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Bridges over beautiful water

Date published: 22 August 2019

From modern soaring steel to ancient cobbled stone, Scotland is home to some of the world’s most spectacular (and unusual) bridges. Elegant, epic and often audacious, sailing to – or beneath – these manmade wonders will take your breath away!

We’ve picked out just a few of our favourites below. Take a look and you’ll realise why you simply #MustSeaScotland!

Create your own unforgettable moments as you sail Scotland and make sure you share them with us on social media by tagging them with #MustSeaScotland or uploading them to the gallery for the chance to win £100!

The Clyde Arc*

Glasgow

By day, this stunning, sweeping span of steel might just be one of the city’s 21 bridges, but it’s in a league of its own at night. Beautifully lit, it’s a brilliant, beaming beacon over the River Clyde that provides some stunning photo opportunities. It’s almost as amazing by day, where its position in the shadow of the iconic Finnieston Crane showcases Glasgow’s industrial past and artistic present.

* You’ll never hear a Glaswegian use this name; to anyone from the city, it’s the ‘Squinty Bridge.’

The Forth Bridge

Firth of Forth

Spanning the 2.5 kilometres between the coasts of Edinburgh and Fife, the Forth Bridge is one of the most dramatic man-made structures in Scotland. The iconic red steel bridge is one of the nation’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and has been featured in a range of TV programmes, advertising and films - including the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock classic The 39 Steps (as well as its remakes). Sailing beneath the three towers of the cantilever bridge, which soar more than 100 metres into the sky, is an utterly cinematic experience!

Kylesku Bridge

Kylesku, Sutherland

If Marmite made bridges, they’d have built the Kylesku. Completed in 1984 to replace a ferry service across Loch a’Chairn Bhain that was permanently at the mercy of the Scottish seasons and formed in one continuous concrete curve, its design has divided those who pass over or under it ever since. Sail beneath this Sutherland oddity and decide for yourself if the Kylesku Bridge floats your boat.

Skye Bridge

Isle of Skye

From the Old Man of Storr to the Quiraing and the Cuillin, Skye is home to some of Scotland’s most incredible landscapes – but its titular bridge more than holds its own. From the elegant curves of its concrete to the nature reserve and lighthouse of Eilean Bàn (White Island) – the small atoll upon which the main arch of the bridge rest – the bridge, like Skye itself, is full of surprises.

Banavie Rail Bridge

Banavie, Caledonian Canal

Descending the majestic Caledonian Canal’s iconic staircase lock flight, Neptune’s Staircase, is a bucket list experience if ever there was one. But spotting The Jacobite steam train (made famous-er by the Harry Potter films) puffing over the canal at the same time is utterly magical! Built in 1901, Banavie Rail Bridge sits at the base of the lock flight and forms a key part of ‘the greatest railway journey in the world.’ It’s the only place on the planet where top-tier trainspotting meets gongoozling!

(C) Greg Fitchett

Clachan Bridge

Isle of Seil, Argyll

Built in 1792 and so-named because it crosses the Clachan Sound, seeing the beautiful arch and centuries-old stone of this bridge might leave you feeling like it deserves a grander title. Luckily enough, because the sound opens directly into the Atlantic Ocean, it has one - ‘The Bridge Over the Atlantic.’ Just don’t expect to get to the USA by crossing it…

Tay Rail Bridge

Dundee

Breathtaking it may be, but the soaring steel and elegant design of Tay Rail Bridge hides a dark past. Opened in 1887, it replaced the original crossing which collapsed in 1879, killing 75 people. Stumps from the original bridge can still be seen rising above the river's surface – a constant reminder of one Scotland’s worst engineering disasters set in the shadow of one of its greatest engineering accomplishments.

Has our list of beautiful bridges whetted your appetite for engineering? Check out some more of our manmade wonders with our guide to sailing Scotland's epic engineering!