The Kincardine Bridge, Kincardine

The Kincardine Bridge, Kincardine

Pity the poor Kincardine Bridge. Long since overshadowed by the more famous Forth Road and Rail Bridges, a fourth Forth crossing is about to cock its snook once and for all. For those who cross it regularly it’s not a happy place, full of traffic snarl-ups, but on a clearer day it’s a majestic part of the Scottish road network.

When it was built in 1936 it was the world's longest single span bridge as well as the first road bridge across the Firth of Forth. Built by renowned engineering firm Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners and manufactured by the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Co., it’s a solid piece of work. Unlike its grander neighbours you don't see it from miles away, but the closer you get the better it looks. It comes into its own as soon as you start to cross. The silver art deco-style lampposts have a real elegance and shine like beacons on a sunny day. Before you know it you’re passing through the central concrete arch where the mottoes of the neighbouring counties of Clackmannan, Stirling and Fife are carved in Portland Stone. It's all rather grand.

Until 1988 a huge portcullis operated inside this gate so that the bridge could be closed to traffic. When it closed the motto of Clackmannan, "Look aboot ye" was spelt out. Good advice for anyone waiting there as the view either way along the river is rather nice. Once the barrier was in place the centre span was able to swing round to let shipping pass. Along with the nearby Silver Link Roadhouse (now a bathroom showroom) it’s a relic of a more stately era of road transportation - the motoring boom of the 1930s. Constant traffic has taken its toll so when the new crossing opens, the bridge, given Category A-listed status by Historic Scotland will be closed for 18 months for a well-deserved upgrade. Enjoy it while you can.

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Silver St, Kincardine, Alloa, Clackmannanshire, FK10 4NS. The Kincardine Bridge is on the A876. The map also shows nearby attraction, The Pineapple.

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At one time there was also a railway swing bridge on the upper Forth, nearer Clackmannan; it was demolished in the 1960s.

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