Things to do in Dumbarton, Central Scotland
The name Dumbarton means "Fort of the Britons" and Dumbarton Castle still rules from its perch on top of Dumbarton Rock.The King of Clyde Rock was mentioned several times in historic records dating back to 658 AD.
Dumbarton's strategic position and rocky vantage point made it the obvious choice as the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde and a Royal burgh from 1222 until 1975.
The town was affected badly by the Black Death plague in 1350 and by a town-wide fire in 1424.
By the 17th century things were looking better as Dumbarton developed as an important port. By 1800 it was also the largest producer of glass in Scotland and was famous for whisky distilling.
It became a major shipbuilding centre with many shipyards along the coastline as part of the shipbuilding boom on the Clyde.Cutty Sark, one of the fastest Tea Clippers ever built. In 1818 Rob Roy was launched and became the first steam powered ferry to serve the English Channel crossing.
All these industries have largely declined leaving Dumbarton as a dormitory town for Glasgow, 13 miles to the south east. The last major shipyard, still carrying the Denny name, closed in 1963.
Along with the shipyards of Glasgow, Dumbarton was heavily bombed during World War II and whole areas had to be rebuilt after the war.
Present Day Dumbarton
Dumbarton had a population of almost 20,000 in 2006, which had declined from 20,500 in 2001. Outside the town, high-rise apartments look out over the River Leven.
It was not entirely a charitable gesture as it prevented the Singer Sewing Machine Company from building a factory on the land which would have led to the Denny's losing their monopoly on the Dumbarton workforce.
Dumbarton is well served by trains on both the West Highland Line and the North Clyde Line from the category A station listed building.
BBC Scotland's drama studios are in Dumbarton and are where various dramas and soaps such as River City are produced.
Things to Do Around Dumbarton
Dumbarton Castle is the main attraction. It has an interesting history, switching from Scottish to English ownership and back again.William Wallace and more recently it was visited by Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.
The Rock itself is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and although it can be admired, activities such as climbing the rock are forbidden.Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank. The Governor's House Museum is also worth a visit.