Potarch Bridge

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.

8 thoughts on “Potarch Bridge”

  1. I’m with you in wondering how the river Dee has managed to stay so clean and clear. Like Australia, New Zealand has been fouling up its rivers at a fast pace, only contained by its so far small population. However, Canterbury’s waterways are not in good shape after the last National government overrode the environment agency and opened it up to dairying, so that we could sell more milk powder to China. There are moves now to try and mitigate the damage, but it’s incredibly arduous to fix. So, yes a clean sparkling river not far from a city would certainly be a delight to behold 🙂

      1. Sparkling clean water is never seen around dairying country anymore, especially with how dairying has been intensified, so when we encounter it somewhere it’s joy to behold. Although a right-wing government has some good policies, it generally has terrible social and environmental policies.

    1. Yes, I remember only too well all the problems with Canterbury’s streams and rivers thanks largely to the dairy industry. I seem to remember people being in denial about it and wanting to blame tourists rather than dairy farming because they like eating cheese and drinking milk but unfortunately the scale of dairy farming in New Zealand is beyond what the environment can deal with.

      There’s hardly any dairy farming in this part of the UK. I can’t speak for other areas but I remember driving around Canterbury in NZ and it’s dairy farm after dairy farm after dairy farm. I just don’t see that here. There are a lots of sheep though but perhaps they don’t have as much impact. I suspect the dairy cows needs to be near a water supply because they would have to drink a lot of water. I got very thirsty when I was breastfeeding my babies.

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