River Leven, Dunbartonshire

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River Leven, Dunbartonshire

The River Leven is a river in Dunbartonshire which brings water the six miles from Loch Lomond in the north out to the River Clyde in the south. The river is very popular with salmon and sea trout anglers, as these migratory make the journey up to Loch Lomond.

The Vale of Leven is the northern part of the river's course, and the whole course of the wee river is busy with towns; Balloch by the loch, then Jamestown, Dunbartonshire, Alexandria, Bonhill and Penton, then as the river widen and becomes tidal it enters Dumbarton.

Dumbarton stands on the estuary of the Clyde and the place of its foundation, Dumbarton Castle, stands where the Leven enters the Clyde.

The Leven is a relatively short river but is widely claimed to be the fastest flowing river in Scotland after the River Spey, or so claims a plaque beside the river in Balloch.

The river is crossed by nine bridges and two weirs. There is a path for pedestrians and cyclists near the river, which connects with a cycle path to Glasgow. It follows the river very closely from Balloch to Renton, less closely from Renton to Dumbarton.

In the past the river was used to get steamers into Loch Lomond, although they sometimes did not find it an easy journey and could have difficulty getting past the bridges.[1] Nowadays the river is considered to be not navigable. The height of the river can vary, sometimes being a good deal higher in winter than summer.

Outside links

The Leven and Clyde in Dumbarton


  1. The Old Vale and its Memories