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Eas Dé

Photographs of Eas Dé Show on Bing Maps 

Eas DéEas Dé - 14th July 2009

Eas Dé is a geographical feature on the Dé where the river has cut through a shelf of schistose rock across its course forming a narrow, but deep channel.  Deep, dark pools run downstream from the bridge to the confluence with the Laoigh with the Dé.

I think it interesting that the common name Linn of Dee is a Scoticisation, rather than an Anglicisation - a Scoticisation that emphasises the narrowness of the river rather than its change in height as the Gaelic name does.  

From our 21st century view – one might see the Linn as an obvious site for a bridge over the Dé, and assume a bridge had 'always' stood here.  But apparently – to earlier generations the need for a bridge here wasn’t so obvious.  I’m guessing the need for a bridge didn’t become obvious until the ‘tourist age’ in the early 19th century.  As late as the second decade of the 19th century there was no bridge at all – in Keith (1811) – the author writes :    

… the river is suddenly contracted by two rocks (one on each side of it) at a place called the Linn, so that a person can easily jump across it : and a small plank of wood is laid as a bridge for the timorous

– Keith (1811) (p63)

The first ‘proper’ bridge was built sometime after Keith’s visit.  This first bridge was wooden, and the Muckle Spate of 1829 destroyed it.  Sometime in the 1850s the present attractive granite bridge was commissioned, and on September 8th 1857 it was opened in 1857 by Queen Victoria who records the event in Victoria (1877) - writing :

we started in “Highland state” – Albert in a royal Stuart plaid, and I and the girls in skirts of the same, – with the ladies (who had only returned at five in the morning from the ball at Mar Lodge) and gentlemen, for the Linn of Dee, to open the new bridge there. The valley looked beautiful. A triumphal arch was erected, at which Lord Fife and Mr. Brooke received us, and walked near the carriage, pipers playing – the road lined with Duff men. On the bridge Lady Fife received us, and we drank in whisky “prosperity to the bridge.”

– Victoria (1877) (p118)

James Duff, 4th Earl Fife had died on the 9th of March 1857 – so it’s not a huge-leap to assume it was he who commissioned the bridge, and that the Lord, and Lady Fife referred to are his nephew and heir James Duff, 5th Earl Fife, and his wife Agnes. Interestingly – their son Alexander, the boy who’d become the 6th Earl Fife, was about 7 years old at the time, and could have been present at the opening. If he was, he may have been presented to his future ‘grandmother-mother-in-law’ that day, because he was also to marry an as yet unborn granddaughter of Victoria.