West Dunbartonshire

Alex Hale (RCAHMS) – West Dunbartonshire

Alex Hale, RCAHMS

Alex Hale, RCAHMS

 

Six places, in six kilometres, for six million people

 

‘Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011’.

‘Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011’.

Imagine time travelling along the River Clyde from Erskine Bridge to Dumbarton Rock, from the 19th century to prehistory and back again. The sights, sounds and smells would be mind-blowing. Without Dr Who’s tardis or Captain James T Kirk’s Starship Enterprise we are a bit stuck in today. So what is it about time travel that makes us want to do it?

Places from the past give us glimpses that we can enjoy, ignore, smell, touch and feel. But more than that, we can use places from the past to discover where we came from, make up stories about where we are going and look at the lives of people who have gone through similar and different experiences as us.

Here are six places along the River Clyde, within six kilometres of each other and right on the doorsteps of six million people (roughly the population of Glasgow). From East to West along the River Clyde in West Dunbartonshire:

  1. Bowling Basin at the West end of the Forth and Clyde Canal –DP011643 (also see the Scottish Canals website)
  2. Bowling HarbourSC124627 (harbour in 1927) and DP011642 (now in 2005). A vital harbour and ship-building yard, at the sea-canal interface.
  3. Dunglass Castle and memorial to Henry Bell, who built the first ever steam-driven vessel, the Comet – DP014231. The memorial was erected by the Lord provost of Glasgow who had been on the Comet’s maiden voyage and he wanted to commemorate Bell’s amazing achievement.
  4. The Lang Dyke- the massive wall that runs down the middle of the Clyde from Bowling to Dumbarton. Built in the 1770’s it allowed bigger vessels to make the journey upstream to Glasgow, rather than having to stop at Port Glasgow. For a good picture see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8899981@N05/8523950813/ and more information see: http://www.clydewaterfrontheritage.com/langdyke.aspx
  5. Dumbuck crannog– a 2000 year old wooden building, with wooden dock and log-boat!-DP046361
  6. Dumbarton Rock and CastleSC602891. Not only a 16th century garrison castle, but the at the highest point on the rock were found the remains of the Early Medieval fortifications of the power centre of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. (see also http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_100)
    Dumbarton Castle, Oblique aerial view from SW. © RCAHMS

    Dumbarton Castle, Oblique aerial view from SW. Copyright RCAHMS (SC602891)

    This is what I’ve chosen for Day of Archaeology, but why not tell us your favourite archaeological sites in Scotland on Twitter using #MyArchaeology.