In search of the Atlantis Bridge

We first heard about the Atlantis Bridge in the late summer of 2016. We had to admit to the two mountain bikers asking us about it that we had no idea what they were talking about.

It turns out that it’s a stone arch bridge that was part of the Thomas Telford road which used to connect Glengarry and Glenshiel. It became submerged under Loch Loyne in the 1950s when the area was flooded with the building of a dam. Apparently it’s possible to see the bridge if the water levels are low enough. Our interest was piqued! Something new on our doorstep to discover!

Not long after this we walked in to the southern shore of Loch Loyne eagerly hoping to see the Atlantis Bridge and make it to the other side. Our optimism was misplaced. We could see the original road sloping off into the loch but, alas, no bridge or land-based possibility of reaching the northern shore.

Thwarted (although it crossed my mind that I could swim, at least to the “island” in the middle!), I had to settle for a beautiful autumnal day, some great photos and the promise that we would be back. And that was that, until January this year.

Thanks to a guest we found out that the water levels were really low at Loch Loyne and that the old road was visible. Not needing much persuasion, we returned the next day. Approaching from the Tomdoun side, the road was indeed there and we made it across one bridge and on to the island in the middle of the loch. Unfortunately at this point our luck ran out. We’re not sure when or how the Atlantis Bridge collapsed (there’s photographic evidence that it still existed in 2014) but it’s definitely gone. In its place is a gap of about 10 metres we’re calling the Atlantis Chasm. The River Loyne flows through the chasm and stands in the way of reaching the road heading north. Swimming in the sub-zero temperatures was not on the cards!

We completed the Atlantis experience a couple of days later by walking in from the Cluanie Inn to reach the northern side of the Atlantis Bridge/Chasm.

While we didn’t make it all the way across, this time we weren’t disappointed. At least we know that if we want to make the complete crossing we’ll need to bring a boat, swim or hope that the water level is even lower!

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