Sligachan Old Bridge

Bridge in Isle of Skye

Sligachan Bridge Isle Of Skye Scotland United Kingdom
CC BY-SA 3.0 / 500px

Sligachan is a small settlement on Skye, Scotland, close to the Cuillin mountains and provides breath-taking views of the Black Cuillin mountains and the River Sligachan. There are unending hiking routes here, each offering impressive views; many avid climbers choose Sligachan as the starting point for their ascent of the Cuillins, but for less ambitious walkers, the lower reaches of the river, with its mythical beautifying properties, is just as rewarding.

Best views of Sligachan Old Bridge

The gorgeous Sligachan Old Bridge is arguably the most scenic bridge on the Isle of Skye. The best views of the old Bridge is from the newer A87 bridge. The easiest way to visit the Sligachan Old Bridge is to drive to the Sligachan Old Bridge Car Park.

History of the Sligachan Old Bridge

Old Sligachan Bridge is now only for pedestrians and cyclists and has been replaced by a new bridge on the main road. You can find the old bridge just next to the new bridge on the A87 . The bridge was built between 1810 and 1818 by Thomas Telford, with three spans, this rubble bridge has a pronounced hump.

Battle near Sligachan Old Bridge

Tradition has it that the Lord of the Isles attacked Skye in 1395, but William MacLeod met the MacDonalds at Sligachan and drove them back to Loch Eynort (Ainort).There they found that their galleys had been moved offshore by the MacAskills and every invader was killed. The spoils were divided at Creag an Fheannaidh (‘Rock of the Flaying’) or Creggan ni feavigh (‘Rock of the Spoil’),sometimes identified with the Bloody Stone in Harta Corrie below the heights of Sgurr nan Gillean.

Legends of the Sligachan Old Bridge – The Battle of Scáthach and Cú Chulainn & Eternal Beauty

One legend of the Sligachan Old Bridge begins with Scotland’s warrior woman, Scáthach who lived on Skye. It is believed that she lived in Dunscaith Castle which is located in Tokavaig in the south of the island.  She was though to be the greatest fighter in all of Scotland.  When Cú Chulainn, Ireland’s favourite warrior, had found out he had to know if he could defeat her in battle, so he jumped across the ocean to Skye and challenged her. Cú Chulainn was known to have the strength of Hercules and was half-god, but Scáthach accepted the challenge as she still believed she could win.

The battle raged for weeks, valleys were moved, mountains shaken, and all the animals had fled the Isle of Skye until Scáthach’s daughter couldn’t take it anymore and ran down to the stream to cry. She shouted, “please, somebody stop this fighting, I can’t stand it anymore,”. As luck would have it  the fairies of the river had heard her and beckoned her to dunk her face in the stream to discover how she could stop this terrifying battle. When she did as they asked, and the fairies blessed her with the knowledge of how to stop the battle.

She ran across Skye finding herbs, meats, nuts, and every delicious thing that this small island produced and then brought them home and stewed up the most delicious broth you could imagine. The smells of this meal were incredible and the two warriors couldn’t fight on after they smelt it. They agreed to take a break to enjoy a feast. The feast marked the end of the battle as by eating in the home of Scáthach, Cú Chulainn had become a guest and the rules of Celtic hospitality meant you can’t fight someone who has hosted you.

Legend has it that the beauty of Scáthach’s daughter and the tears of love she shed in the river, mean that anyone brave enough to dip their face in the water will be granted eternal beauty by the faeries. Whilst seeking eternal beauty at Sligachan Bridge isn’t exactly pleasant, it is nowhere near as punishing as Dorian Gray found it to be!

The Sligachan Old Bridge appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Isle of Skye!

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Visiting Sligachan Old Bridge

Duration: 20 minutes

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