River Clyde ( , ) is a major river in Scotland.
It is the
ninth longest river in the United Kingdom, and the third longest in Scotland.
through the major city of Glasgow, it was an
important river for shipbuilding and
trade in the British
The Clyde is formed by the confluence of two streams, the Daer
Water (the headwaters of which are dammed to form the Daer
Reservoir) and the Potrail Water. The Southern Upland Way crosses both streams before they meet at
Watermeetings ( ) to form the River Clyde proper.
point the Clyde is only 10km (six miles) from Tweed's Well, the
source of the River Tweed and 13km
(eight miles) from the Devil's Beef Tub, the source of the River Annan.
it snakes northeastward before turning to the west, its flood plain used for many major roads in the area, until it reaches the town of
Lanark. On the banks of the Clyde, the industrialists
David Dale and Robert Owen, built their mills and the model
settlement of New
Lanark. The mills harness the power of the Falls of
Clyde, the most spectacular of which is Cora Linn.
power station still
generates electricity here, although the mills are now a museum and
World Heritage Site
From New Lanark, the river turns northwest, before it is joined by
the River Avon and flows into the West of Scotland conurbation
. Between the towns of Motherwell and Hamilton the course of the river has been altered to create
the artificial loch within Strathclyde
Part of the original course can still be seen, and
lies between the island and the east shore of the loch.
then flows through Blantyre and Bothwell, where the ruined Bothwell Castle stands on a defensible promontory.
Uddingston and into the southeast of Glasgow the river begins
to widen, meandering a course through Rutherglen and Dalmarnock. Flowing past Glasgow Green, the river is artificially straightened and widened
through the centre, and although a footbridge now hinders access to
the traditional Broomielaw, seagoing ships can still come
upriver as far as Finnieston where the PS Waverley
docks. From there, it flows past the shipbuilding
heartlands, through Govan, Partick, Whiteinch, Scotstoun and Clydebank, all of which housed major shipyards, of which only two remain.
flows out west of Glasgow, past Renfrew, and under the Erskine Bridge past Dumbarton on the north shore to the sandbank at Ardmore Point
between Cardross and Helensburgh. Opposite, on the south shore, the river
continues past the last Lower Clyde shipyard at Port Glasgow to Greenock where it reaches the Tail of the Bank as the river merges into
the Firth of
Catchment of the River Clyde within
There are around 72 bridges (rail, road, foot and other) that cross
the Clyde, from estuary to source.
Catchment of the River Clyde.
Tributaries of the River Clyde.
The success of the Clyde at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution
was driven by
the location of Glasgow, being a port
the drive in the early 18th century. However, the shallow Clyde was
not navigable for the largest ocean-going ships and cargo
had to be transferred at Greenock or Port
Glasgow to smaller ships to sail into Glasgow itself.
In 1768 John Golborne
narrowing of the river and the increasing of the scour by the
construction of rubble jetties and the dredging of sandbanks and
particular problem was the division of the river into two shallow
channels by the Dumbuck shoal near Dumbarton.
's report on this in 1769, a jetty was constructed at
to block off the
southern channel; this being insufficient, a training wall called
the Lang Dyke
was built in 1773 on the
Dumbuck shoal to stop water flowing over into the southern channel.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries hundreds of jetties were
built out from the banks between Dumbuck and the Broomielaw
quay in Glasgow itself. In some cases
this resulted in an immediate deepening as the constrained water
flow washed away the river bottom, in others dredging was
Shipping on the Clyde, Grimshaw
In the mid-19th century engineers took on a much greater dredging
of the Clyde, removing millions of cubic
metres of silt
to deepen and widen the channel.
The major stumbling block in the project was a massive volcanic
plug known as Elderslie Rock. It would be the 1880s before work was
finally complete. At this time, the Clyde also became an important
source of inspiration for artists, such as John Atkinson Grimshaw
, willing to
depict the new industrial era and the modern world.
The completion of the dredging was well-timed, as steelworking
grew in the city, the channel finally
became navigable all the way up to Glasgow. Shipbuilding replaced
trade as the major activity on the river and shipbuilding companies
were establishing themselves on the river at an exponential rate.
Soon, the Clyde gained a reputation for being the best location for
shipbuilding in the British Empire
and grew to become the worlds pre-eminent shipbuilding centre.
Clydebuilt became an industry
benchmark of quality, and the river’s shipyards were given
contracts for prestigious ocean-going liners as well as warships,
including the Queen
Mary and the Queen
Elizabeth 2 in later years, all built in the town of Clydebank.
Yachting & yachtbuilding
In the middle of the 19th century the sport of yachting became
popular on the Clyde. Prior to that yachts were used only for
The Clyde became famous worldwide for its significant contribution
to yachting and yachtbuilding and was the home of many notable
designers: William Fife
III; Alfred Mylne
; G L Watson; David Boyd. It was
also the home of many famous yacht yards.
started repairing boats in a small workshop at Sandbank in
1876, and went on to become one of the foremost wooden boat
builders on the Clyde. The 'golden years' of Robertson's yard were
in the early 20th century when they started building classic 12
& 15 metre racing yachts. More than 55 boats were built by
Robertson's in preparation for the First World War and the yard
remained busy even during the Great Depression in the 1930s, as
many wealthy businessmen developed a passion for yacht racing on
the Clyde. During World War II the yard was devoted to Admiralty
work, producing large high speed Fairmile Marine
Motor Boats (MTB's and
MGB's). After the war the yard built the successful one-class Loch
Longs and two David Boyd designed 12-metre challengers for the
America's Cup: Sceptre
(1958) and Sovereign
(1964). Due to difficult business conditions in 1965 the yard was
turned over to GRP production work (mainly Pipers and Etchells)
until it closed in 1980. During its 104 year history, Robertson's
Yard built 500 boats, many of which are still sailing today.
Although diminished from its early
20th century heights, shipbuilding remains an important industry on
The downfall of the Clyde as a major industrial
centre came during and post-World War II
. Clydebank in particular was
targeted by the Luftwaffe
heavy damage. The immediate post war period saw a severe reduction
in warship orders which was balanced by a prolonged boom in
merchant shipbuilding. By the end of the 1950s, however, the rise
of other shipbuilding nations, recapitalised and highly productive,
made many European
yards uncompetitive. Many
Clydeside yards booked a series of loss-making contracts in the
hope of weathering the storm. However by the mid-1960s,
shipbuilding on the Clyde was becoming increasingly uneconomic and
potentially faced collapse. This culminated in the closure of Harland and
Wolff's Linthouse yard and a bankruptcy crisis facing
Fairfields of Govan.
The Government responded by creating
the Upper Clyde
consortium. After the consortium's controversial
collapse in 1971, the Labour government of Harold Wilson
later passed the Aircraft and
Shipbuilding Industries Act
which nationalised most of the
and grouped them with
other major British shipyards as British Shipbuilders
Today, two major shipyards remain in operation on the Upper Clyde;
they are owned by the Global defence contractor, BVT Surface Fleet
, who focus principally
upon the design and construction of technologically advanced
warships for the Royal Navy and other navies around the world.
the former Yarrow yard at
Scotstoun and Fairfields /
Govan Shipbuilders at
There is also the King George V Dock
, operated by
the Clyde Port Authority
Lower Clyde, the privately owned Ferguson Shipbuilders at Port Glasgow is the last survivor of the many shipyards that
once dominated Port Glasgow and Greenock - its mainstay being the construction of car ferries.
The Clyde Waterfront
project is expected to attract investment of up to
£5.6bn in the area from Glasgow Green to Dumbarton. Market gardens
and garden centres
have grown up on the fertile
of the Clyde Valley
. Tourism has also
brought many back to the riverside, especially in Glasgow where
former docklands have given way to housing and amenities on the
banks in the city, for instance, the Glasgow Harbour project, the Glasgow
Science Centre, and the creation of the Scottish
Exhibition and Conference Centre. With the migration of the commercial Port of
Glasgow downstream to the deeper waters of the Firth of
Clyde, the river has been extensively cleaned up, once
having a very poor reputation for pollution and sewage, in order to make it suitable for recreational
Image:AM St Andrews Suspension Bridge, Glasgow Green, at
sunset.JPG|St. Andrews footbridgeImage:Wfm bells bridge
glasgow.jpg|Bells BridgeImage:Wfm millennium bridge
glasgow.jpg|Millennium BridgeImage:View over the Clyde in
Glasgow.jpg|Modern buildings, including the Clyde
Auditorium and the Finnieston CraneImage:Clyde from M8, Dumbarton .jpg|The
estuary opens out past DumbartonImage:Dumbarton across Clyde.jpg|Looking
across to Dumbarton at low tideImage:EastGlasgow.JPG|Looking eastwards
from the Kingston
BridgeImage:Tradeston Bridge.jpg|South Facing view
of the Tradeston