a severely rotted state.

In February 2008 steeplejacks began repair and consolidation of those areas of the external elevations that

had not been accessible from the temporary scaffolding erected in the previous autumn. In March fresh turf was laid over a combination of geotextile and bentonite (Water Lines Solutions) at the junction of the internal roadway and parapets, both N and S sides. This treatment was applied primarily as waterproofing.

Completion of the works was recorded in April 2008. All of the designated areas of masonry and mortar scheduled for repair and consolidation have been completed to plan, including the clearing of vegetation and heavy cement mortar from the junctions of the long walls with the natural rock outcrops in the inner arch elevations. However, it was also noted that some voids remain on these elevations to allow water to be directed off of the upper bridge roadway. Here, it is presumed, sacrificial weathering and water flow damage will continue and the masonry and pointing of these inner arches will require continual monitoring.

Archive: Highland Archaeology Services Ltd

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

Cait McCullagh (Highland Archaeology Services Ltd), 2008

Publication Account (2007)

(Institute Civil Engineers Historic Engineering Works no. HEW 2542)

A rubble-masonry bridge, about 260 ft long, spanning the Black Water, probably built under Major W. Caulfeild’s direction in the 1760s as part of the Contin to Poolewe road (MR17). It is a fine example of a later military bridge. Loss of stone from the north-west wing wall is giving rise to concern about the bridge’s future. The main arch is segmental of 46 ft span and 16 ft rise with random narrow archstones 20–26 in. long. The bridge is 13 ft wide between parapets and attains a maximum height above the river of about 40 ft. There is a segmental flood arch of 24 ft span to the west of the main arch.

R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Highlands and Islands' with kind permission from Thomas Telford Publishers.

Field Visit (20 July 2012 - 30 August 2012)

A desk-based assessment and walkover survey were carried out 20 July – 30 August 2012 on 29 sites in the North Highland Forest District. The work was undertaken in order to update existing monument management plans with new detailed site descriptions, condition reports, fixed point photography and plans (RCAHMS Level 4) of 25 scheduled monuments and one unscheduled monument. Three additional scheduled monuments were surveyed in greater detail, (RCAHMS Level 1). Recommendations were also made for the conservation management of the sites. The sites visited and surveyed were:

NH 728 784 (SAM 4760) Provost’s Well homestead and enclosure

NC 688 348 (SAM 2513) Noc na h’Iolaire hut circles and clearance cairns

NC 557 027 (SAM 1784) Ruim Baile Fuir stone circle, cairns, hut circles and enclosure

NC 679 390 (SAM 1779) Lach an Righ stone circle

NC 600 149 (SAM 5401) Loch Beag na Fuaralachd prehistoric settlement

NC 623 139 (SAM 5084) Achadh nan Eun shieling

NC 597 149 (SAM 5081) Loch Beag na Fuaralachd cairn and shielings

ND 212 372 (SAM 573) Rumster Broch

NH 786 942 (SAM 5484) Glen Cottage long cairn

ND 205 374 (SAM 550) Golsary Broch

NC 602 146 (SAM 5159) Loch Beag na Fuaralachd shielings

NH 730 798 (SAM 4752) Carn Liath long cairn

NH 731 786 (SAM 4743) Provost’s Well hut circles and field system

NC 689 392 (SAM 2517) Meall a Choire Bhuidhe hut circles

NH 772 926 (SAM 5573) Proncy hut circle

NC 696 334 (SAM 2519) Cnoc Airigh an Leathaid hut circles

NH 681 942 (SAM 4505) Creagan Reamhan farmstead, kiln and fields

NH 728 767 (SAM 2916) Scotsburn Wood cairn

NH 747 780 (SAM 3129) Lamington Park cairn

NH 734 834 (SAM 4763) Redburn Cottage long cairn

NH 396 628 (SAM 2720) Little Garve Bridge

NC 604 124 (SAM 5161) Meall Meadhonach sheepfold

NC 608 112 (SAM 4560) Meall Meadhonach hut circles, field system and shielings

NC 687 370 (SAM 2514) Cnoc na Gamnha hut circles, burnt mound and clearance cairns

NC 619 124 (SAM 5093) Meall Meadhonach settlement and shielings

NH 782 944 (SAM 1885) Skelbo Wood Broch

NC 591 103 (SAM 1829) Altbreck Broch

NC 592 102 (SAM 5563) Altbreck homestead

NC 571 067 Ferry Wood Broch

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

Steven Birch, West Coast Archaeological Services

Lynn Fraser, Ross and Cromarty Archaeological Services

Mary Peteranna, 2012


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