We visited a lovely bridge over the River Dee today called Potarch Bridge which is about 40 miles west of Aberdeen. It was built by the engineer Thomas Telford in 1811-1813. This is the same Thomas Telford who built the Caledonian Canal and many other bridges all over the UK.
I do love an old stone bridge and this one is particularly nice. It’s a lovely part of the River Dee with sparkling clear water flanked on both sides by smooth river stones and forest. The stones kept the kids busy while I evaluated it as a potential swimming spot. If I’d taken my bathers I may have ventured in because it did look very inviting and there were many shallow places away from the currents under the bridge.
Under the bridge the water looks fairly deep but I could still see the bottom. I’m forever amazed by how clean the River Dee is. Humans have lived in these parts for thousands of years and have so far managed to keep the river clean. When I compare it to my old home town of Brisbane where it only took humans about 100 years to foul the river I appreciate it all the more.
I took this next photo from the top of the bridge looking down and you can see the bottom even in my photo.
There’s an easy 5km walk through forest right next to the bridge which is where we went for a picnic lunch. If you don’t want to take a picnic there’s an attractive café and restaurant – where we got coffee – on the south side of the river. This is the restaurant in the lovely house in the distance in this next photo:
In the garden outside the restaurant are the Dinnie stanes which are two stones with a combined weight of 332.49 kg. They are named after the Scottish strongman Donald Dinnie who carried both stones barehanded across the width of the Potarch bridge in 1860. Ben tried lifting them but couldn’t get them off the ground. Donald Dinnie went on to have a very successful career as an athlete, travelling and competing in North America, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Apparently many of his medals are on display in the Aberdeen Art Gallery.