Our house was on the banks of the river Bogie in Aberdeenshire so my early memories are of fishing, catching and losing trout/salmon, talking to Jimmy Stephens, the water baillie whose croft was across the river from us  (talking in broad Doric – I remember him using the word ‘knapdarrlichs’!), jogging along the river as far as the railway bridge to keep fit for football, in the hot days of summer swimming in the deep pool where the Ness Bogie joined the Bogie…….

When I wasn’t fishing, I was leaning over the bridge parapet,  watching the trout (too small to catch ) weaving and waving in the current behind big stones,  or dropping a pebble  into the water or something lighter – a feather, a blade of grass – and watching how and where the air currents  from under the arch took it

Bridges I have crossed since always remind me of the bridge over the Bogie. This (below) just happens to be one of them.

Bridges and Art: The last time I visited the Modern Art Gallery I went down to the Waters of Leith, crossed the wooden bridge and discovered a bronzed, cast-iron Anthony Gormley statue standing ankle-deep in the river. Reflecting………….


And this bridge further along the river is also reflecting


Bridges and film: NOT BRIGADOON – BRIGADEE

Two Americans stumble across this small Scottish village which appears for one day every hundred years…..but this isn’t it. A surprisingly popular sentimental film, Scottish like tartan and shortbread and jokes about haggis are Scottish.This isn’t Brigadoon.

This is Brigadee. One sunny Summer day Mark and Debbie were travelling up to Huntly to see my mother and father and we all  stopped at the wood on the other side of this bridge over the Dee to have a picnic by the bonny, bonny banks and and for some reason jammed a bottle of white wine into the fork of a birch tree there as a gift to the gods of summery places or to have on our way back….I assume it’s still there.

Bridges and economics: OVER THE SEA TO SKYE

Is an island linked by a bridge to the mainland still an island?

For years there was a campaign to put an end to the toll charges on this bridge. And the Forth bridge. And the Tay bridge. All successful.

Bridges and poetry: THE AULD BRIG O DOON

This is where Tam and Maggie, his mare,  escaped from the pursuing witches who were left holding on to  Maggie’s tail as Tam galloped off and away on the other side because as we all know, witches daren’t cross water – the ending of a great poem about Scottish domestic life, then and now:

When chapman billies leave the street

an drouthy neebors, neebors meet

as market days are wearin late

an fowk begin tae tak the gate

while we sit bousin at the nappy

an gettin fou an unco happy

we think na o the lang Scots miles,

the mosses, waters, slaps an stiles,

that lie between us and our hame

whaur sits our sulky, sullen dame

gatherin her brows like gatherin storm

nursin her wrath tae keep it warm…..


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