Whether you are a proud Glaswegian or an active tourist, it’s hard not to be impressed by the River Clyde. It was the heartbeat of the British Empire back in the day, when shipbuilding and trade was essential to our national economy. The Clyde meanders through the heart of Glasgow’s city centre before flowing out towards the Firth of Clyde.
There has been significant regeneration of the Clyde Waterfront, with almost £6 billion invested in the area between Glasgow Green and Dumbarton. The riverside has become something of a tourist trap, with the old docklands transformed into much-needed housing and amenities for locals and visitors alike. The Clyde is a place for Glasgow to be proud of once again and there are ways and means for budding cyclists to explore the River Clyde on two wheels. This article outlines the sights and sounds you can encounter en-route from Glasgow city centre out towards Clydebank, Kilpatrick and beyond.
As you venture out of the city centre, you’ll ride past the Victoria Park Pond and Fossil Grove, a beautiful collection of fossilised prehistoric trees. Sports fanatics may also wish to visit the Scotstoun Sports Campus, which is home to a dedicated Squash Club and has a stadium that’s home to the Glasgow Warriors Rugby Union side. It is also the venue for an ATP tennis event on the Challenger Tour, complete with an €85,000 prize pool.
Head north-west along the Dumbarton Road and you’ll soon reach the Clydebank Museum. It is here where visitors can get a sense of Glasgow’s industrial heritage along the River Clyde. A string of permanent exhibitions are on display within the Clydebank Town Hall. The most notable is the Singer Sewing Machine exhibition, which was named a ‘Recognised Collection of National Significance’ in 2013 by the Museums Galleries Scotland. The museum used to be run by volunteers in the town, but now it has a full-time team of staff which also welcome touring exhibitions.
Continue out of Clydebank and beneath the Erskine Bridge and you will soon head through the quaint and quiet villages of Old Kilpatrick and Bowling. Those with a passion for scenery and history can get their fill of both at the nearby Dunglass and Dumbarton Castles. The latter is a spectacular Georgian castle, complete with 18th century artillery fortifications and panoramic views across Ben Lomond.
If you’re not content with heading back to the city centre and you still wish to venture further afield on two wheels, we’d recommend heading north at this point to follow the River Leven. The Renton Road (B857) is the nicest route, taking you through Jamestown and towards Balloch, which is where the River Leven opens out into the vast expanse of Loch Lomond. The SEA LIFE Loch Lomond Aquarium proves exceptionally popular with tourists, displaying a myriad of sea life, while the spectacular ocean tunnel allows visitors to walk through and feel a part of the underwater world including sharks and giant turtles.
While you are here, it’s a good idea to spend some time in and around Loch Lomond, which is the largest inland stretch of water in the United Kingdom. This freshwater Scottish loch is one of Scotland’s most popular locations for boating and water sports activities, while many hundreds of entrants visit annually for the Great Scottish Swim in August. This route from Glasgow city centre is roughly 30 miles long. If you were to cycle from start to finish, it should take you no longer than three hours, but if you take in many of the sights and sounds featured above it will certainly provide a day’s worth of entertainment and intrigue.
For those who live closer to Edinburgh than Glasgow, or are visiting the capital instead of Glasgow, budding cyclists must take a look at our Gorebridge to Crichton Castle cycle route. This short-but-sweet four-mile ride and hike gives you a chance to hop aboard the Borders Railway, the newest line in Scotland, and experience the magnificent Crichton Castle that stands isolated, complete with stunning archways and columns.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.