SCOTLAND has no dearth of remarkable bridges – be it feats of engineering, ingenuity or sheer marvel – yet it is fair to say there are none quite like this one.

Depending on the angle you view it from, Craigmin Bridge can play tricks on the eyes. Sometimes it looks like a cross-section sheared from a giant catacomb, others a troubled, skeletal face peering out from the leafy vegetation that creeps up from the sloping banks of the Burn of Letterfourie.

Craigmin Bridge stands within the grounds of Letterfourie House, a Georgian mansion not far from the Moray fishing town of Buckie. It dates to 1773 and was once part of the main carriage drive to the house. The bridge is believed to be the work of Robert Adam, a Scottish neoclassical architect who designed Letterfourie House. However, no drawings or documentation survive to confirm this.

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Variously described as “curious” and “wildly picturesque”, Craigmin Bridge has a striking multi-tiered design. There is a lower, single-arched span supporting the two semi-circular arches and smaller, segmental arch above. The bridge is rubble-built and among its many fascinating features is a doorway in the north-west corner which leads to a small room built into the walls.

The inspiration for this unusual piece of architecture is subject to speculation. One plausible theory is that it came down to simple mechanics with the bridge built on top of a previous single-span structure, creating an intriguing and charming design.

This makes sense given the suggestion that the lower section of an original bridge, while suitable for foot traffic, may have been too steep for a horse-drawn carriage to navigate.

One oft-repeated legend is that Bonnie Prince Charlie hid beneath the bridge while fleeing the Redcoats but given the timings, if there is a grain of truth to it, must refer to an earlier crossing on this site as the Battle of Culloden predates Craigmin Bridge by some 27 years.

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Today, reaching Craigmin Bridge is a magical experience, following the Fairy Walk from the nearby village of Drybridge, a thoughtfully designed trail with tiny doors in the trees, miniature wooden houses and even a dragon.

What to read: Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Aberdeen and North-East Scotland (1996) by Ian Shepherd and The District of Moray: An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1987) by Charles McKean both refer to Craigmin Bridge.