Archive for Clyde

Clyde Descent – Paddling ‘Doon the Watter’ with a Sugary Objective

Posted in Kayak, Paddling, Sea Kayak with tags , , on October 15, 2012 by Jinja Coo

A second paddle on the Clyde this year but unlike the previous time which was confined to the city centre, this one was to be a journey downstream from the centre to the town of Helensburgh, just under 40km to the west.

We started off at Glasgow Green just below the tidal weir and the upper limit of my last paddle here and then proceeded down underneath the concentration of bridges past my last starting point by the River Kelvin where it joins the Clyde. From here evidence of the Clyde’s ship building past, and to a lesser extent the present drew our attention. Current work includes the contributory work towards the UK’s next generation of aircraft carriers and destroyers. One large section of the former was sticking our of a hanger ready for loading on to and transport on a hugh barge to Rosyth Dockayrd for final assembly. We actually passed the barge being employed for the journey a short way downstream as it made its way up to the yard at Govan.

Carrying on we passed a couple of unexpected points of interest, first a snoozing fox then a bungee jumper from the Titan crane in Clydebank.

After just over three hours and 16km, we arrived at Erskine and had lunch on a ‘beach’ beneath the last of the bridges we’d paddle under.

What had started as a grey and drizzly day was now brightening nicely but with that was a strengthening breeze. Despite having the receding tide and river flow with us, the headwind effect was making progress harder and slower than we’d have liked for the remaining journey.

Next points of interest were the old oil depot workings at Bowling with Dunglass Castle set among the grounds and Dumbarton Rock and Castle. From Dumbarton we followed the general direction of the deep water channel and headed over to the south side of the river, firstly to see Newark Castle and the what is left of the shipyards in the Port Glasgow and Greenock areas and also to seek some shelter from the wind which was now quite strong.

We never actually did get close enough to the south shore to see much and as energy levels were now ebbing like the tide, we took the direct route to Helensburgh. In doing so we also missed out on the target for the day, the Sugar Boat. Oh well, it will be there next time. Overall a nice paddle with some nice surprises along the way but hard work.


Dawn on the Clyde, an Early Morning Paddle in Glasgow

Posted in Paddling, Sea Kayak with tags , on February 1, 2012 by Jinja Coo

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

21st November, 2009 – Urban Paddle on the River Clyde and White Cart

Posted in Sea Kayak with tags on November 21, 2009 by Jinja Coo

Three of us gathered for a sheltered paddle on the Clyde and the White Cart. Started gray but dry and we only had to contend with some slight winds along our route and one major downpour, other than that it was a pleasant day weather wise.

We began on the south side of the Clyde just beneath the Erskine Bridge and headed upstream towards the White Cart which we followed up towards the centre of Paisley. A very quiet stretch of water with little access to it along the banks so we were on our own apart from a surprising amount of wildlife on the start of what would prove to be a bit of a safari. First to join us were a couple of roe deer who bounded off up the left bank quicker than we could follow – just a couple of white bums darting through the trees and lost in no time.

As we approached Paisley Centre the main difficulty of the day became a challenge; the increased flow of the river from all of the recent downpours. We reached as far as the railway station where in theory we should have been able to progress along a 400m tunnel to the centre of the town but the flow was too much and the tunnel had a bit of a spooky ambience to it with all the noise of traffic echoing and water rushing so as much as it would have been great to make this last stretch, I wasn’t too unhappy to have missed out the tunnel section.

Back down towards the Clyde at a fair rate helped by the flow and we spotted a stunning King Fisher – quite a contrast to the brown and green all about. Lots of other birds along the way but this was the star of the show.

On to the Clyde again and the rain had begun now. We headed further up to get a close look at the recently launched destroyers in various stages of near completion. Quite impressive being up close to these giants. Not only were they of interest to us but we seemed to be to the dockyard security possibly as it was noted that one of the mounted CCTVs was following our progress in and about the vicinity.

Quick bite to eat in a bus shelter by the Renfrew Ferry then down stream heading downstream towards the bridge.

Along the way the last beastie of interest was a fox prowling about by the whisky bonds but I’ll not count one of the local muppets doing a moonie at us from the banks!

Great paddle and much longer on the water than I’d expected but we covered some distance (25-30km) a lot of which was against flow. I’ll definitely be re-visiting the Clyde up and downstream of this spot.