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. This explains the window, though how a person 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 (married) 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/love nest.
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Set in 1st century Scotland, my latest novel, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance!
See the press release here
“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society
Read the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.
Taking place mainly in a fictional castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.
See the press release here
From the Press and Journal: New book by Fraserburgh author highlights horrific extent of witch trials in Scotland
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children and young people of Aberdeen. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!
See the publisher’s Press Release here
27 Replies to “The Bridge of Alvah and the Earl’s Love Nest”
I’ve said before, and will say again that this gentle, informative blog is one of the best on the internet; I think its essays and accompanying photos would make for a handsome book
Thank you Charles 🙂
Feeling well privileged today, seeing what you get out of a walk and how you transcribe it, I am amazed! Beautifully told,you also found out about the window.
It was a great walk 🙂 We need to find out about those hooks… look like they could have secured ropes maybe.
I will research it while chillin in my new snug tonight.
Thank you so much for the research! Is the snug finished?
We have a house.:)
You have so many wonderful places to visit! Sigh…
We are lucky 🙂
Stunning. Your photos are always gorgeous. Always. And oftentimes, I feel like I’m there, inside the photo. Thanks for sharing this walk.
I’m glad you enjoyed it Sarah 🙂
Beautiful! Funny our perspective as children. I used to walk to school up an “enormous” hill. When I returned as an adult, I discovered this bit of a hill.
It is interesting to observe how our outlook changes 🙂
Ailish, I serendipitously found you on Twitter and am living vicariously through your blog now. My first visit to Scotland in May stole a piece of my heart and now I’m pining to go back. Thanks for the beautiful photos and sharing your Nature adventures with us. 🙂
Hi Barbara, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog and hope you get to revisit Scotland soon 🙂
I can only repeat myself too! This is another of your awesome, well-put and informative, compact blogs paired with truly beautiful pictures. The Scottish tourist board should ‘link’ them – and pay you for it! 🙂
Now, there’s a thought 😉
I’m so glad your FB page directed me to your blog, Ailish. Thank you. 🙂
Glad you like 🙂
Incredible images. Thanks for sharing!!!!
Great post, Ailish. My dad used to play there as a bairn!
Quite a dangerous playground in places!
Ay, that it is! But so beautiful.
Can definitely see Rivendell being set there!
Yes, it is more Rivendell than Mordor!