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Killiecrankie Viaduct

Railway Viaduct (19th Century)

Site Name Killiecrankie Viaduct

Classification Railway Viaduct (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Pass Of Killiecrankie; Garry Railway Viaduct; Killiecrankie, Railway Viaduct And Tunnel Mouth

Canmore ID 26448

Site Number NN96SW 23

NGR NN 91669 62550

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Moulin
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NN96SW 23 91669 62550

Location formerly cited as NN 917 624.

Viaduct [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1990.

For adjacent railway tunnel, see NN96SW 25.


Garry Railway Viaduct.

Engineer: Joseph Mitchell 1861-2.

Inventory to plans in Blair Castle Muniment Room - typescript.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

(Location cited as NN 918 624). Killiecrankie Viaduct. This viaduct was completed in 1863 for the Inverness and Perth Junction Rly by engineer Joseph Mitchell. It is a ten-span masonry structure with segmental arches, the arch rings being of dressed stone and the spandrels of rubble. There are castellated refuges at the ends and in the centre.

J R Hume 1977.

This viaduct was designed by Joseph Mitchell to carry the Inverness and Perth Junction Rly up the side of Strathtay and opened on 9 September 1863 at a cost of £5,720; it remains in use, leading directly into a tunnel. It is of stone and measures 507 ft (154.6m) in overall length and 54 ft (16.5m) in height; it comprises ten spans of 35 ft (10.7m) and has pseudo-crenellated turrets.

M Smith 1994.

Killiecrankie Viaduct, 1864, Joseph Mitchell. Dramatic curving viaduct of 10 arches, costing £5730, for the Inverness and Perth Junction Rly. Crenellated parapets and refuges in keeping with other structures along the line on its heroic ascet to 1484ft [452m] at Drumochter.

N Haynes 2000.

This viaduct carries the Perth (Stanley Junction) - Inverness main line of the former Highland Rly along the E side of the Pass of Killiecrankie to the S of the village of Killiecrankie (NN96SW 26), and below (to the W of) the visitor centre NN96SW 49; it also crosses an unnamed burn. Although a structure of impressive size, it is obscured by trees within the deep declivity, and may escape passing notice. It is also inherently difficult to record by photography.

The location assigned to this record defines the centre of the structure. The available map evidence suggests that it extends from NN c. 91590 62598 to NN c. 91690 62487.

The River Garry here forms the boundary between the parishes of Moulin (to the E) and Blair Atholl (to the W); the entire length of the viaduct lies within the former.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 21 February 2006.


Construction (1863)

Field Visit (1999 - 2000)

The railway passing through Killiecrankie was constructed in 1863, with the viaduct being designed and built by Joseph Mitchell in 1864. The viaduct is 508ft in length and has 10 segmental arches, constructed in bullfaced ashlar with castellated detail. It is 54ft high and on a 20-chain curve.

The railway is situated below the current road level. Its line appears to have been built up in places to provide a good foundation, such as at the southern end of the site noted below, rather than being cut into the upper slope. At the southern end of the property, below the modern Garry Bridge, and to the south, small sections of walling are evident below the level of the railway, which may be part of the military road, reused as a solid base for the track.

Although not technically part of the Killiecrankie property, its position and any works carried out to it are likely to affect associated features.

(KIL99 02)

Information from NTS (SCS) October 2014

Project (2007)

This project was undertaken to input site information listed in 'Civil engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' by R Paxton and J Shipway, 2007.

Publication Account (2007)

Through the pass of Killiecrankie the slopes were so precipitous and steep that the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway line of the Highland Railway had to be supported by retaining walls for a distance of 700 yards with an average height of 26 ft and reaching a maximum of 55 ft.

At the narrowest point there is very limited space alongside the Garry and it was necessary to construct a viaduct on a curve of 20 chains (1320 ft) radius, having ten arches each of 35 ft span, at a height of 54 ft above the river bed. The viaduct is built of masonry and 508 ft long, the drama of the site being enhanced by a 240 yard tunnel at its north end. The contractor who executed this challenging work was Alexander Wilson.

R Paxton and J Shipway

Reproduced from 'Civil Engineering heritage: Scotland - Lowlands and Borders' with kind permission of Thomas Telford Publishers.


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