THE second battle of the Leaderfoot railway viaduct is about to be


Author Liz Taylor helped rescue the viaduct, which spans the Tweed

near Melrose, from demolition in 1981 and it is the centrepiece of her

latest Scottish historical novel launched yesterday under her pen name,

Elisabeth McNeill.

A Bridge in Time is the story of the navvies who built Leaderfoot.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of restoration work is being

carried out on the viaduct pillars and yesterday Ms Taylor expressed her

opposition to a planned bungee jumping and adventure centre at


A New Zealand based firm, is behind the scheme.

''I am totally opposed to the idea, it would ruin a dignified and

historic structure,'' she says.

Thirteen years ago, the residents of the village of Newstead were told

that the viaduct was to be demolished three weeks later. Virtually

singlehanded, Ms Taylor took round a petition and mobilised 4474

signatures on the day before the deadline. The petition was delivered to

Borders Regional Council and Leaderfoot was saved.

She said: ''I feel I have a stake in it.''

It now has Category A listing by Historic Scotland and a collection of

restoration grants.

''I don't think I helped save Leaderfoot just to have people jumping

off it at the end of elastic ropes,'' she said.

Meanwhile, the bungee firm is carrying out a local consultation

campaign to win over locals before deciding to submit a formal planning


* A Bridge in Time, Elisabeth McNeill, Orion, #16.99.