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Former Canal Aqueduct over Black Burn, Kinaldie

A Category C Listed Building in Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone, Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.228 / 57°13'40"N

Longitude: -2.2791 / 2°16'44"W

OS Eastings: 383247

OS Northings: 815288

OS Grid: NJ832152

Mapcode National: GBR XG.06X5

Mapcode Global: WH8P3.YLW8

Entry Name: Former Canal Aqueduct over Black Burn, Kinaldie

Listing Date: 6 December 2019

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 407266

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52533

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Dyce/Kinellar

County: Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone

Parish: Dyce, Kinellar

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The former canal aqueduct over Black Burn was constructed between 1798 and 1805 and designed by John Rennie to carry the Aberdeenshire Canal and its associated traffic over the Black Burn as a navigable aqueduct. It was adapted in the late 19th century to be used a road bridge.

The surviving structure is orientated east-west and measures 5.5m long by 4.5m high from the ground level on the burn side. The former aqueduct is composed primarily of light grey granite with a low stone arch or 'bridge-hole' of 19 voussoirs. Through this arch on the southern side a cut-water funnels the Black Burn under the aqueduct while two stone walls, set at a 90-degree angle to the bridge, support the banks of the Black Burn. Above the arch are seven courses of ashlar stone blocks, capped by a course of flat copping stones, slightly wider than those beneath. The arch and lower two courses have a rough tooled surface while the remaining courses have a rubbed finish.

The northern wall of the aqueduct retains its original wing shape built to accommodate the earthen banks of the canal. The southern wall has had part of its wing wall removed and the construction of a linear stone extension on the western approach. The eastern approach has also lost a portion of its wing which has been replaced by a wooden fence.

Historical development

The construction the Aberdeenshire Canal Navigation began with the passing of an Act of Parliament in 1798 which was announced in the Aberdeen Press and Journal in February of the same year (Aberdeen Press and Journal, 1789). Construction work continued for the next 7 years until the canal was opened on 31st May 1805.

The canal ran from Waterloo Quay to Port Elphinstone near Inverurie and this route can be traced through map evidence, along with the crossing at Kinaldie. Originally 5.18m wide by 0.91m deep the canal was eventually increased to 7m and 1.17m (Graham 1968,171) and was built for £50,000 (New Statistical Account 1845, 663). The Aberdeenshire canal first appears on James Robertson's Topographical and Military Map of the Counties of Aberdeenshire, Banff and Kincardine, North East Section, of 1822. Here the canal is shown to cross the Black Burn at the location of the Kinaldie bridge.

The canal's construction was funded mainly by the landholders along its route. By the 1830s these subscribers had still made no interest on their investment (New Statistical Account, 683-4) and the canal was purchased that same year by the Great North of Scotland Railway, which started construction of the line in 1849. During this time parts of the canal continued to be used until it was finally closed in 1854. (Graham 1967-8, 172).

The canal closed in 1854. Alexander Gibb's map of 1858 shows that for the most part the railway followed the original line of the old canal, including a crossing at the Black Burn. It is at this stage that two walls associated with the railway bridge were built; these abut the northern wing wall of the canal aqueduct at a right angle and retain the sheer channel of the burn.

The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map 25" 1865 provides a more detailed view of the crossing arrangement showing two distinct crossings over the burn; a larger and more substantial bridge railway to the north and the former canal bridge now used as an access to an adjacent field. By the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey, 1899, the canal bridge had been modified to carry a road which heads north-south along the course of the burn.

In the 20th century the former canal aqueduct continued in use as a road bridge. By the 21st century part of the south wing wall on the eastern approach had been lost and replaced by a wooden fence.

Statement of Interest

Former Canal Aqueduct over Black Burn, Kinaldie, Aberdeenshire meets the criteria of special architectural or historic interest for the following reasons:

Architectural interest


The former canal aqueduct is the design of the prolific Scottish engineer John Rennie (Haynes 2015,16; Graham 1968, 171) who has made a significant contribution to the early canal infrastructure in Scotland.

Canal aqueducts are defined by their outward-curving wing walls visible on the approach. This example is typical of canal aqueduct engineering of the period and largely retains its original form with original wing walls on its northern face and on the western approach of the southern face. On plan, these wing walls curve outwards to produce an hour glass affect.

The canal aqueduct has been built of light grey granite, characteristic of the Aberdeenshire area, held together with a lime mortar. The later east-west extension is of loosely coursed rubble and field stones capped by dressed whinstone saddle copping.

This canal aqueduct illustrates the employment of technology and engineering characteristic of the period to improve the country s transport network and is part of a wider trend of nationally significant infrastructure projects that would characterise the late 18th and early 19th century.


The canal aqueduct is situated to the south of Kinaldie Home Farm in a rural area of flat land with fields to the west, east and south and the railway line which runs east-west. It is the only visible physical remains of the canal in the immediate area and has lost much of its original setting.

The canal aqueduct over the Bucks Burn forms part of the same network of historic structures related to the Aberdeenshire Canal but it is not inter-visible.

Historic interest

Age and rarity

By the mid-18th century Scotland had a network of turnpike and highland military roads. However, these roads were often in a poor state of repair and for over one hundred years even in the most populated parts of the country, goods could only be transported on horseback instead of by carriage for most of the year (Haynes 2015, 14).

Canals were believed to be the solution to the unreliable road system and between 1760-1840 a period of intense construction began which would later be dubbed canal mania . The Aberdeenshire Canal was the largest contour canal in Scotland running for 18 miles (Haynes 2015, 16). Contour canals are not deep and maintain their level by following the lay of the land, usually they do not connect with the sea (Haynes 2015, 7), however, in 1834 a tidal lock was added to the Aberdeenshire Canal to provide access to the sea in Aberdeen (Graham 1968, 171). When a canal met a body of water such as a burn or river an aqueduct, such as that by Kinaldie, would be required to carry the channel and the canal barges over the natural obstacle.

The remains of the Kinaldie aqueduct is one of only two surviving aqueducts related to the Aberdeenshire Canal and also a rare surviving element of Scotland s historic canal infrastructure. Along the line of the former Aberdeenshire Canal there were originally five aqueducts (Graham 196, 171) now only two remain: the former canal aqueduct at Kinaldie and another which crosses the Bucks Burn and has also been converted into a road bridge (Canmore ID 216250).

Scotland has five surviving canals: The Monkland Canal; the Union Canal; the Forth and Clyde canal; the Caledonian Canal and the Crinan canal. Only two of which are contour canals. (Haynes 2015, 7). Built between 1798 and 1805 the Aberdeenshire Canal sits in the middle of Scotland s canal mania and is one of the seven large scale multi use canals; postdating the completion of the Monkland Canal (1772), Forth and Clyde Canal (1790) and predating the Crinan Canal (1809); Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan Canal (1811); Union Canal (1824) and Caledonian Canal (1847) (Haynes 2015, 16, 17, 31, 48, 66, 84, 94).

Social historical interest

As a direct consequence of the building of the Aberdeenshire Canal and the subsequent Great North of Scotland Railway which follows its route, the country between Aberdeen and Inverurie was opened to the efficient movements of goods and people year-round. In 1845 the New Statistical Account of Scotland highlights the value of this undertaking

[T]he main cause of the increase and prosperity of Inverury is, without question, the Aberdeenshire Canal, which has conferred on it many of the advantages of a sea-port." (New Statistical Account of Scotland 1845, 683).

However, this was not the only settlement to benefit with its economic value to wider county noted as well (New Statistical Account of Scotland 1845, 663). Hamlets and villages along its route grew as economic opportunities were seized and industries expanded, taking advantage of this new faster, cheaper, means of moving goods and people as well as providing efficient drainage and irrigation of the surround countryside (Haynes 2015, 15-16).

Though perhaps not a directly successful investment for the surrounding landholders the canal had achieved its aim "to cheapen imported fuel and manure, to promote the improvement of land by reducing the amount of labour devoted to peat-cutting, and to encourage the exploitation of quarries and timber." (Graham 1968, 171).

The Aberdeenshire Canal also carried granite, lime, coal, bark, agricultural products and passengers (Haynes 2015, 16). The aqueduct at Kinaldie was a key point on this route. In 1808 it was advertised as a place by which the Aberdeen and Inverurie Fly Boat would pass, collecting passengers and luggage (Aberdeen Press and Journal 1808). Its importance would be reflected in its choice as the location for a train station with the coming of the railway in the 1850s.

Today, the canal bridge and its associated bridge of the Bucks Burn (LB52534) is a tangible link to Scotland s historic canal infrastructure.

Association with people or events of national importance

There are no associations with people or events of national importance.

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