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Dumbartonshire Guide

Dumbarton was formerly the county town, and the county was originally also spelled Dumbartonshire. By the eighteenth century the names "County of Dunbarton" and "County of Dumbarton" were used interchangeably. Different county bodies used the two spellings: the Dunbarton County Constabulary were formed in 1857 by the Commissioners of Supply for the County of Dunbarton.

Here are some facts about Dunbartonshire:

• Clydebank shipyard, originally known as John Brown & Co, was the most significant shipyard in the world. It's roll-call of internationally important vessels include the Queen Mary, the Lusitania and the original Queen Elizabeth, not to mention many war ships. The QE2, in 1967, was the last major ship to be built there.

• The old county of Dunbartonshire, also known as Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire and Dunbarton, was abolished in 1975. In 1996 East Dunbartonshire Council and West Dunbartonshire Council were created.

• Dunbarton's most recognisible feature is the large volcanic plug that towers over it from the River Clyde, Dunbartonshire's major river. Because some people think it looks like an elephant from certain angles, an elephant with a castle on its back became the main feature of both the town's coats of arms.

• For over 20 years, the Romans under Emperor Antoninus Pius used a series of ramparts known as the Antonine Wall as the border of its northwest frontier in the British isles. Crossing the narrowest part of Britain at the Forth-Clyde isthmus, it was built around 142 AD but abandoned in the 160s when Hadrian's Wall was reinstated as the preferred boundary point.

• The longest-lasting shipyard in Dumbarton was Denny's, which produced, among many others, the Cutty Sark. The Dunbartonshire ship builders first arrived in the early 1800s and in 1818 built the Rob Roy, the first steam-powered ferry to regularly cross the English Channel.

• The Singer factory in Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, produced 36 million sewing machines from its opening in 1884 until 1943. It was actually the third Singer factory in Scotland, after neither of the earlier facilities in Glasgow and then Bridgeton Cross could keep up with the enormous demand.

• Dumbarton was the centre of the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde from the fifth century until 1018. Sitting on volcanic rock overlooking the Firth of Clyde, it was an important royal refuge. Dumbarton Rock itself is part of a geological feature that stretches to the Grampians.

• Having turned 25, Jo Swinson became the youngest MP in Parliament when she took the Dunbartonshire East seat for the Lib Dems from Labour at the 2005 general election.

Here are just some places to visit in and around Dunbartonshire:

Balloch Castle
Country Park Balloch
Dunbartonshire G83 8LX
The Hill House
Upper Colquhoun Helensburgh
Dunbartonshire G84 9AJ
Dumbarton Castle
Castle Road Dumbarton
Dunbartonshire G82 1JJ
Loch Lomond Shores & Gateway Centre
G83 8JW
Finlaystone House
PA14 6TG
Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve
G63 0JQ
Hill House
Helensburgh G84 9AF
George Buchanan Monument
G63 9SF

Scotland is packed with stunning countryside views, steaped in history and proud of its many traditions.
There really is something for everyone in Scotland and the BEST way to get the full experience is by camping.
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