1819 Torgoyle Flood

Report from the Commission for Highland Roads & Bridges, 9th Report, April 1821, page 78



Appendix (G.)

EXTRACT from the Road Repair Report of 1819, concerning the

A serious casualty occurred in the beginning of the year 1818, on the 13th January, when an extraordinary flood took place in all the Rivers of the North of Scotland, and by it the Bridge of Three Arches over the River Morriston, at Torgoyle, was swept away, not from any fault of the Masonry, which was excellent, but from a cause at once remote and unavoidable. A vast quantity of Birch Trees had been cut in a Forest above the Bridge, and deposited at such a distance from the Banks of the River, as to be deemed safe from the effect of any flood. But the elevation of the Water on the present occasion having been no less than Four feet perpendicular above any former example, the Timber was carried down to the Bridge, which after having been battered by about four thousand trees, was overwhelmed in such a manner that the destruction commenced with the upper part of the Arches, and the rest of the Timber (almost an equal quantity) demolished the Piers in its passage.

This was an emergency which called for all the activity of Mr. Mitchell, who received the intelligence at Dunkeld, on the 20th January, and was retarded in his return by the necessity of visiting the Laggan Bridge over the River Spey, which was endangered by the effects of the same flood. Having given directions for securing this important Bridge, he arrived at Inverness on the 25th January, after a dangerous journey through a snow storm, which covered the road in sundry places from six to twelve feet in depth. He forthwith hastened to Glenmorriston, and on his return to Inverness, on the 30th of January, transmitted a circumstantial Statement, which was answered by instructions to prepare materials and to construct a firm Timber Bridge, at Torgoyle, as soon as the state of the River permitted; the injured Bridge at Drumnadrochet having been already rendered passable, on the 5th February, in consequence of directions given by Mr. Mitchell for a temporary repair.

Materials were accordingly collected, and a hard frost having reduced the quantity of water in the River Morriston, Mr. Mitchell went to Torgoyle on the 25th February, and in the course of the next four days, constructed six piers, formed of four piles each. These were driven into the Bed of the River, by means of a piling engine, which with its supporting scaffold, was to be moved for every Pile: an operation which kept the workmen for hours together in the River, at that time four feet deep. This was no small effort in a sharp frost; but there was no alternative, and the Timber Bridge was rendered passable in the beginning of March, having been completed at an expense of £167.