The historic Rob Roy Bridge at Peterculter has reopened, however the famous statue of the outlaw has not returned in time for the opening as it is damaged beyond repair.
The bridge opened on Tuesday after six months following £530,000 worth of reconstruction work.
However, the well-known and loved tourist attraction of the statue of local hero Rob Roy, associated with the myth of Rob Roy MacGregor jumping over the nearby river to escape his pursuers, has fallen into a state of disrepair.
In July 2016, with the help of North Deeside Road bridge repair contractors Diack & Macaulay, the statue was removed and a detailed analysis carried out by experts has deemed the statue irreparable.
A £40,000 fundraising drive to put ‘Rob Roy Back On The Rock’ has been launched by the Rob Roy Preservation Trust (RRPT), a non-profit organisation that has maintained the statues for more than 100 years.
RRPT has recently commissioned David J Mitchell, a Scottish based sculptor and graduate of Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, with BA Hons in sculpture, to create a replacement statue.
David has recently worked closely with Her Majesty’s Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland.
Doug Middleton, chairman of the RRPT committee, said: “I am pleased to advise we are currently engaged in a project to replace the existing statue and have embarked on a fundraising campaign to ensure we put the statue of Rob Roy back where he belongs on the Rock adjacent to Culter Burn where a figure of Rob Roy has stood in various forms since around 1850.
“We are delighted with progress on the replacement Rob Roy statue and hope to have him back on the rock during the summer months.
“Plans are ongoing for the various steps involved with creating the finished statue in a composite material which will add to the longevity and minimise maintenance requirements.
“Our huge challenge is now to raise the considerable amount of £40,000 needed to complete the project and we hope that the generosity of local residents and businesses will help us reach our goal.
“Any contributions you can give to this worthy cause would be gratefully received and all monies donated would go towards putting Rob Roy back where he belongs amidst Peterculter’s great heritage.”
In the early 19th century, a whaling boat called the Rob Roy sailed out of Peterhead. The figurehead on the prow was that of Rob, which was replaced in about 1850 when the ship called at Aberdeen.
The first statue at Peterculter was a ship’s figurehead and was erected circa 1850 and then replaced in 1865.
The third replacement was carved from a log of yellow pine and unveiled in 1926, which lasted till 1991 when the fourth statue was erected and proudly stood until 2016.
A stovie dance is to be held at the Culter Mills Club on April 1 with Last Resort playing on the night, tickets are available from members of the committee.
Aberdeen City Council says the work on the bridge was required to be carried out to the 19th century structure was to safeguard its future structural stability.
Council Regeneration and Transport spokesman, Councillor Ross Grant said: “It’s fantastic the bridge is to be re-opened again after the £530,000 of reconstruction work.
“The works were very extensive and were necessary to ensure the future safety and integrity of this historic bridge.”
The original masonry arch is circa 1800 and the arch beam/column north section is circa 1920.
The works involved the demolition of the reinforced concrete section of the bridge, which was rebuilt to modern standards.
The works to the bridge were co-ordinated to take place at the same time along with the programme of works for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route to keep disruption to the travelling public to a minimum.
The RRPT website now up and running: www.robroyontherock.com
To donate to the project visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/RobRoy.