High Street, Dumbarton, in 2011
The eighteenth century bridge over the River Leven at Dumbarton
Dumbarton Rock, and castle - 2011
Dumbarton
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Dumbarton feels a bit miserable. The people of the town amble around in what can only be described as a state of some miserableness. Their elephant has gone. Yup, there's nothing quite like a missing heffalump for making a person feel a tad on the miserable side, that's for sure.
Dumbarton is probably showing more signs of wear and tear than most other Scottish towns that I have come across. There are countless vacant shops to let on the High Street, and an almost deserted concrete shopping centre - the Artizan Shopping Centre - that must surely be the ugliest thing we have ever had the misfortune to construct. And also on that High Street sits the Elephant & Castle pub, closed and abandoned, a portentous symbol of the decline of this small, once industrious town.
Dumbarton's coat of arms is made up largely of an elephant; an elephant with a little castle on its back. Why Dumbarton should have such a coat of arms has been a topic of much debate. Some say that the rock on which Dumbarton Castle sits looks like an elephant. Perhaps. But this Royal Burgh has been identified with the Roman place, 'Theodosia'. The Romans did use elephants: war elephants. Might it be the case that the Romans brought elephants to Dumbarton? I truly believe that the answer to Dumbarton's fortunes lies in the past, a past where once there were elephants, and shopping centres had yet to be invented.
HIGH STREET, DUMBARTON
BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER LEVEN
DUMBARTON ROCK, AND CASTLE
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How to
GET THERE


You can get a train to Dumbarton from Glasgow Queen Street railway station (lower level).
Scotland’s online tourist guide – tartan hippo logo