3rd June, 2016
There's nothing quite like cycling over a viaduct or underneath an aqueduct. There's something ancient and epic about their scale that's really quite exhilarating. We'll never forget a recce trip we took to Scotland, to research routes and scout out special hotels, in the middle of March last year. The weather was naturally... challenging. In fact at the time we visited there was a full-on snow blizzard, which made navigation particularly interesting! Although markedly different from the lush summertime landscapes, there's something about Scotland's scenery in bleak mid-winter that's very magnetic. Shades of grey, purple and dull green, and plenty of cloud, create an almost mythical atmosphere. It was on one of those days that we were investigating a section of the route which crossed the Glen Ogle viaduct. As we jumped out of the car and onto our bikes, the clouds parted to reveal a slither of bright blue sky, and our rides across the viaduct were bathed in a rare moment of bright sunshine. It was magical!
In honour of such exhilarating cycle rides, we share our top 3 aqueduct / viaducts to see by bicycle:
1. Meldon Viaduct
Featuring on our fabulous Coastal adventures in Devon and Cornwall not-so-gentle cycling holiday, the Meldon Viaduct is a former railway bridge built in 1871 to carry the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) across the West Okement River at Meldon on Dartmoor in Devon. It is unusual in that the trusses of the bridge are supported on wrought iron lattice piers. It is one of only two such railway bridges remaining in the United Kingdom. Today the bridge is a cycle track known as 'The Granite Way' and it offers fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.
2. Aqueduct of Segovia
The Aqueduct of Segovia is a Roman aqueduct and one of the most significant and best-preserved ancient monuments left on the Iberian Peninsula. It is located in the historic town of Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the start point for our Medieval heart of Spain gentle cycling holiday. Built by the Emperor Domitian (AD 81-96), the aqueduct transported water from the Rio Frio river, situated in mountains 17 km (11 mi) from the city in the La Acebeda region - right up until the mid 19th century. Its 36 semi-circular arches are really quite spectacular.
3. Glen Ogle Viaduct
The scene of our magical moment in Scotland last March, cycling across this viaduct is as fun to cycle as it looks from the road down below. Find it on our Lochs and glens to Edinburgh self-guided bicycle tour. Set high on the side of a dramatic Scottish mountain, the Glen Ogle Viaduct comprised part of an ambitious cross-country line connecting Callander with the coastal port of Oban, some 72 miles distant. The western half of the route is still operational, but the section the viaduct is part of is now the Glen Ogle Way. The viaduct's remote setting ensures it remains an iconic structure, with the classic view of it looking down towards Lochearnhead, the nearest community two miles to the south-east.