MSP’s anger as vandals attack historic bridge

The newly refurbished Tweed Bridge has already been vandalised.
The newly refurbished Tweed Bridge has already been vandalised.

A Selkirkshire councillor has condemned vandalism to the Old Tweed Bridge near Selkirk as thoughtless and stupid.

Blue graffiti was recently discovered at the newly refurbished bridge, expected to open next month.

Work began to repair the 185-year-old bridge in November 2015 as it had fallen into a poor state since A7 traffic was diverted onto the replacement bridge in the 1970s.

Vandals attacked the category B-listed structure with paint across the top of the bridge walls and over the new plaque.

Selkirkshire councillor, and list MSP, Michelle Ballantyne, said: “It is hard to understand why anyone would think this was a clever or funny thing to do.

“It was a thoughtless and stupid thing to do and it is the community who pays the cost. so if you know who’s responsible, please let the police know.”

A spokesman for Amey said: “The damage wasn’t very extensive and has cleared off quite quickly, it hasn’t delayed the works in any way and it is still on schedule, probably to open next month. The incident was reported to Police Scotland and there is security on the site which we have asked to monitor a bit more.”

He added: Obviously it is very sad to see as it is a very historical bridge and it is a shame that some people have chosen to do that.”

“The police are aware of it now and are going to pay attention that.”

Just a mile upstream from his home at Abbotsford, the bridge was opened by Sir Walter Scott in 1832 as one of his last public duties before his death.

It was used as the main link between Selkirk and Galashiels for 140 years.

Ongoing repairs have seen the spandrel walls and over-arches removed for a new concrete saddle which was installed prior to the walls being reinstated.

The external masonry is also being cleaned and repointed with traditional grout.

The bridge was built, along with another nearby structure, by Darnick building company John and Thomas Smith at a total cost of £2,500.