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River Spean facts for kids

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River Spean
Waterfall on the River Spean near Achluachrach - - 476177.jpg
Waterfall on the Spean near Achluachrach
River Spean is located in Lochaber
River Spean
Location of the mouth within Lochaber
Country Scotland
Physical characteristics
Main source Loch Laggan
River mouth River Lochy
56°54′34″N 4°59′05″W / 56.90956°N 4.98479°W / 56.90956; -4.98479

The River Spean flows from Loch Laggan in a westerly direction to join the River Lochy at Gairlochy in the Great Glen in the West Highlands of Scotland. Major tributaries of the Spean include the left-bank Abhainn Ghuilbinn and River Treig, the right-bank River Roy and the left-bank river known as The Cour. The river is accompanied by the A86 road for almost its entire length, running from (upper) Loch Laggan west to Spean Bridge. The river is spanned by a bridge carrying the A82 road near its junction with the A86 at Spean Bridge. A minor road bridges the Spean just above the falls at Inverlair. Two further road crossings exist - a private estate road across the short stretch of river between upper Loch Laggan and the Laggan reservoir and a road traversing the top of Laggan Dam. The West Highland Line crosses the river near Tulloch Station and follows its north bank before re-crossing a mile to the east of Spean Bridge. A branch of the railway formerly continued west beside the river from Spean Bridge, crossing it once again to the west of the village.

At the end of the last ice age, Glen Spean and Glen Roy contained lakes dammed by ice with a surface elevation of 260m at one point. The ice dam collapsed catastrophically around 11,500 years ago and 5 cubic kilometres of floodwater appear to have drained along the line of the Spean gorge occupied by the modern river.

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