Clachan Bridge

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
'The Bridge over the Atlantic'
From the Clachan Bridge, looking between Seil (L) the mainland (R)

The Clachan Bridge is locally known as The Bridge over the Atlantic. It is a simple, single-arched, hump-backed, stone bridge spanning the Clachan Sound in Argyll, between mainland of Great Britain and the island of Seil. The bridge is to be found eight miles southwest of Oban.

The bridge was originally designed by John Stevenson of Oban (and not by Thomas Telford as sometimes quoted)[1] and it was built between 1792 and 1793 by the engineer Robert Mylne. The original design had two arches,[2] but it was finally built with a single high arch with a 72-foot span about 40 feet above the bed of the channel, to allow the passage of vessels of up to 40 tons' displacement at high tide.

The bridge is still in use today, carrying the B844 road to the island.


The Clachan Sound is a channel of the Firth of Lorn, which in turn is a part of the Atlantic Ocean: thus the bridge crosses the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. For that reason the bridge came to be known as the 'Bridge over the Atlantic'.[2]


The south wall of the bridge has been colonised by fairy foxglove (Erinus alpinus).

Occasionally whales have become trapped in the narrow Clachan Sound. In 1835 a whale measuring 80 feet with a lower jaw of 23 feet was stranded having become trapped in shallow water and, as whales cannot swim backwards, it could not get out. In 1837, 192 pilot whales were caught in a similar fashion, the largest being 26 feet long.[3]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Clachan Bridge)


  1. Paxton, R.; Shipway, J. (2007). Scotland - Highlands and Islands. Civil Engineering Heritage. London: Thomas Telford Publishing. ISBN 9780727734884. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bridge over the AtlanticAm Baile
  3. Murray, W. H. (1977). The Companion Guide to the West Highlands of Scotland (7th ed.). London: Collins. p. 121. ISBN 0002168138.