As a child, the task of walking to the 18th century Bridge of Alvah, near Banff in Aberdeenshire, was presented as something akin to travelling to Mordor: a journey of such length and difficulty as to render it impossible to your average mortal.
The walk from Duff House (a place with easy parking, swings, art gallery, tearoom and gift shop) to Alvah is actually comprised of just over two miles of well maintained track.
The other fact about Alvah recalled from childhood is that it is a place of great natural beauty. That is true.
The bridge stands huge and majestic – it is a bit ‘Lord of the Rings’ after all – over a deep gorge and the River Deveron.
I was most intrigued by the Gothic window (visible in first and last pics) and the many little hooks, just about discernible below.
Googling revealed that there was a room for a toll collector within the bridge which explains the window, though how he got in there is not so clear. Either the door has been sealed or there was something Rapunzel-like going on. Local legend has it that the room was used by the Earl to entertain young ladies so perhaps it was kept semi-secret. The hooks remain a mystery.
In summary: go visit the Bridge of Alvah; it’s well worth the two mile trek. Not an Orc in sight!
See the post about the Mausoleum for more on the grounds of Duff House.
Update: we revisited the bridge in Autumn and were given access the Earl’s secret room. It’s beautiful.
Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, features an often overlooked event in history, the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, and a love story.