Best seen by those traveling to Greenock on the south side of the Clyde estuary, Dumbarton Castle is hard to appreciate from the north where it is hemmed in by the relics of an industrial past. The result is that most people whizz past Dumbarton on their way north to Loch Lomond and do not give the castle a second glance.
The site suffers from the remains of workshops and shipyards (where once the Cutty Sark was built). The surrounding area is neglected and blighted by graffiti. The rock itself, however, is a popular venue for climbers and there have been attempts made recently to tidy things up.
A consultation is now to take place on the long term future of the rock and the surrounding waterfront and how best to attract tourists.
Anciently called Alclud, (Rock of the Clyde), Dumbarton was always a fortress. It underwent many sieges until, with the Jacobite threat in the 18th century, the Hanovarians demolished the medieval castle and replaced it by a fort which lacks the charm of an Edinburgh or Stirling Castle. Herein lies Dumbarton's problem.
We can only wish them luck.
Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle
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