Dawn on the Clyde, an Early Morning Paddle in Glasgow

I’ve been keen on doing a paddle in and around the bridges of the centre of Glasgow for a while, especially every time I drive over the Kingston Bridge when it is dawn or dusk, and being close to the period of latest sunrise times, it seemed like now was a good time to get on with this.

A group of us met up beside the new Riverside Museum (Museum of Transport) just west of the SECC.  A brand new slip way lies adjacent to the building at what is called Kelvin Harbour and can be used by kayaks / canoes for very easy access to the Clyde and Kelvin.

About to launch from Kelvin Harbour

First point of interest, the Glenlee

Glasgow's new Riverside Museum

First glimpse of the City Lights

BBC Scotland office and Science Centre

On the water by 7:15, we turned left and headed up the Clyde, passing alongside the tall ship, Glenlee, almost immediately.  We paddled under darkness for a few minutes before the light started to appear. Various illuminated bridges and buildings along the way provided an unusual scene for a sea kayak trip and after passing first the newer, unusual bridges, we passed beneath the ugliest, the Kingston Bridge (M8), then came half a dozen or so much older, arched ones.  One of these latter had an odd inscription on at least two of the pillars.  Finally we reached the weir at Glasgow Green which was our less favoured alternative for a launch.  This would have involved some rough ground and a gate requiring a key code.

Finnieston Crane


On our journey upstream we noticed an increasing resistance with the lowering tide giving the river a bit more flow and conversely, our downward journey was a bit easier thanks to the assist from the flow.

Inscribed Bridge Pillar, 'All Greatness Stands Firm in The Storm'

Looking back down towards the Riverside Museum

We passed close by the paddle steamer, Waverley before crossing back to the harbour then briefly had a look at the Kelvin, having to turn back at the first rapid after a few hundred metres – not actually that interesting a stretch of river – then two of us landed and three of us headed down to have a quick look at what is currently being built at BAE systems Govan Yard.  Noise suggested some work in progress but nothing high enough out of the dry dock for us to see so it was time to call it a day.  I wonder what a paddle on the river would have been like when all the ship yards were at their peak output, amazing no doubt.

Science Centre and the paddle steamer, Waverley

Glenlee and Riverside Museum

BAE Systems Yard at Govan

Old dock walls, just some of the well preserved timbers and other bits of rigging we saw

A shortish paddle but I can see me making use of this slip way in future for longer paddles possibly with a dreaded shuttle run for the car(s).

Kelvin Harbour and the Riverside Museum

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