The southern shores of Loch Lomond open into a broad, fertile valley that wends itís way alongside the fast flowing River Leven. Several small villages overlook the river as it continues its journey to the sea via Dumbarton and the Firth of Clyde.

Dumbarton, capital of the Ancient Britonsí once powerful kingdom of Strathclyde, is steeped in history, myth and legend. Itís name derives from Dun Breatann meaning fortress of the Britons - an ancient tribe who gave their name to these islands. At itís peak the kingdom of Strathclyde extended from the shores of Loch Lomond as far south as Morecambe Bay in the north west of England. Dumbarton as the capital of this mighty kingdom was a place of some significance, as was itís imposing cliff-top fortress.

Dumbarton Castle, once thought to have been the birth of Irelandís patron saint, St Patrick, as well as an outpost of the Antonine Wall, has links with many famous Scots, including William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots, who set sail from here in 1548 to marry the Dauphin of France. One of the most unusual legends concerning the castle suggests that it was the residence of the mighty King Arthur. It is reputed that in the Middle Ages the castle was known as Arthurís Castle, perhaps for a time, it was also known as Camelot!

In the twelfth century King Malcolm IV created the Earldom of Lennox (originally Levenax - relating to the River Leven) whose family stronghold was for a time at Balloch Castle, on the southern shore of Loch Lomond. The Earls of Lennox were the hereditary keepers of Dumbarton Castle.

Today, Dumbarton is a modern town bustling with life and activity. The town is one of Scotlandís leading whisky bottling and blending centres. Yet for many the hey-day of Dumbarton was not in the mists of the Middle Ages but during the Industrial Revolution. At one time there were as many as half a dozen ship yards in Dumbarton, the most significant of which was Wm. Denny and Brothers (1844-1963). It was this shipyard that completed the famous tea clipper ĎCutty Sarkí (now docked at Greenwich, London). Also made in Dumbarton was the S.S. ĎSir Walter Scottí, a charming pleasure cruiser, that sails the waters of Loch Katrine in the Trossachs.

Please also see the following links for more information on the Town and Castle:

* Undiscovered Scotland

* BBC Scottish History

* Rampant Scotland 

* Dumbarton Theatre         


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