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Carrbridge from the South
Carrbridge from the South

Carrbridge grew at the point where the main route from Perth to Inverness crossed the fast flowing River Dulnain, one of the main tributaries of the River Spey.

Village Shop
Village Shop
Village Hall
Village Hall
Rowanlea Bar & Cairn Hotel
Rowanlea Bar & Cairn Hotel
Carrbridge Golf Club
Carrbridge Golf Club

The first bridge allowing the Dulnain to be crossed with dry feet was built in what is now Carrbridge between May and November 1717 by a mason called John Niccelsone. He did so at the behest of Brigadier-General Alexander Grant of Grant at a cost of £100. The main aim of the bridge was to ensure that funerals did not have to be delayed when the river was in spate and unfordable.

Competition was soon to arrive, however, because when General George Wade built his military road north some years later, it crossed the Dulnain three miles to the west. His crossing was at first by means of a ford, though in the 1760s the two arch Sluggan Bridge was built here. This bridge was swept away in the great flood of 3 August 1829. It was replaced by the current single arch Sluggan Bridge in the 1830s.

Old Packhorse Bridge
Old Packhorse Bridge
Carrbridge Hotel
Carrbridge Hotel
The Landmark Centre
The Landmark Centre

It was Thomas Telford who settled the route of the main road north. When he reconstructed the Highland road network in the early 1800s, he abandoned Wade's line in favour of a road using the earlier bridge at Carrbridge. This remained in use until the side walls were badly damaged by the same flood that destroyed the first Sluggan Bridge. Amazingly enough, what was left by the 1829 floods still remains, as a fragile looking arch across the river a few yards to the west of the modern road bridge at the north end of the village.

Telford's route was in turn used by the later builders of the A9, which ran through Carrbridge until the "new" A9 was built in the late 1970s on a line a little to the west of the village.

The railway arrived from Aviemore at a station on the west side of Carrbridge in 1894, and in 1897 it was completed north across the high level Slochd summit to Inverness. The line, and the station, remain in use.

Today's Carrbridge is an attractive and friendly place. It grew initially to service the needs of railway-borne holidaymakers. But from the 1960s it has grown as a parallel but quieter alternative to Aviemore, providing accommodation and other services for both summer visitors and for winter skiers.

Indeed, organised skiing in Scotland can be said to have begun in Carrbridge when Karl Fuchs established his Austrian Ski School here in the 1950s.

A more recent addition to Carrbridge's attractions has been the Landmark Forest Heritage Park on the south side of the village. This contains nature trails and forest walks as well as amusement park type rides and interactive exhibitions.

Carrbridge is a generally quiet place, but it can have its moments. It is a little know fact that the village hall is the home of the annual competition to find the World's best-porridge maker. This takes place in October each year, and competition is fierce.

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