The Bridge of Alvah and the Earl’s Love Nest

The Bridge of Alvah

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.

top of bridge

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.

River Deveron

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.

side of the bridge

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!

bridge from below

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.

It’s beautiful.

earlsroom (540x540)


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27 Replies to “The Bridge of Alvah and the Earl’s Love Nest”

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 🙂

  5. 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! 🙂

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