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In the Shadow of the Rock

by Mary Edward

SINCE time immemorial this great Rock has dominated the point where the River Leven flows into the River Clyde, and has come to define the town of Dumbarton. It is a basaltic crag which rises more than 200 feet above sea level, and is clearly visible from many points on both sides of the Clyde. Legends and myths abound of the castle and the Rock, unsurprising in a monolith of such dramatic aspect.

It rises more than 200 feet above sea level, and is clearly visible from many points on both sides of the Clyde

In Roman times it was held to be a strategic end-point to the Antonine Wall, then for several centuries it had a role as Dunbritton, capital of the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde, a territory which stretched to the Welsh border. From its dungeons William Wallace was taken to his barbaric execution in London and in 1313, King Robert the Bruce narrowly escaped death by the treachery of the keeper, Sir John Menteith. In a later century Mary Queen of Scots departed from the Rock by sea to find refuge in France. And as the centuries passed, Dumbarton Rock continued to exert its spell over giants of history, such as Doctor Johnson on his Scottish tour, and Queen Victoria in 1847.

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January 2017
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