Culloden Viaduct

It is so much fun to drive the narrow, single-track roads through Scotland’s countryside. Not only is the scenery beautiful, but it’s along those routes that you often find the best surprises. On this day, the surprise was Culloden Viaduct.

Culloden Viaduct

Culloden Viaduct (also known as Nairn Viaduct) lies about seven miles east of Inverness and about a half-mile from the popular Clava Cairns site. The massive red sandstone masonry viaduct is the longest of its kind in Scotland, at 1,800 ft. Built by the Highland Railway and engineered by Murdoch Paterson, Culloden Viaduct opened to rail traffic in November 1898. Today, it is still in use and is the largest structure on the Highland Main Line (scenic rail) between Perth and Inverness.

An upward view of a viaduct
Constructed of red sandstone with concrete foundations
Free Scotland written on a stone pillar

The viaduct was built on a subtle curve with a 100 ft. wide central arch that spans the River Nairn. Ten 50 ft. wide arches and eighteen 50 ft. wide arches flank the center arch on each side, respectively (twenty-nine in all). Though the structure was built with a double-track width, only one of the tracks remains.

Culloden Viaduct
The wide central arch is flanked by ten smaller arches on one side and eighteen on the other. The River Nairn flows under the largest arch.
Culloden Viaduct

You can see our car and Mr. C in the photo above. Suffice it to say, we felt very tiny next to the giant columns! This was definitely a fun find. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to see a train make the crossing. Maybe next time.

That’s it for today, friends! Have a good one.


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