STEAM-BOAT POCKET GUIDE.
"If a man had nothing else to do than to make tours, I know not where or how he could better spend his money and his time, than in wandering up and down and about the shores of the Clyde, and those of all the lochs that open into it, and in ferreting out the endless corners and nooks in which it abounds. Castles, towns, shipS, islands, rocks, mountains, bays, creeks, rivers, cascades, trees, lakes, cliffs, forests, country-seats, cuultivation--what is there, in short, which may not be found on the shores of the Clyde? And what is there of all these which is not beautiful ?"--Macculloch.
BEFORE submitting any particular routes to the choice and convenience of the tourist, we shall endearour to make him a little acquainted with the source and windings of the noble stream on whose waters and ample estuary he purposes to shape his course to so many different points of interest and romantic beauty.
The Clyde is the third Scottish river in magnitude. Its sources are so near to those of the Tweed and the Annan that these three rivers are commonly said to rise ' out o' ae hill side.' Not that this is exactly and geographically true, but the proximity of the fountain-heads of these streams is nevertheless remarkably close. They issue from the base of one and the same hill, near the point of union of the three counties of Peebles, Dumfries, and Lanark. Their springs are, however, fully 1500 feet above the sea-level.1
Within a few miles of its source, the Clyde assumes the appearance of a river by the accession of a number of mountain-streams from the Lead hills, one of the principal of which is the Glengonar. On entering the parish of Lamington, in the upper ward of Lanarkshire, it begins to flow through a more open country, and between broad fertile haughs. Near to the village of Biggar, a low tract of ground extends from the vale of Clyde to that of the Tweed; and popular tradition represents the arch-wizard, Michael Scott, as having laboured assiduously to add the waters of the former stream to those of the latter, by employing his imps in cutting a channel through this gullet. The marshy character of the soil here seems to indicate the existence, in former times, of a considerable collection of water, which may have had some communication with the Clyde.
The character of the Clyde until it reaches the first fall which occurs in its course is that of a calm and almost sluggish stream, creeping listlessly and circuitously along through a channel in some places filled with sedge-plants and reeds. At Bonington, a little above the town of Lanark, it suddenly throws itself in one broad unbroken sheet over a rocky ledge of about 30 feet in height. It now assumes a totally different character from that which marked the upper portion of its course : its channel being bounded on each side by 'a stupendous natural masonry'2
of perpendicular rocks, it rushes through the narrow chasm thus formed with arrowy swiftness, and, after having struggled along a rugged-bed for about three-quarters of a mile, it again precipitates itself into Corra linn, in three distinct leaps, amounting altogether to 84 feet. When swollen with rain, the river appears to throw itself over the rock in one unbroken mass. The third fall of the Clyde occurs at Stonebyres, about two miles below the town of Lanark, and four from Corra linn. But we must refer the reader to our land-tourist's guide for a more minute description of the celebrated falls of Clyde.
The middle ward of Lanarkshire commences at the junction of the Nethan with the Clyde. This is a remarkably rich district, and the Clyde here pursues its course through a succession of orchards, whose fruit, Robert Chambers avows, "bobs against the head of the passing traveller, and dips in the rushing stream." A little below the junction of the Avon, the Clyde passes the town of Hamilton, famous amongst epicures for its veal, and amongst tourists for the splendid pile called Hamilton palace, with its fine gallery of paintings. This district is of deep interest to the national historian, being the principal scene of those transactions which have branded the name of Claverhouse with everlasting infamy. Three miles below Hamilton the Clyde passes the beautiful village of Both well and the magnificent ruins of Both well castle. Our friend Chambers here fixes the frontiers of the poetical and romantic district of the Clyde, affirming in his own quaint style, that all below this point the country is "mill-ridden--fairly subjugated, tamed, tormented, touzed, and gulravished by the demon of machinery." This is somewhat too broadly sketched : at all events it does not apply to the character of the scenery on the Clyde from Bothwell. or Blantyre, to Glasgow. Mr. Chambers will be surprised, perhaps, to learn that even in the immediate vicinity of Glasgow, the scenery of our river is highly sylvan, and, in some points picturesque. If the tourist. be a stranger in Glasgow. and can indulge himself with a stroll for a couple of hours along the banks of the river above the city, we are sure he will entertain a different idea of its character, and the scenery through which it flows in our immediate neighbourhood.
The current of the Clyde immediately above, Glasgow averages about 2½ miles an hour; in a high fresh, it is increased to 4 miles. At the upper end of the Broomielaw, the river is 140 feet wide. Its breadth increases very slowly, and for a distance of 7 miles below the city, it is confined within artificial embankments formed of whinstone laid in imitation of ashlar work. There are three stone bridges, and one timber bridge, over the Clyde at Glasgow. Stockwell street bridge was founded by Bishop Rae in 1345. This bridge, for a period of upwards of four centuries, formed the regular line of communication between the city and the southwest districts of Scotland. It has received various enlargements and is now 415 feet long, and 34 wide within the railing. Hutchesons' bridge, near the foot of the Saltmarket, is 406 feet long, and 36 feet wide within the parapets. The Jamaica street, or Broomielaw bridge, now building, will be 560 feet long over the newals, and 60 feet wide over the parapets. The Broomielaw quay was first formed in 1688. Its original extent was from the mouth of St. Enoch's burn to Robertson street. The harbour is now 3340 feet long on the north side of the river, and 1260 on the south, and can receive vessels of 300 tons register. The first steam-boat on the Clyde was the Comet. which began to ply between Glasgow and Greenock in 1812.3
There are now 60 steam. vessels belonging to the Clyde. Some of them are above 400 tons burden, and have engines of 300 horse power. These large boats come up to Glasgow with ease at full tide; when they lose the tide, however, they are compelled to remain at Greenock till it flows again. The present average depth of the river, from Glasgow to Dumbarton, is about 14 feet at full tide. The dredging machines are daily facilitating the navigation of the river.
1 New Statistical Account of Scotland
3 This boat was built according to the directions of Henry Bell, "an untutored engineer. and citizen of Glasgow," who also constructed its steam-engine himself. The name he gave it was suggested by the appearance of the comet of 1811. Its engine was at first of only three horse power, but was subsequently increased to six.