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Big Water Of Fleet Viaduct

Railway Viaduct (19-20th Century)

Site Name Big Water Of Fleet Viaduct

Classification Railway Viaduct (19-20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Big Fleet Viaduct; Little Cullendoch

Canmore ID 74204

Site Number NX56SE 9

NGR NX 55906 64333

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.


Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Girthon
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Stewartry
  • Former County Kirkcudbrightshire

Archaeology Notes

NX56SE 9 55906 64333

Big Water of Fleet Viaduct [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1980.

Not to be confused with Little Water of Fleet Viaduct (NX 5864 6707 to 5872 6708), for which see NX56NE 3.

De-listed; formerly grade B, as item 30 in Girthon parish list and 23 in Kirkmabreck parish list.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Big Fleet (Big Water of Fleet) Viaduct: The largest viaduct on the Portpatrick Rly [the 'Port Road'], this measures 900ft [274.4m] in length, and had a maximum height of 70ft [21.3]. Built of granite, with brick arches, it had twenty spans of 36ft [11m] each; the seven at the E end were built on a curve and the others on a straight alignment. This viaduct was a continual source of trouble. It underwent heavy repair as early as 1912, and each pier was encased in brickwork from 1927 onwards, this task being completed in 1945.

D L Smith 1969.

(Location cited as NX 559 644). Big Water of Fleet Viaduct: opened 1861 by the Portpatrick Rly. A 20-span masonry viaduct with segmental arches. The piers have been strengthened in brick and the spandrels are braced with old rails. Now disused.

J R Hume 1976.

Big Water of Fleet Viaduct: 5 1/2 miles W of Loch Skerrow passing place. 20 masonry arches of local granite; piers reinforced later by brickwork sheathing. Built 1860 by (contractors) McNaughton and Waddell. Still standing: likely to be demolished shortly.

C E J Fryer 1991.

This viaduct was built for the Portpatrick Rly and opened on 12 March 1861. It comprised twenty masonry arches, of greatest height 70 ft (21.3m). The line closed on 14 June 1965.

M Smith 1994.

Big Water of Fleet Viaduct. By B and E Blyth, 1861. The longest viaduct (c. 275m) on the Portpatrick Rly. line .

J Gifford 1996.

Big Water of Fllet Viaduct, 20-span, built 1861 for the Portpatrick Rly by B and E Blyth, of the poor-quality local stone. Piers encased with brick, mid 20th century, making it a striking and unusual feature in its moorland setting.

J R Hume 2000.

This viaduct formerly carried the former Glasgow-Stranraer main line (the 'Port Road') of the Glasgow and South-Western Rly across both the Big Water of Fleet and the boundary between the parishes of Girthon (to the E) and Kirkmabreck (to the W). The river crosses under the viaduct well to the W of its midpoint.

The location assigned to this record defines the midpoint of the structure. The available map evidence indicates that it extends from NX c. 55785 64282 to NX c. 56026 64390.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM), 14 March 2006.


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)

This massive viaduct strides across the Big Water of Fleet. It was built in 1861 as part of the Portpatrick Railway. The engineers were B. & E. Blyth, Edinburgh.

The bridge, a masonry structure of 20 segmental arches, featured in the 1935 film version of John Buchan’s novel The 39 Steps. It developed cracks, presumably because of ground settlement, which necessitated the piers being given an unsightly casing of brickwork up to the springing level of the arches in 1924. The arch spandrel walls were themselves strengthened with tie rods and rails. The line closed in 1968 and the viaduct is now disused and owned by Sustrans, the Cycle Network Project.

R Paxton and J Shipway 2007

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


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