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Corrieshalloch Gorge bridge re-opens after overhaul as National Trust for Scotland paves way for £2.3m visitor centre at visitor-magnet Wester Ross site

By Hector MacKenzie

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The repairs required an engineer with a head for heights
The repairs required an engineer with a head for heights

The historic suspension bridge at spectacular Corrieshalloch Gorge in Wester Ross has reopened to visitors once again after undergoing its annual overhaul.

The unique bridge, which straddles the 200ft deep gorge, was temporarily closed during May to allow routine maintenance and inspection work to be carried out.

Around 140,000 people a year visit the ravine and the Falls of Measach at Braemore, south of Ullapool, which is cared for by conservation charity, the National Trust for Scotland.

The works comprised an inspection of the bridge structure by experts as well as a geotechnical study of the rock faces around the abutments. The bridge was also given a comprehensive repaint. A firm of specialist engineering contractors were employed to carry out the job which involved abseiling off the bridge, high above the mile-long box canyon. Built around 1874 for the celebrated Victorian engineer Sir John Fowler, who helped build the Forth Rail Bridge, the suspension bridge is a feat of engineering in itself.

Martin Hughes, the Trust's operations manager at Corrieshalloch Gorge and Inverewe Garden, said: "The suspension bridge over Corrieshalloch Gorge is very special and it is important to keep it in pristine condition in order that it can be enjoyed for generations to come."

He says it an exciting time for the Trust at Corrieshalloch Gorge as work continues on a new £2.3 million project which will provide improved facilities for the growing number of people who visit, while helping to conserve a much-loved site in the Highland landscape.

The total cost of the bridge maintenance work was £10,000.

The Trust says the Corrieshalloch Gorge Gateway will create sensitively designed new visitor facilities on the site of the historical suspension bridge enabling visitors to enjoy an enhanced experience.

Developments will include an outdoor coffee stop, covered outdoor seating area, toilets, wi-fi, a blue loo for camper vans, improved parking facilities and charging points for electric vehicles.

A larger network of paths will be created, with wayfinding and interpretation around the National Nature Reserve.

The £2.3m project has secured £923,277 funding from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund which is led by NatureScot and funded through the European Regional Development Fund.

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