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The Invergordon Archive

The Donkey Bridge
The Invergordon Archive
The Donkey Bridge

The small bridge providing pedestrian access from the western end of the town to the foreshore and the coast road. This access existed in 1880 from the Beech Wood, which formed part of the Castle estate, to the main route from Invergordon to Alness. It is likely that the path pre-dates the railway, which was opened in March 1863.
Picture added on 26 September 2004
Comments:
My grandparents lived in Outram street and my sister and brothers spent many many happy days in Invergordon during the summer holidays up from Edinburgh. My sister and and I would often walk out to the Donkey Bridge and that was as far from home as we would dare go on our own. I can remember thinking it was really far from the High Street!!!!!!
Added by Heather McKinney (Hawkins) on 03 October 2004
Heather, think your grand-parents were my neighbours on Outram St, the Clark's? on the end...and I am in touch with Catherine your Aunt, whom I have not been in touch with for over 50 years...your grandfather worked at the Air-force base at Evanton as security and he rode his motorcycle back and forth....
Added by Harry O'Neill on 07 October 2004
Yes, they were the Clarks, my mother was Mary Margaret, sadly she died in 1995 and my granny a few weeks later. Nice to see you are in touch with Catherine. I do not remember you but glad you took time to reply to my comment.
Added by Heather McKinney (Hawkins) on 08 October 2004
I can remember thinking that it was miles that we walked when we reached the donkey bridge and it always looked so small and thinking how did cars manage to get through?? Funny how things look so different when you are young.
Added by Karen Turner(hawkins) on 18 October 2004
Why was it called the donkey bridge? When I was little I used to walk back from my grannies with my mum down the donkey bridge - she said if I spoke when I walked under the bridge I would get donkey ears and a tail................... silly thing is I believed her and didn't dare breathe while walking under it!
Added by Anon on 28 November 2004
Donkey Bridge - Gateway to the sea. How many thousand times did I go through? No memory of donkeys in my time.
Added by Bill Geddes on 24 December 2004
The thing to do as kids was to run under the bridge just as a train passed over and listen to the sounds; wonder if kids still do that in this day of computers etc...?
Added by Harry on 15 April 2005
I think these small bridges that have railway lines over them are named donkey bridges because nothing larger than a donkey could fit under them. Alness has one at the front of Teaninich Street and it is also called a donkey bridge. It is much lower than Invergordon's though. I could be way off the mark. Perhaps there is another reason.
Added by Aodh on 08 July 2006
Malcolm, what a lovely picture of the Donkey Bridge! Like Bill, I have lost track of the number of times I ran through it. Harry, it was quite a noise when a train passed over, which really scared me although I still did it. Heather, I knew all of your family. Sorry to hear of your mother's death.
Added by Rosalie Graham now Samaroo on 11 July 2006
Is the gunpost still there? It would be on the town side of the bridge about half a mile from the bridge and at the bottom of the hill looking towards the sea.This was a fairly large concrete building.
Added by Doug Will on 12 July 2006
There is still a gunpost there as far as I know, although pretty hard to get to now I would imagine, and I think there was also one on the shore. We used to climb on top of them and look in the windows - thought they were really spooky. I grew up in Birchwood and remember when I was little being told that if you spoke going under the bridge then you were a donkey. So 15-20 years ago kids were still running under the bridge when trains went over - although the trains got less frequent and the noise and speed of the cars on the other side is now more frightening than the trains!
Added by Gillian Laing (Ferguson) on 30 August 2007
Ah, the gun post (or war hut, as we all called it). I spent many a day playing in there and at the Donkey Bridge - and along towards Alness in the golf course is/was the "Ringy" and the "Taddy". Happy times. I must take my bairns along to see if any of it is still there.
Added by Fraser Gray on 13 October 2007
What a great picture - it brings back so many memories!!! I grew up in Invergordon but left when I was 16. I spent many hours playing in the ringy and on the shore!! Happy days.
Added by Nigel Tibbott on 15 October 2007
Another thing about this site is that facing the Donkey Bridge is the "Bulls Hill" which was top sledging venue. As soon as snow began to fall on winter evenings you could hear kids dragging their sledges in the direction of the Bulls Hill. (The alternative was the School brae with the added hazard of shooting onto the High Street and risking collision with the occasional car.)
In parts it was nearly vertical and a good slide could take you down to the Donkey Bridge. I can remember many scores being out on the hill on freezing cold winter nights - can't see it happening today! Next to finding wheels or "bogies", getting metal rails for your sledge was quite an obsession in those days. Only posh kids had purpose-built "toboggans", most had home made efforts produced by dads and friends. Going out to play on winter nights was probably just one of the reasons why fat kids were quite rare back in the 50s?
Added by Bill Geddes on 17 October 2007
Oh Bill, how right you are. No "Posh" sledges then but what great fun on our improvisations. It's amazing how we stayed out so long in the cold, which somehow never seemed to bother us. Happy days!!
Added by Rosalie Samaroo (Graham) on 18 October 2007
Hi Bill, Rosalie and all. My sledge was a home made effort like most were. I used to spend a lot of time polishing up the runners in an attempt to make it go faster. We didn't get much snow and it was gone before you knew it, so we made the best of it while it was there....do any of you remember the guy that used to skate down the school brae? Was his name Coogan or something like that? ....or Cooper?
Added by Harry O'Neill on 19 October 2007
Hi Harry, there was a Jackie Coogan but he was Deputy Scout Leader (to Hugh Ross) and despite being a good bloke I can't imagine him skating! Getting decent runners for your sledge was always a dilemma. I remember hanging around the Dunn's place in the hope I could get some metal. But then I also had problems getting my football stitched up and my Grandfather was a shoemaker!
Added by Bill Geddes on 20 October 2007
During the Second world War, Donkey Bridge was the scene of an exciting adventure for me and my relatives on the way to the pictures in Invergordon. Just as the car got to the Bridge, in the dark, we were stopped by armed soldiers and told to come out with our hands above our heads! We had to answer to "Friend or foe?" We think there was a threat of imminent invasion. After this we went on to the pictures. This is why the Donkey Bridge stays in my memory.
Added by Margaret Reid (nee MacLennan) on 19 April 2009
The gun-post or war hut is gone now - they widened the path down to the Donkey Bridge - you can get a lorry down there now. Bulls Hill is still there and kids still go whenever it snows. I remember my grandfather making me a sledge every year with special runners and usually I had to take it back to him because the runners would be coming off.
Added by Carole Matheson nee Cowan on 26 January 2011
The war hut is still there; it's just overgrown now.
Added by Shaun Davis on 27 May 2013
Talking about sledging down School Brae, can remember a girl (think it was the daughter of the McIntosh's sweet shop) coming down the hill and losing control just on the turning into the school grounds; she hit the wall and think she was lucky as she only broke her nose. But didn't put anybody else off did it?
Added by Doug Will on 28 May 2013
Remember your sledge was called the Commet and painted blue, Doug.
Added by Gordon Will on 30 May 2013
Yes was a good sledge that. Can remember when we used to tie three or four sledges together and screech down the hill; very seldom did we make the High Street without crashing or sledges turning over especially on the rough bit of ground at the sides of the road.
Added by Doug Will on 30 May 2013
What great memories, scraped knees etc. Up and down the brae so many times until we were exhausted.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 30 May 2013
Yes Harry it kept us fit.
Added by Gordon Will on 31 May 2013
I can remember a few sledges that made it all the way down the hill, across the road, and ending up knocking on the front door of 32 High Street where I lived.
Added by Eddie Trotter on 03 June 2013
Great fun ,Great days, great memories !!
Added by Rosalie Graham (Samaroo) on 04 June 2013
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