Appeal to replace Derry Bridge launched

An appeal has been launched to rebuild the Derry bridge in the Cairngorms in memory of mountaineer, Donald Bennet.

The footbridge over the Derry Burn at the foot of Glen Derry was washed away during the flood in August last year, affecting access to a number of prominent Munros and to the popular Lairig Ghru pass across the Cairngorms.

The Derry Footbridge - now swept away

The Derry Footbridge – now swept away

Now ScotWays – the Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society – is looking to raise funds to rebuild the bridge, which lies within the National Trust for Scotland-owned Mar Lodge Estate.

Donald Bennet OBE was a mountaineer and one of the prime movers in the creation of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, as well as being the author of numerous books, including the Scottish Mountaineering Club’s Munro and Corbett guides. From 1989 he was Director of ScotWays, and he served as both Chairman and Honorary President, making considerable contributions to the Access Forum and fostering links with the Countryside Commission for Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. He died in February 2013, aged 84.

Donald Bennet. Photo: Richard Barron

Donald Bennet. Photo: Richard Barron

ScotWays sees the rebuilt Derry Bridge as being a fitting tribute to their late president, sitting as it does on a right of way described in the Scottish Hill Tracks book which he edited.

Mar Lodge Estate hopes to be able to install a temporary bridge on the existing site this spring, reinstating access in the short term until the location can be finalised and funds raised for a new permanent bridge.

The river banks at the current location are still vulnerable to further erosion, and it is understood the estate would prefer to find a route west of the crossing which avoids the often boggy Derry Flats, where Black Grouse lek.

Donations to the Donald Bennet Memorial Appeal can be made by sending a cheque payable to ScotWays, to the office at 24 Annandale Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4AN, marking the envelope Donald Bennet Memorial Fund. Donations can also be made online at the Scotways website.

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