Saturday, January 01, 2011
Bowling down the Clyde in the Comet's wake.
entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal. The canal opened in 1790. We had to keep a high ferry angle as the ebb tide was fair bowling us along.
Scotts of Bowling yard was the birthplace of many fine wee ships, until its closure in 1978.
stood at Dunglass since 1838. Bell (1767-1830) was a steamship pioneer who launched the SS Comet in 1812 at Port Glasgow. He established a steam ship passenger service, which undoubtedly helped catalyse the development of the shipping industry on the Clyde. Unfortunately he wasn't much of a businessman and he died in poverty but even shortly after his death, his peers recognised the importance of his contribution nto the marine developments on the Clyde and elsewhere in the World. He assisted American, Robert Fulton, to introduced a steamboat service in New York
Esso oil terminal. It continued in use till the 1980's but has been made redundant by bigger tankers and the deep water terminal at Finnart in Loch Long.
Lang Dyke. This 750m long wall was constructed in mid river by John Golborn in 1773. It directed the flow of the river, away from the shallows to the south, towards the north shore and natural scouring deepened the channel.
Dumbarton Rock is a 73m high volcanic plug formed of basalt. It forms an ideal defensive position with the Clyde on one side and the River Leven on the other. From the south, Dumbarton Castle can be seen nestling in a cleft in the rock. It is one of Britain's longest used defensive sites. Roman wine amphora have been excavated here, though nowadays you are more likely to find empty bottles of Buckfast, some things do not change over the millennia. The building at the shore with the snow covered roof is the Bowling Club and its car park is one of the recognised water access points for kayakers on the Clyde estuary. The derelict ground to the right of the Bowling club was a Flying Boat factory in WW2, it made 260 Short Sunderland Flying Boats. Only the slipway remains.
Cutty Sark in 1869 and the World's first steam turbine driven passenger ship, the TS King Edward. The final Dumbarton yard was Denny's, which closed in 1964 after a foray into hovercraft producing the Denny D2, the World's first commercial passenger hovercraft the "hover bus" in 1963.
There has been so much innovation on the Clyde and so many World firsts and all in the wake of the Comet. Now a snowy winter afternoon, the only wakes on the river were those of our three kayaks....