Seals and Swans in the Firth of Forth and River Leven.

For the past few days it has been absolutely chucking it down over the whole of Scotland and Glasgow has had the most amount of rainfall there since records began – and if you know Glasgow at all you’ll realise how bad it has been! Lots of flooding all over the country but we’re fine here. I just wish someone up there would turn off the taps! To cheer myself up I’ve been having a look at some photos which I took a couple of weeks ago in the time of blue skies. This one is of the old bridge at Dumbarton on the River Leven and there is a swan with cygnets just going under the bridge. These swans went at quite a lick and I had to run to get this photo, not something I do often, I’m more a dignified walk sort of a person. The River Leven often has well over 100 swans floating around this area but most of them seemed to be elsewhere.

 Swans in River Leven, Dumbarton

The Leven is just a wee river which flows into the River Clyde at Dumbarton Rock which you can see in this photo, but it’s still very dangerous and it seems that just about every summer some lads drown in it. They just want to have a lark but don’t realise how cold it is and it’s full of weeds which can fankle (entangle) you too.

Dumbarton Rock

I took this photo last week from the Fife coastal path at Kirkcaldy, just beyond Seafield Tower, walking towards Kinghorn. The rocks there are favourites with the seals and they were making themselves heard that day. Unearthly noises come from them at times, well they would be unearthly I suppose as they’re in the sea, but you know what I mean, positively eerie sounds.

Seals 3

I can quite see how the ancient sailors used to think that the seals were mermaids singing, especially when they hadn’t seen women for years!

Seals 1

I suppose it helped if they were in the water too rather than basking and looking enormously fat. It’s possible that some of these seals were about to give birth, maybe that’s what all the racket was about.

Seals 4

I can hardly believe that we had such lovely weather just last week. We seemed to be in a pattern of one lovely day followed by a wet one for a while but now it looks and feels like November and the schools are going back next week. That could be the cue for the sun to be splitting the pavements and a return of summer. Well maybe.

The Cutty Sark Sailing Ship

The Cutty Sark was in the news recently again, this time it was good news, something which seems to be thin on the ground at the moment. The refurbishment is going well and people will be able to visit her before much longer, they were lucky that a lot of her timbers were away for conservation at the time of the fire.

The ship went up in flames a couple of years ago at Greenwich, it was thought then that it was set on fire deliberately but the investigators discovered that someone had left an industrial vacuum cleaner switched on over the whole weekend and, surprise surprise, it caught fire! The fact that the 2 night-watchmen were asleep meant that by the time a passer-by discovered the fire the whole ship was ablaze.

Prince Philip was instrumental in getting the Cutty Sark to Greenwich. I think he should have made sure that she was returned to her place of birth at Dumbarton, the River Leven in fact, not the River Clyde as all the news reports stated.

It would have been great to have her at Dumbarton, she would have been a wonderful attraction for tourists who go to that beautiful area only to discover that there’s nothing for them to do there.

Song of the Clyde cover

It would have been a fantastic opportunity for the youngsters too as there would have been jobs and training schemes for those involved with it. I like to think that she would have been looked after better at Dumbarton, well they didn’t make a very good job of it at Greenwich.

As ever, it seems that all good things have to go to the London area, as if tourists never go anywhere else in Britain.

If you’re interested in the history of Clyde and River Leven shipbuilding then you might like this book which has lots of photos and information on the many shipyards on the rivers.

River Leven at Dumbarton

My family moved to Dumbarton from Glasgow when I was 5 years old and much as I love Glasgow I must admit that city life isn’t ideal for families. It was heaven to have such easy access to the hills when I was growing up and that is what I really miss now. I’m not keen on being hemmed in by the sea.

But I do love rivers and that’s what I like about old towns. Obviously they were settled by people aeons ago because of the proximity of fresh water. Dumbarton is certainly very old as it was the ancient capital of Strathclyde due to the castle/rock being an important stronghold and situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Leven and the Clyde.

The photographs were taken from just behind the High Street shops. It’s a pity about the big blue blot on the landscape, I think it might be a boat-house. But you can see Dumbarton Castle/Rock in the background or on the left hand side of my header.