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Dumbarton Castle - West Dunbartonshire

Dumbarton Castle, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Not so much a castle as a natural fortified rock, an old volcanic core.

Being a natural defensive location at a key position on the River Clyde this rock has been defended and of strategic importance since the Iron Age.

Dumbarton Rock is 243 feet (74 metres) at the highest point and is the hard core of an old volcano, the outer shell of which has eroded over millions of years.

It overlooks both the Clyde to the south and the River Leven to the west, giving it easy access to the sea and shelter for boats, a very important means of transport and communication in medieval times.

(Dumbarton with an “m” for the town and Dunbartonshire with an “n” for the county.)


Dumbarton Castle, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Dumbarton Rock is on the north bank of the River Clyde, west of Glasgow.

Its well-defended entrance under the wall and up a narrow stairway makes it an ideal place to defend with just a few men.

It was once the stronghold of the Kings of Strathclyde and has strong links to James V and Mary Queen of Scots and numerous other figures in Scottish history.


Dumbarton Castle, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland

It's a compact site, making it hard to get decent wide angle views.

This is the armoury, tucked into a safe place on the rock.



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