Donside kids to help at bridge’s 300th birthday

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Donside school children will be celebrating the 300th birthday of a bridge built by a local Jacobite tomorrow.

Poldhullie Bridge, which crosses the River Don at Strathdon, was built in 1715 by John Forbes, known as ‘Black Jock’ of Inverernan.

Forbes was the Bailie of Kildrummy, and a close associate of the Earl of Mar, John Erskine, who led the Jacobite forces against the British in the battle of Sherriffmuir.

But Forbes was captured at the battle, and went on to die in a jail cell shortly before he was due to be executed.

Now on Thursday, August 20, the Lonach Highlanders and Pipe Band will be led by their patron, Sir James Forbes of Newe, in a procession from Strathdon Church to the bridge, where a commemorative cast-iron plaque will be unveiled with the help of Strathdon School pupils.

Head Teacher of Strathdon School, Lilian Field, said: “We feel very privileged to be able to commemorate the construction of a local bridge which has provided a route for travellers and local people for the past 300 years.”

The celebration ties in with work the children have been doing, learning about the construction of different types of bridges, as well as the history of the local area.

Chair of the Marr Area Committee, Moira Ingleby, said: “The north east played a significant role in the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion.

“The Earl of Mar, who led the uprising, called on men from Donside to support the Stuart cause.

“That Poldhullie Bridge is still standing strong, weathering tumultuous times better than its architect, is certainly something that should be celebrated.

The U91M will be closed between Don Bridge and Poldhullie Bridge for the day to allow for the procession to take place safely.