Happy days at the harbour...
Great fun for the local youngsters
A beauty spot just outside Dumbarton is becoming a hive of activity thanks to a £3million funding boost.
Bowling Harbour is the home to a host of activities including canoeing, raft building, cycling and water zorbing — with a sudden surge in people taking up stand up paddle boarding on the canal.
An action-packed festival has marked the end of the first busy season.
Tucked away in a quite corner between Dumbarton and Clydebank, Bowling Harbour is becoming a real hub of activity.
And the beauty spot, which provides unrivalled views of the Clyde, was truly buzzing during a mini festival last month showcasing the best the area has to offer.
This year has been a landmark one for the site which has benefitted from more than £3million in public funding as, in springtime, the BHive Activity Hub opened its doors for the first time giving families and community groups the chance to sample a vast range of water and land activities.
Their festival at the end of September proved to be popular and signed off a successful first season.
Work is now underway to build on the progress taken this year into 2018.
Matt Skilling, Activities Coordinator at Scottish Canals, said: “Throughout the summer, it’s been quite wet and there’s still a lot of people who don’t know where Bowling Harbour is.
“But by having a presence, it definitely has brought footfall down to the site.
“The businesses have reported an increase in footfall. On Saturday there, that was the third activity day that I had organised and that was really well attended. The Dug Cafe reported one of the busiest ever cafes.”
Since the start of the year, the Dug Cafe, a dog-friendly coffee shop, Paton’s Parcels and Magic Cycles
Our target markets are the school and youth groups. We are going for those about eight years up to about 18 or 19
have all been trading at Bowling Harbour and, with the BHive activity hub opening in spring, the area is bustling.
Matt told us more about the new addition and the thinking behind it. He said: “People are tied up behind computers and XBoxes and we are trying to spark up family interaction of play.
“I have only been with Scottish Canals for 11 months now and, even during my time. I have noticed so much development.
“I am working really closely with the social enterprise based in the railway bridge arches to bring down more activity and more footfall.”
The BHive was launched in April and with a week of free activities to five different local schools.
Following on from that, there was a taster weekend organised which was really well attended.
Those going along have had the chance to sample the wide variety of activities on offer including canoeing, raft building, soft archery, stand-up paddle boarding and waterzorbing.
Matt added: “Our target markets are the school and the youth groups. We are going for those about eight years up to about 18 or 19.
“We have had Y-Sort It down and I am in close communication with them with a view to getting something set up for next year.”
Speaking about the activities which have attracted most interest, Matt said: “I would say, from my point of view, definitely stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing.
“There’s definitely been a sudden surge in stand-up paddle boarding and the canal is perfect for that because it’s very sheltered.”
As well as all of these activities, some prominent community groups went along to the festival last month to take part including the Skylark Trust and Concord Community Cinema.
And Matt is hoping that by spreading the word about Bowling Harbour to them, more people locally will make their way to the canal site to find out more.
He added: “We were running evening yoga sessions which was really good.
“There was one evening when we had seven people that turned up, four of whom turned up were from Dumbarton and didn’t know where Bowling was.
“All of these community events help bring people here.”
More information is available online at www.bowlingharbour. co.uk
Taking aim These boys enjoyed finding out about archery
Connecting The garden games are popular
Pony trekking The youngsters got to sample a variety of activities at the festival
On the water Stand-up paddle boarding is one of the success stories at Bowling
Community link Inclusive Images, which operates across West Dunbartonshire, were at the festival 230919BOWLING_HARBOUR_FESTIVAL_012
All smiles This youngster was keen on canoeing 230919BOWLING_HARBOUR_FESTIVAL_015
Scenic site The location at Bowling is stunning
Wheely great Magic Cycles operates from Bowling