Bowling Harbour Ship Graveyard
There's a certain fascination with abandoned shipping. There are a few places along the Clyde to view these deteriorating hulks with one of the best known being Bowling Basin.
Bowling is at the Western end of the Forth and Clyde Canal. The canal and its basin are well maintained with a host of brightly painted craft moored along its banks.
However, just immediately west of the canal basin is a harbour with a very different appearance. Known as the Ships Graveyard, Bowling harbour is host to a number of rotting vessels.
The harbour was used for scrapping small ships in the period after 1945. After that it fell into disuse. Some boats remained and were joined by others. In 2001 a survey of the harbour recorded 21 abandoned wrecks. A list of them and more details about the harbour can be found on the Canmore site here: canmore.org.uk/site/102460/unknown-bowling-harbour-river-clyde.
They comprise an assortment of trawlers, life boats, pleasure boats and coasters. Some are so rotted they are unidentifiable.
Several wrecks have been cleared from the site in recent years but many still remain - providing interesting photographic material. Best visited when the tide is low.
Wrecks on River Leven at Dumbarton
On the River Leven at Dumbarton, just before its confluence with the Clyde and very close to where the famous Cutty Sark ship was built lie a number of interesting shipwrecks.
The site is again best viewed at low tide as little can be seen when the water is high.
The boats have obviously been lying for a number of years. Others close by have sunk beneath the waves and only small elements of their structures poke above the water as a warning to passing craft.
To the left of the picture was lay the famous Denny's shipyard where the Cutty Sark among many other famous ships were built. The Cutty Sark, one of few surviving clippers is preserved at Greenwich near London. Little of Denny Shipyard remains - except the building which housed test tank and board room. This has now become part of the Scottish Maritime Museum which is well worth a visit.
Close by and still in view of the castle lies the remains of a steam trawler and a couple of what look like pleasure craft. It is hard to discern exactly what these boats were and how long they have been lying here but it has been speculated that the steam trawler was abandoned in 1953.
Dumbarton has been going through some remarkable renovations in the last few years. Buildings have been tidied up and revived whilst some of the more derelict properties have been demolished. The waterfront is now being spruced up with the addition of blocks of modern flats and a river walkway. Surely it can't be long before these wrecks are cleared away.