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 / 55.425961°N 4.636683°W / 55.425961; -4.636683Coordinates: 55°25′33″N 4°38′12″W / 55.425961°N 4.636683°W / 55.425961; -4.636683[1]
CrossesRiver Doon
Heritage statusCategory A
Longest span72 feet (22 m)
No. of spansSingle
Daily trafficPedestrian

The Brig o' Doon, sometimes called the Auld Brig or Old Bridge of Doon, is a late medieval bridge in Ayrshire, Scotland, and a Category A structure.[2]


The word brig is Scots for "bridge", hence the Brig o' Doon is the "Bridge over the River Doon".[3]

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.[4] The bridge was described as "ruinous" in 1593.[5]

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.[6]


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).[7] It has been repaired many times, most recently in 1978, and many parts of the stonework do not match.[5]

The B7024 public road is carried over the River Doon by the New Bridge of Doon, a single-arch stone bridge built downstream of the old one in 1816 to cope with increasing traffic.[5][8] The old bridge was sold to the builders of the new bridge as a quarry for material, but money was raised to purchase the old bridge back, and the trustees of the new bridge decided to quarry somewhere else.[9]

In literature[edit]

Tam O’Shanter reaches Brig o'Doon, Robbie Burns Statue, Victoria Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia

The line of the cobbles in the roadway is cranked, due to the belief that this pattern would stop witches from crossing.[7]

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.[10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Historic Scotland IDWikidata Q19842847
  2. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "ALLOWAY (OFF), BRIG O'DOON  (Category A) (LB21474)". Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Scots Words and Place-Names :: Place-Name Glossary". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Ayr, Alloway, Brig O' Doon". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Ayr, Alloway, New Bridge of Doon". Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Banknote Design Features: Bank of Scotland Bridges Series". The Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Ayr, Alloway, Brig O' Doon". Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Brig o' Doon". Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  9. ^ Paterson, James (1840). The contemporaries of Burns: and the more recent poets of Ayrshire. H. Paton. p. 390.
  10. ^ Shelby, Barry (2010). Frommer's Edinburgh and Glasgow. John Wiley & Sons. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-470-97808-5.

External links[edit]

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