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13 February 2019

We’ve bridged the gap between our Gaelic past and an A-List future!

Drochaid a' Chaolais Chumhaing / Kylesku Bridge has been listed as a category A structure

A concrete road bridge with a distinctive curve spanning an inlet of water. Mountains and sea can be seen in the background.

Drochaid a' Chaolais Chumhaing / Kylesku Bridge in Sutherland has been awarded Category A status by HES after it was recognised as being of special architectural interest, it was announced today (Wednesday 13 February). The bridge will also be the first to be legally named in Gaelic.

Drochaid a' Chaolais Chumhaing / Kylesku Bridge, which spans the deep sea inlet of An Caolas Cumhang, is one of Scotland’s most visually striking and technically innovative modern concrete bridges. Built between 1981 and 1984, the quality of the bridge’s design and its method of construction have been recognised through a number of prestigious awards, including the Scottish Award for Civil Engineering Construction and the Concrete Society Award.

The decision to list Drochaid a' Chaolais Chumhaing / Kylesku Bridge follows on from a consultation launched by HES and the Highland Council, where members of the public were invited to express their views on the Bridge being awarded listed status.

Elizabeth McCrone, Head of Designations at HES, said:

"Drochaid a' Chaolais Chumhaing / Kylesku Bridge is one of Scotland’s most architecturally distinguished bridges of the second half of the twentieth century, and is among the most outstanding of its type in the country.

"As well as its architectural significance, the bridge is also an emotive and poignant reminder of the modernisation such civil engineering projects brought to remote areas of the Highlands, and the subsequent impact they had on traditional ways of life.

"Today, the significance of Drochaid a' Chaolais Chumhaing / Kylesku Bridge is reflected in its growing status as tourist attraction along the North Coast 500 route, and we’re delighted to recognise its national importance with Category A status."

A view of Kylesku Bridge captured from underneath the carriageway. The distinctive curve of the structure can be made out as it crosses the water.

Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Chair of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Strategy and Implementation Group, congratulated HES for awarding the bridge category A status, and also in recognising the importance of Gaelic in this part of Sutherland. He said:

"Historically most of the residents in the local area were Gaelic speakers, and the area is culturally rich in Gaelic song and stories. It is therefore appropriate that this bridge is the first in the Highland area to be named in Gaelic, the indigenous language of the Highlands."

The full designation report for the of Drochaid a' Chaolais Chumhaing / Kylesku Bridge is available on the HES website.

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