Greenock, Scotland

2108 HAL Voyage of the Vikings

Friday, August 10, 2018

 

In both the Scottish Islands and along the coast, the early Viking raids on monasteries were soon followed by the establishment of permanent settlements.  The first Viking attack in Scotland was in 795 and the raids of monasteries continued unabated for the next 50 years.  But by the mid-9th century, the emphasis had changed from marauding to settling.  The Norse eventually converted to Christianity and the assimilation was complete.

We have visited Greenock several times.  And never have the Vikings been mentioned.  Such was the case this time, also.  On prior occasions, we have toured Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as Greenock itself.  This time, we opted to visit the shipbuilding town of Port Glasgow.  We had learned the Inverclyde Tourist Group provided FREE 2-hour tours through Greenock, or to Gourock, or to Port Glasgow and the Newark Castle.  Upon disembarking the ship, we signed up for the Castle tour which also included a windshield tour of Greenock.

 

Here are the photos:

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From Dublin, we sailed the Irish Sea to the River Clyde and docked in Greenock, Scotland.
It was an easy walk into town from the dock.
It was an easy walk into town from the dock.
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Just as in olden days, the Custom House was one of the first buildings in sight! Today, the old harbor has been filled in, but the structure remains imposing.
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This is Beacon Tower. It incorporates a clock, weather vane, bell, fog light, post box and water fountain. This amazingly efficient tower was designed by a local marine artist, William Clark, and built in 1868 in the courtyard of the Custom House.
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The Admiralty Plan Anchor, presented by the Royal Navy in 1972, commemorates the area’s history. This was once a chaotic bustle of horses, carts, sailors and passengers all rushing from the train station to the ships sailing from Customhouse Quay.
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In Greenock, the Victoria Tower rises above the Inverclyde Administrative Center. The complex was built in the 1880s, but it is said, the towers’ completion was delayed in order to exceed the final height of Glasgow’s tower!
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The Well, c.1629, serviced the Schaw Mansion which was destroyed in 1886 when construction for a railway tunnel undermined the structure. What a Bummer!!!
But there are still some lovely old homes around Wells Park.
But there are still some lovely old homes around Wells Park.
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Victoria Tower looms in the background of Wells Park. The War Memorial, at the circle, was erected in 1924.
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On our way to Port Glasgow to visit the Newark Castle, we passed the PS Comet, the first successful commercial operation of a steamboat in Europe.
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The Comet was built for Henry Bell, a hotel & baths owner in Helensburgh. Passenger service between Glasgow and Greenock began on August 15, 1812.
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In 1811, after corresponding with Robert Fulton, Henry Bell hired John Wood & Co., shipbuilders of Port Glasgow, to build the paddle steamer “Comet.” On December 21, 1820, the Comet was wrecked in strong currents at Craignish Point.
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Our last stop was Newark Castle in Port Glasgow. The castle was built in 1478 by George Maxwell and significally expanded in the late 16th century by Sir Patrick Maxwell. By 1909, the property was placed in care of the State.
Newark Castle on the River Clyde.
Newark Castle on the River Clyde.
Signage on the lintel says "The Blessing of God be Herein."
Signage on the lintel says “The Blessing of God be Herein.”
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Last used as a dovecote, this little stucture was once the corner guard tower of the enclosing wall.
All the stairs are quite steep.
All the stairs are quite steep.
Newark Castle is, today, only a shell of of its former glory.
Newark Castle is, today, only a shell of of its former glory.

 

Our next port-of-call is Portree on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

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