NS4573 : Remains of the Old Wharf at Bowling

taken 8 years ago, near to Bowling, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

Remains of the Old Wharf at Bowling
Remains of the Old Wharf at Bowling
These posts, on NS4573 : The shore at Bowling, are the remnants of a wharf (sometimes also referred to as Bowling Pier). Even in the latter half of the nineteenth century, when the first OS 25-inch-to-the-mile map of this area was made, this site was annotated as the Old Wharf, in contrast to NS4473 : The New Wharf, which was located adjacent to the present-day railway station at Bowling. The New Wharf opened in around 1850 (see the last-cited link); the Old Wharf therefore dates from an even earlier period.

Close to the near end of the ruins there is a mound with two posts on top; this structure is shown in relation to the wharf in the following, more inclusive, view of the same area: NS4573 : Remains of the Old Wharf at Bowling.

As for the background, a white upright pillar (NS4473 : Millennium Link Monument) can be seen on the right-hand side, in front of the NS4474 : Hill of Dun. On the left-hand side, an obelisk is visible on a small promontory: NS4373 : The Henry Bell Monument.

It is probably that the place-name Bowling was, in its original form, a description of the shoreline; John Bruce's "History of the Parish of West or Old Kilpatrick" (published in 1893; facsimile re-published in 1995) observes: "The village of Bowling, or, as it was known many years ago, Bowling Bay, appears last century in the parish registers as the Bowland of Spittal, evidently deriving its appellation from the curve of the bay, which has been greatly and repeatedly altered since the formation of the canal in 1790 down to the present day". As evidence, the same work cites a 1747 entry from the parish register of births that includes the form Bowland; it also notes that the full form of the name, Bowland of Spittal, appears in an entry from 1752.

For the element "Spittal", see NS4382 : Stream flowing towards Spittal Farm; in this case, the specific Spittal is evidently the one described, in the work just cited, as having been near the present-day Glenarbuck House (for which, see the 1:25000 map): "the original designation of the Glenarbuck lands was the Spittal of Dunnerbuck. The remains of the farm-house known as the Spittal may still be seen behind the coach-house".

Donald MacLeod, in his 1886 work "The Clyde District of Dumbartonshire", offers three possibilities for the origin of the name Bowling; one of them is that given above, referring to the shape of the bay. The relevant passage is as follows (I've corrected one printing error, "Bowlard", to "Bowland"):

"Bowling village owes its existence to the canal which here joins the Clyde. There are three derivations given of the name: 1st, being of Gaelic origin, meaning the beautiful bay; 2nd, it is called from the Bowlinn in Auchentorlie Glen; and 3rd, it is named from the form of the bay, Bowland."

For what it is worth, MacLeod himself considered the first of these the most likely explanation, on the grounds that the majority of local place-names are Gaelic in origin. I do not know what contemporary thinking is on the origins of the place-name.

A note on MacLeod's mention of "the Bowlinn in Auchentorlie Glen": the Bow Linn (c.NS44227486) was the name given to a series of local waterfalls and their surroundings, rather than to a single waterfall; there is a note to that effect in the 1860 OS Name Books.
Old Wharf at Bowling
This structure dates from before the middle of the nineteenth century.
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NS4573, 173 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Friday, 11 September, 2009   (more nearby)
Saturday, 19 September, 2009
Geographical Context
Estuary, Marine 
Ruin (from Tags)
Near (from Tags)
River (from Tags)
Wharf   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4505 7342 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:55.7284N 4:28.9013W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 4511 7339
View Direction
West-northwest (about 292 degrees)
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