Swan on Forth & Clyde Canal


This morning, I joined a small group of hikers who followed a route in West Central Scotland (Renfrewshire and Dumbartonshire) which was centred on the village of Erskine.

Superficially, the area is a quasi-industrial and populated with high density residential housing. However, scratch below the surface and there is extensive history, geology, a famous bridge and much more, viz:

  • Nature: We encountered swans, fungi and rowan trees heavily laden with bright red berries.
  • History: There is firm evidence of occupation going back at least 2000 years. In the River Clyde there are remains of an iron-age Crannog, the Romans built fortifications in both first and second centuries AD.,Dumbarton Rock was a fortified power base of the Kingdom of Strathclyde in the first millennium, the Forth & Clyde Canal was built in the late 18th century which was followed by the industrial period, a railway and shipbuilding.
  • Geology: The cliffs behind Erskine were formed from basalt lava flows during the Carboniferous Period, about 340 m years ago.
  • Engineering: The 4336 feet (1321m) long Erskine Bridge was built to replace a ferry crossing during 1967-71. The design is categorised as cable-stayed box girder. It carries high volumes of traffic and, on a macabre note, is popular with persons wishing to end their lives by suicide.
  • Culture: Erskine is derived from yr ysgyn (‘green ascent’) This is a form of Welsh which was spoken in the area about 1500 years ago.
  • Recreation: When crossing the bridge we were able to look down on Erskine Golf Club.

Fortunately, our trip coincided with mild temperatures and sunshine.


Finding the way


Fungi, Scotland

Firth of Clyde with Dumbarton Rock in distance

Terraced lava cliffs overlooking Erskine, Scotland

Old Kilpatrick, Scotland

Play in progress at Erskine Golf Club


Sign marking Old Kilpatrick Roman Fort at western end of the Antonine Wall ( 2nd century AD)

Erskine Bridge, Scotland

Suicide help lines on Erskine Bridge

Erskine Bridge at Old Kilpatrick, Scotland

Hiking group walking from Erskine to Clydebank on Forth & Clyde Canal

Former military shipbuilding yard at Dalmuir, Scotland

Dalmuir Drop-lock on Forth & Clyde Canal, Scotland

Rowan berries at Dalmuir, Scotland

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