Archive for March, 2018


The Three Clyde Castles: March 2018

Paddlers: Geoff, Gordon, Colin, Steve T, Lee, Allan, Innes, Andy

Weather: Incredibly changeable. Millpond and warm sun on departure. Strong (F4) wind, cold and hailstones. Then sun again.

Route: 

Report:

This was a successful club trip about ten years ago and again proved ideal as a last minute, end of winter, paddle. The route includes three castles on the Upper Clyde, one very well known, one just known and one unknown. We set off in beautiful weather  in a flat calm at low tide at just after 10.30. This meant we were on the incoming tide and were expecting a light breeze behind us later in the day.

The crossing to Ardmore seemed long (it is!) and then on across the Clyde to Newark Castle (built 1458: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newark_Castle,_Port_Glasgow ) . This section of the journey took around 1hr 20 mins.

After a much deserved coffee break and quick scan of the outside of the castle (it was closed ) we headed off towards the huge rock on which stands Dumbarton Castle (originally built possibly 570AD  see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumbarton_Castle ). 

By now the breeze was getting up so our stay at the small beach by the castle entrance was relatively short.

The next section could not have been more different from the first. The breeze had turned into a wind and the whole area was shallow causing a lot of turbulence which was completely new (and a bit disturbing) to some of our paddlers.  To others the chance to surf downwind was taken.

The shore between Dumbarton and Bowling is a sad example of environmental damage and waste. With massive potential the land is unfit for use because of pollution from the oil storage. As we were passing the desolate jetties a huge barge with tugs front and back passed us heading for Rotterdam. 

Dunglass Castle is isolated on a rock promontory in the middle of the desolation and is now surrounded by security fencing fit for a nuclear base. The ruined sea facing walls date from 1380 (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunglass_Castle ) with the rear walls being incorporated in the mansion built around 1800.

In the middle of the castle is a huge monument to Henry Bell of Helensburgh fame. Sadly, this time we could not get in to see it.

From Dunglass we continued east past the old Bowling shipyards, which once built fibre-glass minesweepers, to the Bowling Basin. As anybody who has travelled on the train to Glasgow will know the Basin is a graveyard with the bones of ancient barges and ships semi-submerged in the mud. It remains a mystery why nobody has moved in, cleaned the basin and turned the whole area into an expensive marina.

The final paddle was under the Erskine Bridge to the lovely little beach by the Boden Boo Car Park where the cars were waiting for us. An excellent end to an excellent day covering the 24km in just over 5 hours .

News and Decisions, March 15th

Helensburgh Canoe Club

 

At its meeting 15the March the Club Committee agreed the following

  1. The AGM will take place on Tuesday 3rd April at 7.30pm in the Scout Hall, John St. Topics for the Photo Competition this year are a). Blue Skies and b) Dark Skies and must feature either a kayak/canoe or be taken from one. Nominations are requested for anyone interested in joining the committee.
  2. There will be a Beginners Trip next Saturday 24th March from Luss at 10am. Everybody is welcome but please let us know if you need equipment ASAP.
  3. Club evenings will begin Thursday 18th April and run every Thursday throughout the summer until October. In April, May and June there will be 3 ”groups” a) Young Beginners on the Course (Euan and Allan) b) Intermediate Paddlers (John, Gordon and Steve) and c) Sea Kayakers (Hugh and Geoff). The Intermediate Paddling group is a Skills Training Group with a river orientation and should be of particular interest to younger non-beginners.
  4. The Pool will still be available on Tuesdays throughout April, May and the first part of June for skills practice and for the Basic Skills for Young People The latter commences Tuesday 13th April and finishes with a weekend camp on 24th/25th June. It will be run by Euan Forrest and Allan Jones.
  5. Trip Programmes for River and Sea will be available at the AGM
  6. Midweek Trips will take place on Tuesdays from 26th March
  7. The Club is promoting the BCU/SCA Leadership stream and will be arranging a 1 day FSRT Course and a 2 Day PaddleSport Leader Course.