The Telford Bridge In Dunkeld
By Jock Monteith 8th January 2018
It's always amazed me how individual landmarks on the Scottish salmon rivers can instantly fast track you back to a far distant era which replays in your head so vividly as if it were only yesterday. The beautiful 200 year old Telford Bridge in Dunkeld designed by famous Scottish engineer Thomas Telford is synonymous with the River Tay and the mind's eye memories for thousands of River Tay salmon anglers & ghillies.
A Very Personal River Tay Introduction
On a very personal and fortunate basis the first time I crossed this bridge was in 1970 en route to the Grey Goose hotel at Forneth which is now the beautiful Kinloch House hotel which is exceptionally well run by Graeme Allen and his family. That particular day I was sitting up front in a brand new light blue Rolls Royce Silver Shadow driven by my entrepreneur father who was a highly successful Scottish based builders merchant during the 60's & 70's.
Real Tay Legends From The Past
As the smooth purr of the 6.7 litre V8 Rolls Royce engine approached the bridge I vividly recall seeing a beautiful and newly erected River Tay sign and those few moments remains frozen in my memory banks to this day. The following day we drove back down to Dunkeld and re-crossed the bridge as we were booked onto the Newtyle Beat with close family friends Ian Redford senior & Willie 'the ghillie' Laird which was another truly amazing experience in my River Tay salmon fishing introduction.
A New Approach To River Tay Marketing
This year without giving too much away in case we need to change things around a bit we have plans to showcase the Telford Bridge like never done before so that this magical sandstone construction can remain permanently in the minds of many more thousands of Scottish salmon fishers in years to come. From my acute marketing prospective this monumental construction is the true 'gateway' to the River Tay and especially the beautiful middle Tay area.
Spreading Ashes On The River Tay
Just to highlight the power & reach of the Tay's Telford Bridge I also recall in the 70's being out harling in the Newtyle's Cottar Pool with my father and Willie Laird when we spotted a square black box bobbing at the side of the river. Willie's immediate reaction was that it looked like a bomb but on closer inspection it was a cask full of human ashes which my dad did the honours and spread in the river. The card inside the bag was from the deceased Canadian man's relative in Canada who my father wrote to and was informed that his last request was that his ashes be spread over the Tay from Dunkeld Bridge as that was were he wanted his remains to go and nowhere else. Obviously the funeral director took the easy route or didn't fancy the upstream breeze that day!
Recent Memories Of The Telford Bridge
In March of 2009 I was living in Dunkeld but used to use the gym fascilities at the lovely Dunkeld House hotel every night to stay in trim. I recall leaving there late one night to the sounds of explosions and bright flashes. The 200 year anniversary of the bridge was underway in Dunkeld and I ran to the Cathedral grounds for a better view amidst this amazing firey spectacle which I'd never seen to that professional level before. All along the top of the bridge and covering all of the arches was a constant cascade of fire falling down onto the river as all types of rockets were being sent up which was a truly surreal experience to say the least. God knows what the salmon were thinking that night!