29 September 2018
25 August 2018
The Mersey Gateway Bridge is a 2.3 km-long, 6-lane, cable-stayed bridge carrying the A533 road over the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. The £600 million bridge links Runcorn and Widnes and is maintained by Halton Borough Council. Construction of the bridge, designed by Knight Architects, commenced in 2014 and it opened in 2017. It was built to relieve congestion on the Runcorn through-arch bridge, which opened in 1961 and was renamed the Silver Jubilee Bridge in 1977. This in turn had replaced a Victorian steam-powered transporter bridge that could convey four cars at a time across the Mersey.
When the new bridge opened the old one was closed for refurbishment and it will reopen as a toll bridge (it was previously free to cross). The tolls on the Mersey Gateway Bridge itself operate using automatic number plate recognition and must be paid online within 24 hours. This has proved to be highly controversial with criticisms of unclear signposting. In the first month 50,000 motorists were issued with penalty charge notices for failure to pay the toll. In 2018 tribunals ruled that the tolls and penalties were in fact in breach of consumer and transport legislation because of improper implementation. The charges continue to be imposed, however, as the rulings were for specific cases and technically do not have general effect.
23 August 2018
Kilmartin Stones are a collection of decoratively carved grave-cover slabs dating from the 13th to the 18th centuries. 23 slabs are on view in a shelter in the churchyard of Kilmartin Parish Church. Such grave covers were something of a status symbol for the local West Highland warrior class, with common themes for the carvings being swords and effigies. Other common motifs include hunting scenes, shears and fabulous animals.
The stones were moved inside a shelter in 1956 to protect them from the weather. This lapidarium was originally a mausoleum and was built in 1627 for Neil Campbell, Bishop of Argyll, and his wife Christine, daughter of John Carswell, who built Carnasserie Castle.
The collection is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.
23 August 2018
Inveraray is the traditional county town of Argyll and the ancestral home of the chief of Clan Campbell, the Duke of Argyll. In the late 18th century the 5th Duke engaged the Scottish architects John Adam (1721-1792) and Robert Mylne (1733-1811) to rebuild the town.
The shores of Loch Fyne at Inveraray were used to train around 250,000 troops in amphibious landings in preparation for the D-Day landings of World War II.
23 August 2018
Carnasserie Castle was in its day one of Argyll’s finest Renaissance mansions. The five-storey tower with adjoining three-storey hall was built in the 1560s by John Carswell (c 1522 – 1572), first Protestant Bishop of the Isles (1565 – 1572). The property was entrusted to Carswell by his patron Archibald Campbell (1537 – 1573), 5th Earl of Argyll. Carswell’s main legacy was his publication in Edinburgh in 1567 of the first book ever printed in Gaelic (Irish or Scottish) – this was a translation of John Knox’s Book of Common Order.
The castle was badly damaged in 1685 by Royalist forces in an uprising by Archibald Campbell (c 1629 – 1685), 9th Earl of Aryll, against James VII, in which Campbell was captured and executed. The castle thereafter lay disused and was purchased in the 19th century by the Malcolms of Poltalloch. Today it is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.
22 August 2018
Connel Bridge carries the A828 road over Loch Etive and links the villages of Connel and North Connel. The crossing is at the narrowest point of the sea loch at the tidal rapids The Falls of Lora, five miles from Oban. The bridge span between its piers is 160 m.
The Category B listed steel cantilever bridge was designed by English civil engineer John Wolf Barry (1836 – 1918) and was built by Glasgow contractors Arrol’s Bridge & Roof Company, who also constructed the Forth Bridge.
The bridge opened in 1903 to carry the Ballachulish branch line of the Callander and Oban Railway. A roadway was added next to the railway line in 1914 and when the branch line closed in 1966 the bridge was converted for pedestrian and road vehicle use only via a single-track roadway with traffic lights.
Transport Scotland is currently considering options for refurbishment of the structure over the next five years.