Jul 22nd, 2015
J and I went to Dumbarton today. My Mum’s family come from there and as a child we always spent Easters with them (I lived in Balloch until I was three and then moved near Carlisle). My grandparents lived near the East station and we would walk across ‘the swing park’ to get what my brother and I always called ‘Dumbarton Rolls’ (because you didn’t get them in England) to eat with fried sliced sausage. Happy days.
Anyway, today we first went up the castle. It was just as high and steep as I remember it from 30 years ago (557 steps). The last time we went I would have been about 10 and my Mum played a joke when we got down to the bottom that she had left her car keys on the flagpole at the top; my brother was just starting to run back up there when she admitted the truth. Just when we got near the top it started pouring with rain and we got rather damp.
Then we walked round through the street where my Mum lived as a little girl and looked at my Gran’s old house. Nothing had changed very much. Then we went to see the Denny Tank Museum which is nothing to do with warfare, and everything to do with an enormous tank which was used from late 19th century until mid-20th to test out models of ships to see how they would perform in sea conditions. It was pretty interesting with an old drawing office which must have been quite similar to the one my Mum worked in 1950s. There were also some good pictures of old Dumbarton.
Finally we walked back and looked at the River Leven – I remember there used to be swans on it but don’t seem to be any more. Poor old Dumbarton looks even sadder and more run down than it did when I was a child, particularly with the shell of the old distillery building (where my grandfather worked and my father was in the Excise). But perhaps it will pick up if they sell the distillery off for luxury apartments as I believe the plan is.