Helensburgh is situated on the River Clyde approximately 20 miles north west of Glasgow - and is an elegant Victorian town with a beautiful level promenade. Sir James Colquhoun designed the town in 1780 and named it after his wife Helen. Originally the place was a small clachan and was called Milligs. So Milligs became Helensburgh. It has a pier where you can get local ferries which will take you over to Greenock, Gourock and Kilcreggan. The main street has an unusual range of individual shops and a large selection of coffee shops.
Looking across to the Rosneath Peninsula, the valley of the Kilcreggan and Camsail burns, which separates Gallow Hill at the tip from the rest of the peninsula, marks the line of the Highland Boundary Fault. This fault, which runs from Stonehaven in the northeast, occurred over 375 million years ago and separates the relatively young rocks of the Midland Valley from the relatively old rocks of the Highlands. Rhu, Rosneath and Kilcreggan are therefore technically in the Highlands; Helensburgh sadly missed the "cut" by a few hundred metres and remains in the Lowlands.
John Logie Baird (1888-1946) who pioneered television was born in Helensburgh and there is a memorial to him on the waterfront esplanade. Henry Bell (1767-1830), who was the town's provost, designed the Comet in 1812, and a memorial to his memory stands on the waterfront esplanade.
All this area was used by Sir Walter Scott as background for his novel The Heart of Midlothian.
A small place lying on the East shore of the Gareloch with vestiges of ancient castle and chapel, in Rhu parish, Dunbartonshire. This is the site of a large Royal Naval Submarine base. Just past Faslane a road on the right takes you into Glen Fruin - The Glen of Weeping. It was here in 1603 that the MacGregors ambushed the Colquhouns and more than 100 of the Colquhouns were killed in the slaughter. The MacGregors went on to plunder and pillage Colquhoun lands and the King was so incensed that he stripped the MacGregors of their lands outlawed them and ordered that their name be proscribed. The MacGregors, the clan of Rob Roy MacGregor, were landless and nameless. Scott wrote another famous novel all about them called Rob Roy .
The Gareloch villages
Rhu or Row, Parish
Rhu village and parish lies on the west border of Dunbartonshire. ... The parish also contains Helensburgh town and most of Garelochhead village, and measures 9 miles by 5, and comprises 20,126 acres.
A belt of low shore and contiguous slope extends along the whole Gareloch from Helensburgh to Garelochhead, and is thickly studded with mansions and villas. A hill-range, with altitudes of from 667 to 1183 feet above sea-level, extends immediately behind, and abuts on Loch Long; another range, with altitudes of from 1630 to 2092 feet, extends parallel to that, has its watershed along the northern boundary, and also abuts on Loch Long; and Glen-Fruin, contracting gradually from strath to narrowness, lies between the two ranges. The chief antiquities are vestiges of Shandon and Faslane castles.
Henry Bell is buried in Rhu. One of the many mansions which could be found at Rhu was that of the Smith family. The daughter of the family was the famous Madeleine Smith who was tried in Glasgow for murdering her fiance Pierre Emile L'Angelier, in 1857, by poisoning him. The case was found "not proven" so Madeleine got off.
This is a hamlet on the north side of Gareloch, 5 1/2 miles north-north-west of Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire. It took its name, signifying 'old fort,' from an ancient fortalice, now almost extinct. Robert Napier, the famous Clyde engineer had his mansion here.
Garelochhead village stands at head of the Gareloch, 7 1/2 miles north-west of Helensburgh and just north of the Faslane Naval Base. Not many people have heard of it but there was once a Battle of Garelochhead. It took place in 1853 and was between Sir James Colquhoun and his forces and Sunday trippers on the paddle steamer Emperor from Glasgow. Sir James didn't want any Sunday trippers on his domains so when the crew threw the ropes ashore to tie up at the pier Colquhoun's men threw them back aboard. The Glasgow folk determined to have their time ashore jumped on to the pier and a battle ensued. The Colquhoun men were routed. Eventually Colquhoun won the fight through the courts when Sunday sails were forbidden by law. Later the pier owners were looking for Sunday visitors to come to keep them in business.
Roseneath village and the peninsulated parish lies in the extreme west of Dunbartonshire. The parish contains Kilcreggan, Craigrownie, Cove, Coulport, Clynder, and Rahane villages, and part of Garelochhead. Its length is about 7 miles; its greatest breadth 3 3/4 miles. The eastern boundary is all Gareloch down to its mouth at Roseneath Point; the southern boundary is the Firth of Clyde from that westward to Craigrownie; the western boundary is Loch Long from its mouth up to the vicinity of Loch Goil; and the northern boundary is an isthmus of about a mile from Loch Long eastward to the head of the Gareloch. The coast is variously sandy, sloping, and rocky, and exhibits, over much of its length, a fine display of handsome villages, villas, and ornate cottages; and includes, on the lower part of Gareloch, the singularly good anchoring-place of Campsaile Bay. The southern part of the interior is a mixture of slope, swell, and dingle, contains Roseneath Castle, a seat of the Duke of Argyle. It stands near the site of an ancient fortalice refitted as a noble residence in 1630, and destroyed by accidental fire in 1802. It was erected in 1803-6, is in a mixed style of Gothic, Roman, and Italian, and has ornate offices and splendid grounds. The ancient fortalice is said to have been captured by Sir William Wallace.
The background tartan used for this page is the "MacNiven" tartan