Brig o' Doon

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Brig o' Doon
Brig o' Doon, Alloway 2017-05-17.jpg
Coordinates 55°25′33″N 4°38′12″W / 55.4259°N 4.6368°W / 55.4259; -4.6368Coordinates: 55°25′33″N 4°38′12″W / 55.4259°N 4.6368°W / 55.4259; -4.6368
Crosses River Doon
Heritage status Category A
Longest span 72 feet (22 m)
No. of spans Single
Daily traffic Pedestrian

The Brig o' Doon, sometimes called the Auld Brig or Old Bridge of Doon is a late medieval bridge in Ayrshire, Scotland. It is a Category A structure. [1]


"Auld Brig O'Doon, Ayr, Scotland", ca. 1890 - 1900.

The bridge is thought to have been built in the early fifteenth century. According to John R. Hume, the bridge was built by James Kennedy, who died in 1465, but the first recorded mention was in 1512. [2] The name Brig o' Doon translates from Ulster Scots to Bridge of Doom. The bridge was described as "ruinous" in 1593.[3]

The bridge features on the 2007 series of £5 notes issued by the Bank of Scotland, alongside the statue to Robert Burns, that is located in Dumfries.[4]


The view over the bridge to the south-west

The bridge is located near Alloway and crosses the River Doon. It is a single Arched Bridge, with a steeply humped span of 72 feet (22 m) and a rise of 26 ft (7.9 m).[5] It has been repaired many times, most recently in 1978, and many parts of the stonework do not match.[3]

The B7024 public road is carried over the River Doon New Bridge of Doon, a single-arch stone bridge built downstream of the old one in 1816 to cope with increasing traffic.[3][6] The old bridge was sold to the builders of the new bridge as a quarry for material, and money was raised to purchase the old bridge back, but the trustees of the new bridge decided to quarry somewhere else.[7]

In literature[edit]

The line of the cobbles in the roadway is cranked, due to the belief that this pattern would stop witches from crossing.[5]

It is used as the setting for the final verse of the Robert Burns's poem Tam o' Shanter. In this scene Tam is on horseback and is being chased by Nannie the witch. He is just able to escape her by crossing the bridge (over a running stream), narrowly avoiding her attack as she is only able to grab the horse's tail which comes away in her hands: "The carlin caught her by the rump and left puir Meg wi' scarce a stump."

The Broadway musical Brigadoon also takes its name from this site, though the musical's location is fictional.[8]


  1. ^ "ALLOWAY (OFF), BRIG O'DOON (Ref:21474)". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Ayr, Alloway, Brig O' Doon". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Ayr, Alloway, New Bridge of Doon". Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Banknote Design Features: Bank of Scotland Bridges Series". The Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Ayr, Alloway, Brig O' Doon". Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Brig o' Doon". Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Paterson, James (1840). The contemporaries of Burns: and the more recent poets of Ayrshire. H. Paton. p. 390. 
  8. ^ Shelby, Barry (2010). Frommer's Edinburgh and Glasgow. John Wiley & Sons. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-470-97808-5. 

55°25′33″N 4°38′13″W / 55.425882°N 4.636831°W / 55.425882; -4.636831