STARTING from the Broomilaw on board one of one of the numerous steam-vessels plying between Glasgow and Greenock, eight minutes sail brings you to the mouth of the Kelvin, where the ferry boat probably adds a passenger or two to the company. The Kelvin, a stream not unknown in Scottich ballad poetry, descends from the Campsie hills, a range about 12 miles to the north of Glasgow. It flows through a vale highly picturesque in many places especially in the neighbourhood of Glasgow. The village on your left as you proceed down the river, is Govan.1 The tall and symmetrical spire of the new parish church here forms a very pleasing object in the landscape.2 The Govan lads are skilful quoit-players, the level sandy banks of the river afffording excellent ground for this manly pastime. From Glasgow to Partick on one side of the river, and to Govan on the other, a series of Suburban villas, many of them very pleasant retreats, meet the eye in pretty quick succession. There is a good footpath and ride along the left bank as far as Govan. Immediately after passing this village, the Kilpatrick hills appear in the horizon, on the right; and soon after the Ayrshire hills appear on the extreme left, and the Cowal hills of Argyleshire in front. A little below Govan church, is a fine silk-throwing factory the property of Mr Pollok. It is built of free stone and is 150 feet long from east to west. Its interior economy is admirable.
About 2 miles below Govan, on the same side of the river is Shieldhall, the residence of James Oswald, Esq., one of the representatives of Glasgow. On the right, 'conspicuo in loco' is Jordanhill, the seat of James Smith, Esq., a gentleman of well-known literary character. This mansion was built in 1780, on the site of an ancient castle, in the early part of the reign of James VI. the abode of the. intrepid Captain Crawford, of whom more anon. A little farther down the river, and on the same side is Scotstown, the seat of Miss Oswald. The house is an ancient one, but has received several modern additions. Up to this point, and a little beyond it, the left bank of the Clyde is the more pleasing.
The river is now sensibly widening, and has thrown off that canal like character which it presented for some distance below Govan. On either hand are glades opening towards the stream, and
Between Elderslie and Renfield is Renfrew ferry, where you obtain a near view of the ancient burgh of Renfrew itself. A coach is usually in waiting here to convey passengers to Paisley. The burgh of Renfrew gives the tite of baron to the prince of Wales. The first monarchs of the Stuart family had a palace here :--
Near to Renfield house is the mouth of the Cart, or White Cart, as it is sometimes distinctively called, up which is seen Inchinnan bridge, at the junction of the Cart and Gryffe, and, at three miles distance, the large manufacturing town of Paisley, backed by the Gleniffer hills, Paisley tourists are ferried to and from the steamers at this point; but one or two small steam-boats, drawing not above 3 feet of water now ascend the Cart and ply regularly betwixt Paisley and Dunoon, and some intervening places. It was near to Inchinnan bridge that the gallant marquess of Argyle was captured by his pursuers in 1685. A royal palace once stood near this spot; its site is now occupied by a farm-steading.
Before arriving at Erskine ferry, you pass North Bar, a large and now delapidated mansion, but pleasantly situated close upon the river under the shade of some fine old lime trees. North Bar was formerly the seat of Lord Sempill. It was built in 1676; alienated to Lord Sempill in 1741; and acquired by Lord Blantyre in 1812. Allan Ramsay's Peggy of ' the Gentle Shepherd,' is said to have been born near to this place. The landscape is now beginning to
At a little distance from the river, on the left, is the old mansion-house of Erskine, the ancient seat of the earls of Mar, whose family name it retains. In 1638, the property of Erskine was alienated to Sir John Hamilton, from whose grandson Lord Blantyre purchased it in 1703. The late Lord Blantyre, who was killed by a stray shot during the popular movements in Brussels in 1830, erected the splendid new mansion, in the Old English manorial style, which crowns the rising ground on the same side of the river about a couple of gunshots from the water-edge. The house extend 185 feet in front, besides the kitchen-court and nursery-wing. It contains 75 rooms, of which are public rooms of great magnificence. The picture-gallery is 118 feet in length.
The tourist is now halfway between Glasgow and Greenock, and a very fine point of scenery is here attained. The river has expanded considerably, and assumed the appearance of a lake, closed apparently in front of you, and bounded on either side by finely clothed heights, or gently rising banks fringed with trees. The lofty heights on the right, with the naked escarpment on their summit, are the Kilpatrick hills, and the village in the narrow plain between them and the river is Kilpatrick; the little bay or bight into which you are now steering is Bowling bay, and the snug-looking white house near the thick foliaged limes is Bowling inn.
Just as you come opposite to the inn, you perceive the mouth of the Great Junction canal, which unites the east and west coasts of Scotand, by means of the friths of Forth and Clyde The length of the, navigation from the Forth to the Clyde is 35 miles; the medium width at the surface is 56 feet, and at the bottom 27; the depth is about 10 feet. The number of locks is 39. The rise from the eastern sea to the summit level at Wineford is 156 feet; the descent from Wineford to the Clyde, 150 feet. This great work was begun in 1768 and finished in 1790. It cost £200,000 and has paid remarkably well. It is connected with Glasgow by a cut of about 2 1/2 miles in length. It has been proposed to carry a branch to Dumbarton, so that vessels may avoid the shallow navigation of the Clyde above the mouth of the Leven.
Looking down the river you now perceive that the banks of the supposed lake have parted a-head of you; and, on rounding a projecting craggy point, you have a wide expanse, no longer of river but of frith before you. This little promontory is Dunglass6 point, the western termination of Antoninus's wall, or 'Graham's dyke ;' the wild fragments which add so much picturesque beauty to it are the ruins of Dunglass castle, which must not be confounded, however--as it has been by many tourists and tourist's guides, to the utter perversion of much historical and legendary anecdote7 --with the East Lothian fastness of the same name. The present castle was formerly the property of the Colquhouns of Luss, whose arms still appear upon it. It is now the property of Buchanan of Auchintorlie. A large portion of these fine ruins fell during a violent gale of wind in the spring of 1828 The tourist has now a distant view of the towns of Port-Glasgow and Greenock, and, in the extreme distance, in this direction, the high mountains of Cowal.
On the left hand, in the distance, are now seen the church and manse of Erskine, Bishopton house, and Drums; on the opposite side are Milton island and Milton house, Dumbuck house at the foot of Dumbuck hill, Garshake, Chapel Green, and Silverton hill; but the tourist's eye is almost exclusively arrested by the rock and castle of Dumbarton, which rises suddenly from the point of junction of the Leven and the CIyde to the height of 560 feet. The rock consists of a huge conical mass of hard grained basalt, in some parts slightly columnar. It may be seen at a great-distance from different parts of the surrounding landscape. But the description of this object belongs to another tour, About mid-distance between Dumbuck and Dumbarton, the tourist obtains his first view from the river of 'the lofty Ben Lomond.'
Opposite Dumbarton castle on the left, is West Sea bank; and beyond the Leven on the right, is Leven grove, the seat of the Dixons of Dumbarton. Two miles farther, on the left, is Finlayston, a seat of Graham of Gartmore,8 and for many years the family-mansion of the earls of Glencairn; on the right are Clyde bank and Clyde cottage. Approaching to Port-Glasgow, the spectator is struck with the appearance of a fine old castellated building, now deserted: this is Newark castle, the property of Lord Belhaven, and once a residence of the family of Maxwell. It was built in 1599.
The tourist has now reached. Port-Glasgow, where the steamer runs up for a few minutes alongside of the quay. The river is here about 2 miles broad, but very shallow; the navigable channel being not above 200 yards wide. Port-Glasgow was founded in 1667, by the merchants of Glasgow, who felt aggrieved at the harbour-dues exacted from them at Greenock. There is little of interest about this place; but it is backed by a pleasing range of green hills, and commands a fine sea view.
In proceeding towards Greenock, the steamer successively passes Ardarden house, Ardmore house, Camis-Eskan, Kilmahew castle, and Drumfork house, all on the right side of the frith, but the channel followed by the boat approaches near to the left side. After a sail from Glasgow, of from two to two hours and a half, according to the state of the tide and weather, you are landed on the quay at Greenock, one of the finest sea-ports in the kingdom. The harbours cover an extent of 20 acres, and are capable of containing above 500 merchant vessels. The river is here about 4 miles broad, but the navigable channel does not exceed 300 yards in width: the greater part of the expanse of the frith being occupied with an immense sand-bank extending from Dumbarton to the buoy off Whitefarlane point, a little below Greenock. If the tourist wishes to make himself acquainted with the history and localities of Greenock, he should put himself in possession of Weir's history of the place. If his leisure permit, he should sail 3 miles farther down the river to Gourock, by doing which, he will obtain a distinct view of the finest shores of the Clyde, with the Argyleshire mountains; or he may take a trip across to the pleasant watering-place of Helensburgh; or he may gratify himself by ascending the heights behind Greenock, from which, in a clear day, his eye can roam from the high peaks of Arran, along the towering and rugged outline of the Argyleshire mountains, and up the river nearly to Glasgow. The view, from the quay itself, is perhaps the finest commanded by any sea-port in the kingdom.
If the tourist wishes to return to Glasgow by land, the distances are: Greenock, 22--Port Glasgow, 19¾--Bishopton inn, 12¼--Renfrew, 6¼--Govan, 3. Or he may, after leaving Bishopton inn. take the Paisley road by Barnsford toll, which is about 2 miles longer.