Dumbarton and Ben Lomond from Dumbarton Castle

Dumbarton and Ben Lomond from Dumbarton Castle, Scotland

This evening, my focus is on the often overlooked town of Dumbarton, a place of great historic significance. The name derives from dun breatainn or ‘fort of the Britons’ from the time when the place was capital of the ancient British kingdom of Strathclyde which covered S.W.Scotland and parts of northern England during the 7th-9th centuries AD. At that time the language spoken was a form of Welsh.

The successor to the ancient fort of the Britons sits atop a volcanic outcrop on the bank of the River Clyde. It has a long tradition of military usage from the Wars of Independence, to Mary Queen of Scots, the Jacobite uprisings and defence against possible French attack. The castle was last occupied by the military in World War II when it was bombed by German aircraft.

The castle is open to the public and offers superb views  over the Clyde and to the Trossachs to those who are prepared to undertake the steep climb to the top.

The town of Dumbarton came to prominence in the 19th century with industries such as glassmaking, shipbuilding and whisky manufacture. Today, there still remain whisky bottling plants and bonded warehouses, with latter distinguished by the black fungus which covers the warehouse buildings.

River Leven at Dumbarton, Scotland

Surprisingly, Dumbarton is by-passed by the hordes of visitors in coach and car which year go past Dumbarton en-route to/from Loch Lomond and points further north. However, the more discerning visitor will be rewarded by a visit to the Castle and its attendant views and direct connection with a long period  of history.

When time permits I include a visit to Dumbarton Castle in my private tours.

Below is a view of the Clyde from a former gun battery.

River Clyde from Dumbarton Castle

River Clyde from Dumbarton Castle, Scotland

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