‘Love locks’ to be re­moved

The Herald - - POLITICS -

Fas­ten­ing pad­locks to bridges has be­come a global

tra­di­tion. But one Scots bridge is about to have all of its “love locks” re­moved, writes MAU­REEN SUGDEN

IT is a tra­di­tion said to date back to the First World War, where be­sot­ted part­ners fas­ten pad­locks to bridges and throw away the keys in a sym­bolic ges­ture of en­dur­ing love that can­not be bro­ken.

But love is on the rocks in a pop­u­lar Scot­tish tourist town af­ter the coun­cil de­cided to re­move the “love locks” from the lo­cal foot­bridge amid safety con­cerns.

The Port-na-craig sus­pen­sion foot­bridge in Pit­lochry, Perth and Kin­ross, spans the River Tum­mel, link­ing the town to Port-na-craig on the op­po­site bank.

The bridge, which opened in 1913, has be­come a hot-spot for vis­i­tors to ex­press their af­fec­tion for their part­ner, or to mark the pass­ing of a loved one, by fix­ing per­son­alised pad­locks to the struc­ture.

In 2013, all the locks were taken off ahead of a £275,000 makeover of the bridge, but now Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil have said they are to re­move the locks per­ma­nently.

Work will be­gin on Mon­day and the locks will be stored at Pit­lochry Li­brary for four weeks to al­low their own­ers the op­por­tu­nity to col­lect them.

Sheena Bren­nan, owner of Pit­lochry Hard­ware Store, where peo­ple buy the locks and can have them per­son­ally en­graved, said: “I think it’s a shame, the coun­cil should of­fer an al­ter­na­tive.

“We’ve been sell­ing love locks in our store for a num­ber of years and it’s mainly tourists that do it, who have prob­a­bly seen it else­where and abroad.

“Why don’t they put up a fence along the river near the bridge that’s du­alpur­pose for safety and for peo­ple to at­tach their locks?”

Love locks are said to have orig­i­nated in the Ser­bian town of Vrnja ka Banja, where just be­fore the First World War, a young of­fi­cer and schoolmistress fell in love.

They would meet nightly at the lo­cal bridge, but when he went to war in Greece, he fell in love with an­other woman, end­ing his en­gage­ment.

His for­mer love died of heart­break, the leg­end main­tains, and su­per­sti­tious lo­cal women be­gan go­ing to the bridge, writ­ing their names with their lovers’ names on pad­locks, and lock­ing them to the bridge, in the hope that it would bind their paramours to home.

The tra­di­tion spread and in Paris in June 2014, part of the para­pet of the world fa­mous Pont Des Arts bridge col­lapsed un­der the weight of the grow­ing num­ber of locks that had been fixed on to it – more than a mil­lion of them.

Ty­ing a “love lock” on to the Pont des Arts be­fore throw­ing the key into the River Seine be­neath had be­come a tourist high­light in re­cent years.

French of­fi­cials acted, re­mov­ing some 7,500 ki­los of locks af­ter the in­ci­dent and later launch­ing a de­ter­rent pro­gramme, re­plac­ing sev­eral sec­tions of rail­ings on the bridge with see-through pan­els they hoped would make it im­pos­si­ble to at­tach locks to.

How­ever, as well as still fix­ing locks to the nearby Leopold-sedar-sen­ghor foot­bridge, cou­ples then be­gan to scrawl mes­sages and love­hearts on the per­spex.

Preser­va­tion group No Love Locks said: “Un­for­tu­nately, no mat­ter what ob­vi­ous ef­forts the city has made to stop love locks on the Pont des Arts, peo­ple still at­tempt to hang locks there.

“It’s a real mid­dle fin­ger from some thought­less tourists to the peo­ple of Paris.”

Back in Scot­land, a spokes­woman for Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil in­sisted that there was no killjoy el­e­ment, say­ing: “The work is be­ing car­ried out as the ex­tent of the pad­locks is now such that it is pre­vent­ing full in­spec­tion of the bridge and its struc­tural el­e­ments.

“They are also caus­ing dam­age to the bridge paint­work, lead­ing to rust­ing of steel sec­tions, as well as pos­ing a po­ten­tial snag­ging haz­ard for pedes­tri­ans.

“The re­moval of the locks and touchups to the bridge paint­work are ex­pected to be com­pleted, weather per­mit­ting, by Thurs­day, Novem­ber 22.

“Port-na-craig foot­bridge will re­main open to the pub­lic at all times dur­ing the lock re­moval and paint­ing works.”

She added: “Ad­di­tion­ally, signs will be erected at ei­ther end of the bridge ad­vis­ing that any love locks placed on the bridge in fu­ture will be re­moved, for the rea­sons stated above.”

I think it’s a shame, the coun­cil should of­fer an al­ter­na­tive

„ All the locks are to be re­moved from Port-na-craig sus­pen­sion bridge in Pit­lochry be­cause of safety con­cerns.

„ Part of Paris’s Pont des Arts para­pet fell off.

„ Love locks on Glas­gow’s Trade­ston bridge.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.