Some Places Are Just Facinating.

Travel west from Glasgow along the A82 and you will pass close by the Erskine Bridge. Mrs fbb’s Aunt Jean announced that you would never get her up on that, just held up with two wee pieced of string! It replaced the Erskine Ferry.
Neither ferry nor bridge has even been the busiest crossing of the Clyde!
At Erskine, the Clyde was shallow enough to ford on foot and had been used for this purpose in past centuries. The river was then dredged to allow large ships to sail upriver to Glasgow. This brought a requirement of a ferry service between Erskine and Old Kilpatrick. Initially, a passenger-only service was available. The Clyde Navigation Trust acquired the service in 1907 and added a vehicle ferry boat to the crossing. The previous owner was the 12th Lord Blantyre. The crossing was part of the A740 route from Paisley to Old Kilpatrick. It was established in 1777 and replaced by the Erskine Bridge in 1971.   
But carry on a little way and you will see an unmarked left hand lane.

The worldly wise amongst Scottish motorists will know that this turn takes you to Bowling as shown by a sign which is just past the junction.

This sign was well obscured by a First Glasgow bus as Streetview trundled past.

If, again, you are in the know, you turn right off the diddy spur road and proceed westwards.

On your left is the railway line to Dumbarton and Helnsburgh, home of the North Clyde electric network. You are now on the “old” road west before the swish new A82 was constructed, and it is named Dumbarton Road.

Smug knowall note : the town is DuMbarton but the council is West DuNbartonshire – and fbb doesn’t know why!

On the outskirts of Bowling we come across some traffic lights, a terrace of housing and bus stops.

The bus stops are for the complex bus branded “The One” …

… most recently with purple fronts; although with First, you never know! The brand brought together a whole range of services broadly using the A82.

Alas, you will not find Bowling on the route map but it lies, lost and forlorn …

… between Kilpatrick and Dumbarton East stations.  

This batch of servicers were once in the hands of Central Scottish and a 15 minute frequency ran all the way to Helensburgh!
First Bus’ current timetable (with a prize to any who can understand it without a map) does actually mention Bowling station …
the eighth time point from the top. Now it runs only every 30 minuted to Helensburgh!
Indeed, if you drive a little further beyond that traffic light junction, you come to a left hand turn which takes you to the surprisingly underwhelming Bowling station.

Note the somewhat basic lifting of the footbridge to allow for the electrification. It looked much more like a “proper” station when the wires went up!

Basic and functional, but nowhere near as attractive!

The boarded-up building on the left appears on the current Streetview as a cosy (?) re-opened Station Hotel.

There is some doubt on-line whether it is still open??

But, back to the traffic lights where we turn towards the river as we approach Bowling Basin …

… after first crossing over the railway.

But what is this, just beyond the overbridge? It is another railway. but disused.

This was the Lanarkshire and Dumbarton Railway (RED) …

 … which paralled (intertwined) with today’s route along the north coast of the Clyde. Here we can see the turn off the Dumbarton Road, the terrace of houses, the road bridge over the current line and the railway bridge ditto.

The closed line also had a Bowling station on an island platform.

The line closed in 1964 and much of it, in the Bowling area, is a footpath and cycleway.

But we are on our way to here.

This is the lock and lock-keeper’s hut, where the Forth and Clyde canal joins the Clyde.

More tomorrow.

 Next Decline and Fall blog : Thursday 27th July 
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