A Deeside suspension bridge that has been shut ever since it was almost destroyed by Storm Frank in 2015 has finally been reopened, after extensive repair efforts by Aberdeenshire Council.
The cast-iron Cambus O’May suspension bridge between Aboyne and Ballater was left twisted and mangled by the rising waters of the River Dee, when Storm Frank caused major flooding all across the north-east more than five years ago.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the B-listed structure, first built in 1905, lay ruined and inaccessible for years.
But today, after a “major undertaking” by the council and fundraising from the Ballater Royal Deeside group, as well as a personal donation by Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay in 2019, it has finally been reopened to all.
It is the final bridge that was damaged in Aberdeenshire by Storm Frank to be officially repaired and put back into use.
A statement from the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay said: “We are delighted the Cambus O’ May footbridge is at last being reopened after five years of closure due to Storm Frank.
“Aberdeenshire Council has worked hard to achieve this and the local community has pulled together once again with very generous donations ensuring the bridge will once again be used and enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.”
“A major undertaking”
Work on the repairs was due to finish last year, but the project was severely delayed by the pandemic.
Over the past number of months, the bridge has been carefully worked on by contractors, but now all the scaffolding has been removed and the public can use it once again.
Currently, there are no plans for an official grand opening event, but it is understood one could take place in the future.
Donald MacPherson, bridges manager for Aberdeenshire Council, said: “It has been a major undertaking to repair the Cambus O’ May suspension bridge and our thanks go to contractors Moray Blast for the very impressive work they have undertaken.
“I would also like to thank Ballater Royal Deeside for their very successful community fundraising effort and the Scottish Government for providing the remaining funding which enabled these works to be undertaken.
“This is the last bridge to be repaired in Aberdeenshire following the devastating Storm Frank and it really highlights a determination on the part of the community to protect these important listed assets to the benefit of all.”
A final reminder of Storm Frank
Susan Cooksley, manager of the Dee Catchment Partnership, added: “We’re delighted that this iconic bridge over the Dee has been fully restored and is once again open to the public.
“The power of Storm Frank was a lesson for all of us in the devastating consequences of flooding, and we need to carry these lessons forward as we work together to create a catchment that is more resilient to the effects of climate change.
“The Cambus O’ May bridge is one of many beautiful and popular spots on the River Dee, and we look forward to seeing visitors returning there to enjoy nature.”