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The Firth
Firth
of Clyde is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
off the southwest coast of Scotland, named for the River Clyde
River Clyde
which empties into it. It encloses the largest and deepest coastal waters in the British Isles, sheltered from the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
by the Kintyre
Kintyre
peninsula which encloses the outer firth in Argyll
Argyll
and Ayrshire. The Kilbrannan Sound is a large arm of the Firth
Firth
of Clyde, separating the Kintyre
Kintyre
Peninsula from the Isle of Arran. Within the Firth
Firth
of Clyde is another major island – the Isle of Bute. Given its strategic location, at the entrance to the middle/upper Clyde, Bute played a vitally important military (naval) role during World War II. The Firth's climate enjoys the benefit of the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
from America. At its entrance the firth is some 26 miles (42 km) wide. Its upper reaches include an area where it is joined by Loch Long
Loch Long
and the Gare Loch. This includes the large anchorage off Greenock
Greenock
known as the Tail of the Bank
Tail of the Bank
in reference to the sandbar which separates the firth from the estuary of the River Clyde. The Clyde is still almost 2 miles (3.2 km) wide at the sandbar, and its upper tidal limit is at the tidal weir adjacent to Glasgow
Glasgow
Green. The cultural and geographical distinction between the firth and the River Clyde
River Clyde
is vague, and people will sometimes refer to Dumbarton
Dumbarton
as being on the Firth
Firth
of Clyde, while the population of Port Glasgow
Port Glasgow
and Greenock
Greenock
frequently refer to the firth to their north as "the river". In Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic
the landward end is called Linne Chluaidh (pronounced [ʎiɲəˈxlˠ̪uəj]) (meaning the same as the English), while the area around the south of Arran, Kintyre
Kintyre
and Ayrshire/ Galloway
Galloway
is An Linne Ghlas [ə ʎiɲə ɣlˠ̪as̪].

Contents

1 Geography

1.1 Cowal
Cowal
Peninsula

1.1.1 Ferries

1.2 Towns and villages along the shoreline 1.3 Islands in the Clyde 1.4 Sea lochs off the Clyde

2 History 3 Marine wildlife 4 Shipping in the Firth 5 Lighthouses and navigation beacons 6 See also 7 References 8 Sources 9 External links

Geography[edit] The Firth
Firth
encompasses many islands and peninsulas and has twelve ferry routes connecting them to the mainland and each other. Sometimes called the Clyde Waters, this water body is customarily considered an element of the Irish Sea.[1] The ferry services are run by Caledonian MacBrayne and by Western Ferries
Western Ferries
and many of the routes are lifeline services for communities living in remote areas. A great number of sea lochs adjoin the Firth, the largest being Loch
Loch
Fyne.

The Holy Loch
Loch
seen across the upper Firth
Firth
of Clyde from Gourock, with Hunter's Quay
Hunter's Quay
to the left and Strone
Strone
to the right, with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry MV Saturn arriving from Dunoon.

Cowal
Cowal
Peninsula[edit] The Cowal
Cowal
peninsula extends into the Firth
Firth
of Clyde and forms the main upper firth west shoreline.[2] The main town on the Cowal
Cowal
peninsula is Dunoon. Ferries[edit] These routes across the Firth
Firth
of Clyde save time, rather than traveling "round by road", via Loch
Loch
Eck side (A815 road), the Rest and be thankful (A83 road) and Loch
Loch
Lomond side (A82 road). The service between Dunoon
Dunoon
and Gourock
Gourock
in Inverclyde, operated by the Caledonian MacBrayne
Caledonian MacBrayne
subsidiary Argyll
Argyll
Ferries is a foot passenger only service. This service connects directly with the Abellio ScotRail service to Glasgow.[3][4] Western Ferries
Western Ferries
operate the service between Hunters Quay
Hunters Quay
and McInroy's Point near Gourock
Gourock
and carry all types of vehicular transport and foot passengers.[5] Towns and villages along the shoreline[edit]

Firth
Firth
of Clyde, from Dunoon

This lists the major towns and some of the numerous villages along the firth (not the River Clyde
River Clyde
or connecting lochs).

Ardrossan, Ayr Barassie, Brodick Campbeltown, Cardross, Carradale Dumbarton, Dunoon Fairlie Gourock, Greenock, Girvan Helensburgh, Hunter's Quay Innellan, Inverkip, Irvine Kilcreggan, Kilmun, Kirn Lamlash, Largs, Lochranza Millport Port Bannatyne, Portencross, Port Glasgow, Prestwick Rothesay Saltcoats, Seamill, Skelmorlie, Stevenston, Strone Toward, Troon Wemyss Bay, West Kilbride

Islands in the Clyde[edit] Main article: Islands of the Clyde There are many islands in the firth. The largest all have thriving communities and regular ferry services connecting them to the mainland. They are:

PS Waverley off Arran.

The Largs
Largs
"Pencil" looking south towards the Hunterston terminal, with Cumbrae and the Isle of Arran
Isle of Arran
to the west.

Arran Bute Cumbrae

Sea lochs off the Clyde[edit]

Yachts off Inverkip
Inverkip
- geograph.org.uk - 663046

Gare Loch Loch
Loch
Long, and Loch
Loch
Goil The Holy Loch
Loch
at Sandbank, Argyll
Argyll
on the Cowal
Cowal
Peninsula. Loch
Loch
Striven Loch
Loch
Riddon off the Kyles of Bute Loch
Loch
Fyne, Loch
Loch
Gilp and Loch
Loch
Shira Loch
Loch
Ranza Campbeltown
Campbeltown
Loch, Loch
Loch
Ryan East Loch
Loch
Tarbert Loch
Loch
Gair.

History[edit]

Ferguson Shipbuilders, the last shipyard on the Lower Clyde, close by Newark Castle, Port Glasgow, at the upper end of the firth

The Clyde formed an important sea route from the earliest times, and the Battle of Largs
Largs
in 1263 marked the turning point for the end of Norse ambitions in Britain. Progressively from the 16th century onwards the Clyde became the conduit for commerce and industry, including herring, timber, wine, sugar, tobacco, textiles, iron and steel, coal, oil, chemicals, distilling and brewing, ships, locomotives, vehicles and other manufactured products. During World War II Glasgow
Glasgow
and the Clyde became Britain's main entry point for Allied merchant shipping, military personnel and equipment, and for the assembly, despatch and control of ocean convoys. The Clyde formed the largest base of naval ships. Among many wartime innovations to support air, maritime and territorial combat the world's first deep water test of a submarine oil pipeline was conducted in 1942 on a pipeline laid across the Firth
Firth
of Clyde in Operation Pluto. In the middle of the 19th century the sport of yachting became popular on the Clyde. The area became famous worldwide for its significant contribution to yachting and yachtbuilding with notable designers including: William Fife
William Fife
III; Alfred Mylne; G L Watson; David Boyd. It was also the location of many famous yacht yards. Clyde-built wooden yachts are still known for quality and style today. With the advent of tourism in Victorian times, the area became popular with Glaswegians and residents of neighbouring towns and counties who travelled "doon the watter" on Clyde steamers to holiday in the picturesque seaside towns and villages that line the firth, with the more wealthy building substantial holiday homes along its coasts. Many towns such as Gourock, Largs, Ayr, Dunoon, Rothesay flourished during this period and became fully fledged resorts with well-appointed hotels and attractions. Golf courses increased in large number, including major championship courses. The steam-powered PS Waverley still makes cruising trips to these coastal towns, in addition to regular services. Tourism, sport and recreation, and heritage history attract visitors from across the world. The Firth
Firth
is ringed by many castles and buildings of historical importance which are open to the public, including Inveraray Castle, Brodick
Brodick
Castle, the opulent Mount Stuart House
Mount Stuart House
on the Isle of Bute, and Culzean Castle, which is the most visited attraction owned by National Trust for Scotland. Ocean liners are frequent callers at Greenock, and Glasgow
Glasgow
International Airport and Glasgow
Glasgow
Prestwick
Prestwick
Airport are nearby. Rail services to and from the coast, including links to Oban and Fort William, are frequent, with city terminals in Glasgow
Glasgow
and Edinburgh. Daily ferry services connect with Belfast.

The inner firth seen from the Cowal
Cowal
peninsula near Dunoon, looking north east to the coast of Inverclyde
Inverclyde
at Cloch
Cloch
point south of Gourock and Greenock, and beyond that the Tail of the Bank. PS Waverley can be seen cruising south "doon the watter"

The "lower Clyde" shipyards of Greenock
Greenock
and Port Glasgow, most notably Scott Lithgow, played an important role in shipbuilding, with the PS Comet being the first successful steamboat in Europe, and a large proportion of the world's shipping being built there until well into the 20th century. In more recent times the natural beauty of the firth has been compromised in places by a succession of industrial and military developments along the shoreline, including Hunterston and Hunterston deepwater terminal, while at the same time shipbuilding has declined. In the upper Clyde two major shipyards continue at Glasgow Govan
Govan
and Scotstoun, run by BAE, whose major client is the Royal Navy. Today only one lower Clyde shipyard exists, Ferguson Shipbuilders, next to Newark Castle, Port Glasgow, The Garvel dry dock in Greenock continues in operation for ship repair, and the large Inchgreen dry dock in Greenock
Greenock
is in occasional use. The sites of former shipyards are being regenerated by housing, leisure facilities and commercial premises. Marine wildlife[edit] Common and grey seals abound in the firth. Harbour porpoises are also common and while dolphins are much less so, they have been spotted in the upper reaches of the firth in the summer of 2005. Whales
Whales
do not favour the Clyde and although there have been instances of larger whales beaching themselves or becoming stranded in the upper firth, only smaller pilot or minke whales seem to visit with any kind of regularity. In 2005 the firth was listed as having the 2nd highest incidence of basking shark sightings in Scotland
Scotland
(after The Minch). In particular these huge sharks seem to favour the warm, shallow waters surrounding Pladda. Although at one time heavily fished from the Firth's many fishing towns, the only catches remaining in Clyde waters today of commercial interest are prawns, lobster and herring. Mussels and crayfish remain important. There is a Marine Biological Station run by the Universities of Glasgow
Glasgow
and London on Great Cumbrae. In September 2008, Scotland's first No Take Zone (NTZ) was introduced in Lamlash
Lamlash
Bay, Isle of Arran. This was instigated by a community effort driven by the Community of Arran Seabed Trust
Community of Arran Seabed Trust
(C.O.A.S.T). The NTZ was specifically introduced to protect delicate communities such as maerl. Maerl
Maerl
is a very slow-growing (1 mm per year) coral-like calcareous red algae and is an important Scottish species. Maerl
Maerl
beds are reservoirs of biodiversity, important both as nursery grounds for young scallops and young fish. Studies show that organic waste from fish farms significantly reduces live maerl and that scallop dredging has profound and long lasting impacts. Scallop dredging on a maerl bed has been found to kill over 70% of live maerl, with no discernible recovery over the following four years. Recovery of maerl beds would be expected to require many years without disturbance. Shipping in the Firth[edit]

At Gourock
Gourock
a ship heads for the container cranes at Greenock, passing the Caledonian MacBrayne
Caledonian MacBrayne
Dunoon
Dunoon
ferry. Across the firth MV Kenilworth leaves Kilcreggan
Kilcreggan
for Helensburgh.

Container cranes at Greenock's Ocean Terminal, with the berth occupied by the cruise liner Golden Princess.

The Firth
Firth
of Clyde like the River Clyde
River Clyde
has historically been an important centre of shipbuilding and shipping. In addition to the shipbuilding and engineering centres up river of Glasgow, Govan, Clydebank, Dumbarton
Dumbarton
and Renfrew
Renfrew
the lower river developed major yards at Greenock, Port Glasgow
Port Glasgow
and smaller ones at Irvine, Ardrossan, Troon and Campbeltown
Campbeltown
and boatyards including Hunters Quay, Port Bannatyne and Fairlie. Ferguson Shipbuilders
Ferguson Shipbuilders
yard, adjacent to Newark Castle, Port Glasgow, remains. Greenock
Greenock
is the site of one of the world's largest dry dock and ship-repair facilities at Inchgreen. The dry dock there is 305 m long and 44 m wide and is operated by Northwestern Shiprepairers Limited using the name Scott Lithgow, although unrelated to the famous Port Glasgow
Port Glasgow
Scott Lithgow shipbuilding company.[citation needed] The Firth
Firth
of Clyde has one of the deepest sea entrance channels in northern Europe, which can accommodate the largest Capesize
Capesize
vessels afloat, and as such the Clyde is one of the UK's leading ports, handling some 7.5 million tonnes of cargo each year. Hunterston Terminal was constructed to bring in bulk ore, but now mainly deals with coal imports.[citation needed] Supertankers up to 324,000 tonnes travel up the firth to deliver crude oil to Finnart Oil Terminal
Finnart Oil Terminal
in Loch
Loch
Long, which is connected by pipeline to the Grangemouth Refinery on the Firth
Firth
of Forth. A second pipeline brings back refined oil products for export in smaller oil tankers, mainly to Northern Ireland.[6] Greenock's Ocean Terminal facility handles cargo from smaller container ships. More recently, regular cruise liner traffic has built up, making the port very busy in season. Clydeport, North Ayrshire Council and Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Enterprise
propose a £200m international deep-water container terminal, also at Hunterston, which would effectively act as a worldwide gateway port, and possibly become the major container port for the northern half of Europe. Initial environmental and economic impact studies are currently being undertaken.[citation needed] The Royal Navy
Royal Navy
has a significant presence on the Clyde, at HMNB Clyde on the Gare Loch and on Loch
Loch
Long, connected to the nuclear stores in Coulport and Glen Douglas. The dockyard engineering and operations are managed by Babcock International, while one of the three main ports providing marine services support vessels is at Greenock, previously operated directly by the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service. Lighthouses and navigation beacons[edit]

The Gantocks

There are lighthouses at:

Cloch
Cloch
Point on the Inverclyde
Inverclyde
coast.[7] Toward
Toward
Point on the Southern tip of the Cowal
Cowal
Peninsula.[8] Little Cumbrae[9] Pladda[10]

There are navigation beacons at:

The Gantocks
The Gantocks
Rocks and Navigation Beacon, off the coast at Dunoon, Cowal
Cowal
Peninsula.[11]

See also[edit]

Islands of the Clyde

References[edit]

^ C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Irish Sea. eds. P.Saundry & C.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC Archived June 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Home". visitcowal. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2017-02-07.  ^ "Welcome to Argyll
Argyll
Ferries". Argyllferries.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-02-07.  ^ "Train to and from Gourock". www.scotrail.co.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2018.  ^ " Western Ferries
Western Ferries
(Clyde) Ltd". www.western-ferries.co.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2018.  ^ Fullarton, Donald (29 July 2011). "Americans built oil terminal". Helensburgh
Helensburgh
Heritage. Retrieved 23 May 2013.  ^ "Inverkip, The Cloch
Cloch
Lighthouse". Canmore. Retrieved 2017-02-07.  ^ " Toward
Toward
Point, Toward
Toward
Point Lighthouse". Canmore. Retrieved 2017-02-07.  ^ " Little Cumbrae
Little Cumbrae
Island, New Lighthouse". Canmore. 1951-08-23. Retrieved 2017-02-07.  ^ "Pladda, Lighthouse". Canmore. 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2017-02-07.  ^ "The Gantocks, Navigation Beacon". Canmore. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 

Sources[edit]

The Clyde: River and Firth, 1907 and reissued 2010, Neil Munro, with illustrations by Mary Y and Y Young Hunter The Firth
Firth
of Clyde, 1952, George Blake Glasgow
Glasgow
and the Clyde, 1965, Ward Lock Guide Clyde Coast Connections, 2010, Neil Grieves From Comet to Cal Mac : Two Centuries of Hebridean and Clyde Shipping, 2011, Donald E Meek and Bruce Peter Firth
Firth
of Clyde: Sailing Directions and Anchorages, 2012, Clyde Cruising Club HM Naval Base: Clyde, 2012, Keith Hall

External links[edit]

Map sources for Firth
Firth
of Clyde

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Firth
Firth
of Clyde.

Scotland
Scotland
portal

v t e

Shipyards of the Clyde

Ferguson Lithgows Scott Stephen Fairfield H&W Yarrow Connell Barclay Curle Henderson Inglis Denny John Brown Lobnitz Beardmore

v t e

River Clyde, Scotland

Administrative areas

South Lanarkshire North Lanarkshire City of Glasgow West Dunbartonshire Renfrewshire Inverclyde Argyll
Argyll
and Bute

Flows into

Firth
Firth
of Clyde, then North Channel

Settlements (upstream to downstream)

Elvanfoot Abington Symington New Lanark Lanark Wishaw Motherwell Hamilton Bothwell Uddingston Cambuslang Rutherglen Glasgow Renfrew Clydebank Bearsden Old Kilpatrick Dumbarton Port Glasgow Greenock Helensburgh Gourock Dunoon

Major tributaries (upstream to downstream by confluence)

Daer Water Potrail Water Duneaton Water North Medwyn River South Medwyn River Douglas Water Mouse Water River Nethan Avon Water South Calder Water North Calder Water Rotten Calder River Kelvin River Cart River Leven

Major bridges and Crossings (upstream to downstream)

Clyde's Bridge Wolfclyde Bridge Thankerton Bridge Hyndford Bridge Clydesholm Bridge Crossford Bridge Garrion Bridge Camp Viaduct Clyde Bridge Raith Bridge East Kilbride Expressway Bridge Bothwell
Bothwell
Bridge David Livingstone Memorial Bridge Uddingston
Uddingston
Footbridge Uddingston
Uddingston
Viaduct Haughhead Bridge Westburn Viaduct Clydeford Bridge Cambuslang
Cambuslang
Bridge Bogleshole Road Bridge Clydebridge Viaduct Auchenshuggle Bridge Cuningar Loop Footbridge Dalmarnock Bridge Dalmarnock Railway Bridge Shawfield Smartbridge Rutherglen
Rutherglen
Bridge Polmadie Bridge King's Bridge St. Andrew's Suspension Bridge Pipe Bridge and Weir Albert Bridge City Union Bridge Victoria Bridge South Portland Street Suspension Bridge Glasgow
Glasgow
Bridge Caledonian Railway Bridge George V Bridge Tradeston Bridge Kingston Bridge Clyde Arc Bell's Bridge Millennium Bridge Clyde Tunnel Renfrew
Renfrew
Ferry Erskine Ferry Erskine Bridge

Longest UK rivers

Severn Thames Trent Great Ouse Wye Ure/Ouse Tay Spey Clyde Tweed Avon Nene Eden Dee

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 243504

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