Thomas Telford was one of Scotland and Britain’s most celebrated engineers and was responsible for some of the finest bridges, harbours, tunnels and roads up and down the country. Held in such high regard, he was granted a burial at Westminster Abbey. However perhaps his greatest achievement, certainly in Scotland, was the planning and building of the Parliamentary roads and the Caledonian Canal.
In this post, you can travel along your own Thomas Telford Trail and admire some of the greatest engineering work the country has ever seen.
Small in stature when compared to some of his other designs, nevertheless this bridge stands as one of Telford’s lasting memorials to his hard work. About half-way down the north-western side of Loch Ness sits the small village of Invermoriston and Telford’s bridge is just nearby. One of over a thousand bridges built to connect up the towns and villages of the Highlands, its humpbacked design has stood the test of time. There are two bridges here because time and vandalism have taken their toll on Telford’s original bridge. A new bridge was built in 1933. This one gives a great view of Telford’s original construction.
Top tip: This is a great spot to see salmon leaping! The end of October is the best time of year, and going early morning or early evening will increase your chances of spotting one.
The Caledonian Canal took 12 years to build and was planned by Telford. It is a stunning feat of engineering even by today’s standards. if created today, would still beIt was originally planned as a safe route for the British Navy so they could avoid travelling around the dangerous waters of the Pentland Firth and Cape Wrath. Telford was given the charge to design and build it – and he did it with style!
The 22-mile canal has 29 locks and in 1873 Queen Victoria took a trip along it. People still flock to see it and enjoy time on a boat. It travels from Inverness on Scotland’s east coast to Fort William on the west. If you visit, make sure you head towards Neptune’s Staircase near Fort William. This is an astonishing feat of Telford’s engineering. It is a series of locks, raising the canal 19 metres over a quarter-mile. It’s a mesmerising sight to watch and takes a boat 90 minutes to traverse all the locks. It’s the longest staircase lock in Britain. You can find it at Banavie, near Fort William.
Top tip: Fort Augustus is at the south-westerly tip of Loch Ness and is the perfect place to watch canal boats enter and leave Loch Ness. Sit outside a local pub and enjoy the view!
So enjoy your first steps along a Thomas Telford trail, and admire amazing engineering examples. If you are looking for more examples of beautiful structures here near Inverness, then visit some of the beautiful castles in the area.