The Brigs of Cumnock
In Cumnock there are several places we walk over most days but pay scant attention to them unless they are impassable or flooded. There are over 12 brigs throughout Cumnock which span both the Glaisnock and Lugar waters and help up get about and in and out of town.
Spans the Glaisnock Water and connects Greenholm Road and Townhead Street. Situated at the Townhead Car Park. Replaced several other brigs of the same name and named after Betty Goldie who was saved for drowning from her house near the brig in 1898. Was replaced by the present brig in the 1970s.
Spans the Glaisnock Water at the Dub where the Glaisnock and the Lugar Water meet. The original old stone brig had two spans and was about a third of the width of the present bridge. Widened in 1963 as part of the Tanyard demolition. Some parts of the old brig still remain on the Dub side, if you look closely enough. New Bridge Street took its name from it.
Spans the Glaisnock Water at Glaisnock Street and Tower Street, in a spot called the Gorbals. This wide brig also replaced an earlier one in the mid 1800s and is almost invisible as Glaisnock street passes straight over it and several shops are built over the west side. The brig was partially re-built, widened and strengthened in December 1977. The sandstone span can still be seen from the shopping precinct and the two smaller modern brigs, the Spittin’ Brigs just upstream.
Greenholm brig spans the Glaisnock Water and connects Greenholm Road and Townhead Street at the Asda Car Park. Built in 1940/1950s. Built by Tubewrights Ltd in Monmouthshire, Wales. The firm was established in 1939 as a subsidiary of steel tube makers Stewarts & Lloyds. A new Tubewrights factory opened at Kirkby, Liverpool, in 1954 but was closed down in 1966.
Joe’s Brig spanned the Glaisnock Water just downstream from the Greenholm Brig at Asda. It was named after Joe Hunter or Pottery Joe who worked at Cumnock Pottery and who campaigned for a bridge over the Glaisnock to replace the stepping-stone ford her at Greenholm. Demolished in the late 1960s early 1970s.
Spans the Glaisnock Water and connects Ayr Road car park. Built in 1978 to commemorate Keir McTurk the 2th Provost of Cumnock Provost from 1963-1966 and Town Councillor from 1947 until 1972.
Spans the Lugar Water at the Congregational Church on Auchinleck Road. Built in 1864 of red sandstone and with one span, this replaced an earlier two span brig built in 1753 that replaced what was then known as Stepends Ford. It was widened in 2006 to accommodate two pavements and new handrail.
From Warrick’s the History of Old Cumnock 1899
In the year 1753 a bridge was thrown over the Lugar at Stepends. In all likelihood, it was the first which was built. It met, however, with an untimely end, and brought sudden death to a number of workmen engaged in its construction. The incident is told in the Scots Magazine of that year. "On the 8th August several workmen employed in building a bridge over the Lugar at Cumnock in the shire of Air, in order to shelter themselves from a heavy shower of rain, went in under a new finished arch from which the cumb or timber arch had been taken away the day before. All of a sudden the arch fell; by which four men and four boys were killed, three had their legs broken, several others were hurt, and a horse was killed. This is thought to have been occasioned by the arch being too low. It was fifty-five feet wide, and had but eight feet of spring." It is somewhat singular that when the present bridge was being constructed over the Lugar at the same place, an accident of a similar nature took place, though happily without loss of life.
The Rifleman's Bridge spanned 75 feet over Lugar Water upstream from the Templand Viaduct and Mote Hill at the Lugar Glen, a favourite picturesque spot for families on the 1940s to the 1960s. This neat lattice girder bridge was manufactured by George McCartney and Company, Engineers, at their workshops in Cumnock. The company was under control of the Taylor brothers, Charles and Andrew, who can be seen posing for the photograph, one standing by the bridge and the other underneath the bridge to the right. The name Rifleman's Bridge stems from the fact that the bridge was once used by Cumnock Territorial Army Corps for rifle practice. The Territorials were keen shots and also had a rifle range near Lugar village. Rifleman's Bridge was gone by the 1950s.