Tomnahurich Swing Bridge in Action

There are three very similar swing bridges over the Caledonian Canal here in Inverness – two road bridges and one railway bridge, all working on the same principle and constructed around the same time. Yesterday I was passing by just as the bridge at Tomnahurich opened, so stopped to capture the scene on camera .

The road crosses over from left to right of the picture (or right to left, depending on the direction of travel) and the bridge sits really low on the water so boats travelling the canal cannot pass underneath without the bridge moving out of the way. The traffic is temporarily stopped on either side and the entire bridge swings open sideways on a pivot and wheel (very much like a giant heavy door opening) until it sits at right angles to the road. The boat sails on through, the bridge closes again immediately, and the waiting traffic is free to pass over once more.

During the summer months this process takes place multiple times a day, and it never ceases to fascinate me – I really love the clever engineering involved! There is a warning siren that sounds continuously to let people know the bridge is opening and closing, but amazingly the mechanical operation of the bridge itself is silent and smooth and surprisingly speedy – it only takes a few minutes. This particular metal bridge has been in situ since 1938, a replacement for a previous wooden bridge that apparently worked on an entirely different principle.

I know this is a long and boring gallery if you’re not interested in seeing a series of static images of a bridge opening and closing again, but the fault is mine for not thinking to video it in action instead – duh! Anyway, I’m hoping my swing bridge opening and closing can count as an honorary canal door for today’s Thursday Doors – I know Dan loves bridges as well as doors, so fingers crossed I might just get away with it! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Fault

April A-Z: T is for Tomnahurich Hill

Tomnahurich Hill by the canal in Inverness looks all the world as if someone has deliberately made a rounded oval mound in the middle of a relatively flat river valley, but it’s actually a natural esker, created by a glacier during the last ice age.

The 70m (230ft) high wooded hill itself is home to the city’s cemetery, currently extended outwards to include the flat land skirting around the base. There is an old carriage track that still winds at a reasonable gradient from the eastern side around the hill to the top, or if you’re feeling more energetic there are several narrow woodland footpaths linked here and there by steep concrete steps to help your ascent.

But however you decide to get yourself up there, reaching the secluded old gravestones lining the flat hilltop and taking in the wonderful view beyond is a wonderful surprise. Because at either end the otherwise heavy treetops have been thinned out and cut down enough to be able to look out easily across towards the Black Isle to the north (those particular images I’ve saved for later) and past the large WWI War Memorial cross towards Loch Ness along the Caledonian Canal to the south.

Back down the hill again (using a different set of steps and paths) and walking around the western perimeter on my way home I came across a stone entrance dug into the steep hillside with a lovely metal door which I couldn’t resist photographing for today’s Thursday Doors – result! 🙂

For this year’s A-Z I’m going to take you on a photographic tour of My Inverness, Past and Present. I grew up in the local area, I went to school here and brought up my three children here, but I moved away to London for 18 years before returning home for good at the end of last summer.

P.S. My initial plan for my A-Z posts has necessarily been curtailed somewhat due to the current coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll get through the alphabet one way or another, however creative my use of subjects may have to be – so thank you for visiting Inverness with me, and I hope you enjoy our trip!