KELSO SWING BRIDGE
The first bridge over the river at Kelso was built in 1876, and when successive floods attacked the structure, it was lowered.
However, the residents missed the convenience of crossing the river at the old point.
So a petition was set up to ask for some access to be given, so the swing bridge was later built in the same spot.
This too was doomed.
A daring horsewoman was once reported to have set her unwilling steed at the bridge - with dire results.
The horse put its legs through the openings.
No crossing was made that day.
Many feet, young and old, trod over it.
Faint proof of its existence may still be seen down the gorge.
Another year or two and the old rotting piles will be dust, just as the old traffic bridge has mouldered away.
School boys as snail-like as any of Shakespeare’s day pranced confidently across, peering down for any signs of trout.
Their cautious sisters, hair neatly braided and ‘pinnies’ spotless, would cross sedately and with perhaps a fleeting glance at the water below.
Colourful tales are told of revellers - hardy types of the old school of drinkers - who patronised the bridge in the early hours of the morning, so unstable of foot that they had to resort to crossing on all fours.
A party of picnickers was said to have crossed the swing-bridge seconds before it collapsed.
The roads were hot and dusty in bygone summer days and there was no school bus to whisk the small travellers safely home out of harm’s way.
The water was cool and tempting and tragedies happened.
From the late Renton Kerse and Kismet for Kelso written by May Brownlie, published 1992.