THE concrete carbuncle haters and those who get upset at the use of the Gaelic language in a part of the country where it is the native tongue are going to get very annoyed at Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

In a first for the agency, they have legally renamed a bridge in Sutherland into Gaelic – and declared the concrete structure from the 1980s to be an A-listed construction.

Now named Drochaid a’ Chaolais Chumhaing, what will still also be known as Kylesku Bridge has been listed as a Category A structure by HES, thus joining the Highland A-list that includes Skibo and Dunvegan Castles and the Glenfinnan “Harry Potter” railway viaduct, among other buildings and structures.

The iconic Drochaid a’ Chaolais Chumhaing/Kylesku Bridge curves across the deep sea inlet of An Caolas Cumhang on Loch a’ Chairn Bhain – it once featured in an IKEA advert, and you don’t get much more iconic than that.

It has also become a popular stop on the North Coast 500 route due to the breathtaking views from the car park at one end of the bridge.

The bridge’s new HES Category A comes after it was recognised as being of special architectural interest.

HES says it is “one of Scotland’s most visually striking and technically innovative modern concrete bridges.”

Designed by Ove Arup and built at a cost of £5.3 million, the main contractors were Morrison Construction Ltd in conjunction with Lehane, MacKenzie and Shand – the latter also being responsible for the Erskine Bridge that opened in 1971.

Spanning a total length of 276 metres, the bridge comprises a central span of 132m, flanked by two smaller spans of 72m. The portal frame means it has navigable clearance of 24m along its length. It replaced a ferry service that ran across the inlet.

The HES designation states: “The distinctive sculptural form of the bridge means that it is instantly recognisable and provides a dramatic contrast to the rugged Highland landscape setting.”

HES says the quality of the design and method of construction have been recognised through a number of prestigious awards, including the Scottish Award for Civil Engineering Construction and the Concrete Society Award.

The decision follows a consultation by HES and Highland Council.

Elizabeth McCrone, head of designations at HES, said: “Drochaid a’ Chaolais Chumhaing/Kylesku Bridge is one of Scotland’s most architecturally distinguished bridges of the second half of the 20th century, and is among the most outstanding of its type in the country.

“As well as its architectural significance, the bridge is also an emotive and poignant reminder of the modernisation such civil engineering projects brought to remote areas of the Highlands, and the subsequent impact they had on traditional ways of life.

“Today, the significance of Drochaid a’ Chaolais Chumhaing/Kylesku Bridge is reflected in its growing status as tourist attraction along the North Coast 500 route.

“We’re delighted to recognise its national importance with Category A status.”

Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Chair of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Strategy and Implementation Group, said: “Historically most of the residents in the local area were Gaelic speakers, and the area is culturally rich in Gaelic song and stories.

“It is therefore appropriate that this bridge is the first in the Highland area to be renamed in Gaelic, the indigenous language of the Highlands.”