Kylesku Bridge along the NC500 in the Highlands
© Lukas Bischoff/Getty Image
Ahead of the curve. Kylesku Bridge
Curving through this rugged Highlands landscape and across the deep sea inlet of Caolas Cumhann is the Drochaid a' Chaolais Chumhaing/Kylesku Bridge, opened by the Queen in 1984. Striking in appearance, this concrete box girder bridge in north-west Scotland also serves a practical purpose - saving drivers a 110-mile detour around inland roads. It replaced a ferry service which had operated in one form or another since the early 19th century, but could be unreliable in rough weather. In the 1970s, plans for a new bridge here became key to encouraging tourism in some of the more remote areas of the Highlands.
If you’re wondering about that lengthy name, Kylesku Bridge became officially known by its Gaelic name Drochaid a' Chaolais Chumhaing in 2019, when Historic Environment Scotland classified it as a Category A listed structure. It’s 902ft (275m) long and its bridge deck sits 79ft (24m) above high water, to allow ships to pass through. Designed to complement the landscape, it can also withstand winds of more than 100mph and forms part of the popular North Coast 500, a 516-mile scenic route along Scotland’s north coast. If you’re in the area, you might want to check out Britain’s tallest waterfall, Eas a’Chual Aluinn, which is close to Kylesku village.