The Clyde Shore

The Saltings is an area between the village and the river made up of regenerated woodland and meadow. It was originally a salt marsh, locally known as the Planting, prone to tidal influences and fed by fresh water burns, the Dalnottar (or Lusset) Burn and the Gavin Burn. These burns were re-routed along the sea wall when the Forth and Clyde Canal was built (c1790) and when the railway closed, the whole site was filled with rubble to carry the foundations for the Erskine Bridge.

Favourite spot

John Hood

The shore was a favourite spot for locals and visitors alike especially during the summer months. Visitors would shelter under the mud banks and set up stall there laying out towels and starting fires to boil up tea and roast potatoes. A particular sport was to go further into the water when ships were going down river. This would result in the river receding before charging back in. Tugs created the best effect! Another popular spot to rival the Bowling shore was the short stretch of sand on the Erskine side, beside Erskine Hospital. It was once a popular picnic area in the summer and attracted hordes to site, build sandcastles and swim.

Swimming in the Clyde

Elma Robertson

It certainly wasn’t as clean a place as it is now when we went picnics there but we did go… and we swam, in the Clyde, and when I think on it now what it was like then. I mean you could swim now… it’s a lot cleaner but I can remember opening my eyes, you know swimming underwater, and thinking ‘oh gee wizz’ you could hardly see it was like foggy, you know.


June Alderdice

When we stayed up at Erskine Ferry, it was during the war, and there was Findlay’s Yard and there was Napier and Miller’s - but I don’t know if Napier and Miller’s came after Findlay’s boatyard. And you could hear the noises, you know, the working, but it didn’t bother me; but the river was quite foggy in the winter and you always heard the boats’ horns going.

Ships on the Clyde

David Stormonth

The ships going up and down the Clyde as well: there was many a memorable night... we had the Queen Elizabeth, we had the Waverley going down the Clyde.

Special days when you knew that something was going to happen... the sailing ships going up to Glasgow recently, you knew that was going to happen, everyone was down at the front watching and seeing things like that you know.

Toast at the shore

Billy Forsyth

Another time, what we would occasionally do is, we’d take bread out of the house (plain bread), me and my pal, and we’d take a pack of butter, when my Mum wasn’t looking, and a couple of forks, and we’d head down to the Bowling shore. We’d walk right down the shore at Old Kilpatrick and along… bypass Donald’s Quay, as it was called, The White Perch, and we’d go down to the Bowling shore. We’d build a fire and make toast - that was good fun as well. I really enjoyed that… we’d be away the whole day.

Smelly Scouts

Jim McCall

Well, the water wasn’t too good – it was full of the flotsam and jetsam as it still is to this day. A more attractive destination was to take the Erskine Ferry. Adjacent to the Ferry on the Erskine side there was – still is – a nice parcel of sandy beach and that was a favourite spot. Above the beach line there was a camping ground and that was frequented by the Scouts from all areas of Glasgow. I was a regular attender at the Catholic Church at Old Kilpatrick. Lots of members of the Scout troop would stride down to the Church smelling of smoke and sodden kilts.

Napier's Yard

Billy Forsyth

The Napiers yard was there at one time, but I don’t know if there was any ship building activity, or ship breaking activity that went on there. Napiers yard was along where the tanks and the oil depot was... they’d be pumping oil. I believe it was along in that area. Other factories that I remember was the Aurora Light Company. There were lots of little businesses right enough... coal businesses and scrap metal.

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