The National Trust is currently replacing the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge as part of its conservation commitment to the Causeway Coast’s maritime heritage.
The Rope Bridge at Carrick-a-Rede was first erected by salmon fishermen in 1755 and is now one of Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations. To ensure the ongoing safety of the hundreds of thousands of visitors who cross the bridge every year, the National Trust replace the rope bridge every five years.
Suspended almost 100 ft (30 m) above sea level, the first rope bridge, then a single hand-railed bridge, was first erected by salmon fishermen 350 years ago. The new bridge cost £6,000 and has been made by Heyn Engineering in Belfast, who also carry out bi-monthly maintenance checks on all parts of the bridge.
Frank Devlin, Countryside Manager for the National Trust explained: ‘This is part of our commitment to preserve maritime heritage on the north coast. ‘People often ask how strong the bridge is, the steel ropes each have a tested load strain of 10 tonnes so theoretically it could carry a bus!
‘The wood for the planks is a North American Pine, either Douglas Fir or Oregon Pine, which is structurally a very sound material for building as it has no knots and is very straight. I handpick the wood for the planks myself.
‘We are working with Heyn’s engineers to carry out the replacement, which, if all goes to plan, should be complete tomorrow and we’ll be back open again to visitors on Thursday morning.’
First Published by Coleraine Times