Invershin Viaduct Walkway NCR 1

On LEJOG day 19 cycling from Tain to the Crask Inn, I was presented with a choice. Situated just 3 miles from Bonar Bridge on NCR 1 there is a sign that states

“Invershin Viaduct

This Viaduct is narrow with two flights of steep steps. Cyclists should consider using the alternative signed route via Bonar Bridge. No extra distance is incurred

When given a choice like this I will always take the suggested harder option. Why cycle the main road to Bonar Bridge when the cycle route via the Shin Railway Viaduct walkway is a more intriguing option.

On approach to the viaduct, the path leaves the road and hugs the railway line. As you approach the bridge the walkway can be seen hanging off the

Shin Railway Viaduct Warning Sign on NCR 1
Shin Railway Viaduct Warning Sign on NCR 1
Steps down to cross the Shin Railway Viaduct
Steps down to cross the Shin Railway Viaduct

side of the viaduct. Yes, there are steep steps however they are not too tricky. An absolutely useless channel has been added for cycles but with a fully loaded bike with panniers, it does not work.

All that is needed is patience, and the steps can be easily navigated down onto the suspended walkway.

The Invershin Viaduct Footbridge was opened on the 9th of May 2000 and offers an exciting crossing point of the Kyle of Sutherland.

The walkway is stable and well-maintained, giving some spectacular views up and down the river.

When I crossed it, I stopped for a while to take in the scenery and admire the feat of engineering.

History of the Shin Railway Viaduct

The Shin Railway Viaduct was first opened way back in 1868. Designed by Murdoch Paterson and Joseph Mitchel, it was built to carry the North Line. The North Line is the railway line that links the city of Inverness with Thurso and Wick in the North of Scotland.

Invershin Viaduct Footbridge
Invershin Viaduct Footbridge
Walkway on the Shin viaduct footbridge
Walkway on the Shin Viaduct footbridge

Invershin Viaduct Footbridge

To accommodate the ever-expanding national cycle network in the UK, a footbridge was installed in the year 2000. The footbridge that can be used by cyclists and walkers offers a very interesting alternative route.

Alisdair Morrison a member of the Scottish Parliament opened the foot bridge. There are 15 steps on one end and 30 steps on the other which can present a challenge to cyclists, especially those Cycling Lands End to John O’Groats, however, it is a challenge worth taking.

The bridge provides a valuable link to NCN Route 1.

One very interesting feature is the light switches on either side of the footbridge. The light switches provide light for cyclists and walkers when using the bridge at night; in my opinion, they are a useful addition.

The footbridge offers some good views of Carbisdale Castle on the western side of the bridge.

There are two railway stations on either side of the viaduct, Culrain Station and Invershin Station

Lightswitch on the invershin viaduct footbridge
Lightswitch on the invershin viaduct footbridge

More about the Invershin Viaduct

Invershin Viaduct is a railway viaduct located in the Scottish Highlands, near the village of Invershin in Sutherland. The viaduct was built in 1892 as part of the Far North Line, which runs from Inverness to Thurso and Wick.

The viaduct spans the River Shin and is considered to be one of the most impressive feats of engineering on the Far North Line. It is a Grade A listed structure and is recognised as an important part of Scotland’s railway heritage.

The viaduct is 240 metres long and stands 30 metres above the River Shin, offering spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. It consists of 13 arches, each spanning 12 metres, and is made of red sandstone.

Invershin Viaduct is still in use today, with regular passenger and freight trains passing over it. The viaduct is an important part of the Far North Line, providing a vital link between the communities of the Highlands and the rest of Scotland.

The viaduct is also a popular attraction for tourists, who come to admire its impressive architecture and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The area around the viaduct offers excellent opportunities for hiking and exploring the Scottish Highlands, with many scenic trails and paths to discover.

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