A popular walking route in the Cairngorms National Park near Ballater has been made accessible after repairs to an historic bridge.
The B-listed Polhollick Suspension Footbridge, part of the Seven Bridges walking route, was extensively damaged during Storm Frank almost three years ago.
The area’s infrastructure was hit hard by severe weather and flooding during the maelstrom, with 288 bridges in the region requiring essential repairs.
Priority was given to bridges carrying motorised transport, before attention turned to damaged footbridges.
Of those, Polhollick and Cambus O’May bridges near Ballater in Royal Deeside were among the worst hit.
During the last few months, Aberdeenshire Council’s Bridges Section has worked with Moray Blast of Mosstodloch to carry out the essential repairs required to bring Polhollick Bridge back into a serviceable condition.
Aberdeenshire councillor Geva Blackett said: “Its fantastic news for Ballater that the bridge is being reopened, my fingers have been crossed that the application of heat would actually work and it is testament to the professionalism of our engineers.
“Now we have to hope and pray the treatment will work on the equally beautiful Cambus O’May bridge.”
Walkers will once again be able to experience Ballater’s highly popular Seven Bridges Circular Walk although the weight limit on the stricture remains – only four people can walk the bridge at any one time.
Bridges manager, Donald MacPherson, said: “Due to the historical significance and listed status of the bridge, all the existing damaged steelwork was straightened as far as practicable, in order to maintain the original character of the bridge.
“The repairs have involved the careful application of heat to distorted bridge members, together with the use of hydraulic jacks and winches to ease them back into alignment.
“Therefore, only very minimal replacement of some missing latticework on the upstream bridge parapet has been necessary.”
Now, only the B-listed Cambus O’May suspension footbridge, which is downstream of Ballater, remains to be repaired from those bridges damaged by Storm Frank.