The historically unique wrought iron bridge at Kirkton of Glenisla is open again after months being closed thanks to vital new decking.

Glenisla bridge is reopen with new decking

Nearly £15,000 funding secured has meant the timber joists supporting the bridge’s decking found to be rotten by an engineer’s survey in 2021 have been replaced and are safe and open to walkers once more.

Community support had a huge part to play in securing funding for these works, which was awarded by Kirriemuir Landward West Community Grant Scheme (KLWCGS) and by Avondale Environmental as part of the NPL Group through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund.

Glenisla bridge is reopen with new decking

Community members and joiners at the newly opened Glenisla bridge: (left to right): Krystna Pytaz, PKCT’s Andrew Barrie, John Munro, Meg Mearns and Gary Miller.

In the interest of public safety and because of the engineer’s findings, the bridge has been closed for several months and the Cateran Trail, along which it lies, has been diverted via Whitehills Farm, which includes some road walking not ideal for visitors.

Support from the local community was decisive for Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust (PKCT), who manage and maintain the Cateran Trail – one of Scotland’s Great Trails – to secure funding for the timber repairs, which were completed last week (w/c 3 May 2022).

These repairs to the Brackny Pedestrian Bridge, as it is also known, means it will be open again just in time for the Cateran UltraMarathon and the annual (and biggest ever) Cateran Yomp charity fundraising challenge event.

Andy Barrie, PKCT’s Strategic Routes Officer leading the project, said:

Having the Glenisla bridge closed has been a great hindrance to the enjoyment of the Cateran Trail by residents and visitors, so it is great to be able to get the timber decking replaced so that it can reopen again and in time for the Yomp.

The bridge itself was designed by John Justice of Dundee, is nearly 200 years old and is considered one of the oldest bridges of its kind in Europe.

Therefore, preserving it has been at the fore for these plans to replace the timber decking, without damaging any part of this historic monument.

Restoration of the metal work itself will likely be much more expensive than the decking, so we are working with the community on options to find these funds to ensure the longevity of the bridge. We are confident that once complete the restored bridge will continue to provide future generations with access to the stunning local countryside.

We are also looking to possibly realign the path leading to the bridge from the adjacent field at a later date.

Roger Clegg, the chairman of KLWCGS said:

The trustees have been pleased to be able to assist in this stage of the bridge restoration work and it is very good news that the bridge will open for the Yomp as well as for local walkers and visitors alike over the busy summer period.

KLWCGS distributes funds from Tullymurdoch Farm operators for community benefit within the KLW Community Council area whose purposes include the advancement of citizenship of community development; the advancement of health and wellbeing in both young people and adults; the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture and science’ the promotion of equality and diversity’ or the advancement of environmental protection or improvement.

Glenisla bridge is reopen with new decking