Scotland from the Roadside


Firth of Clyde

Firth of Clyde

Ailsa Craig
(See the galleries for more photos of  the Firth of Clyde!)

The Firth of Clyde is the estuary of the River Clyde; however, as with the Firth of Forth in the east, the point where the Clyde ceases to be a river and becomes the firth is unclear. Although the Clyde is tidal as far upstream as Glasgow Green and has been noticeably widening from the time it passed under the Erskine Bridge, there are still hazards to navigation, mainly sandbanks and shallow areas, as far west as Greenock; so it is between this town on the south side of the Clyde and the Ardmore promontory on the north that we will consider where the River becomes the Firth.

In simple terms, the Firth of Clyde is the body of water to the south and east of, and therefore enclosed by, mainland Argyll. A number of Argyll’s sea lochs open in to the Clyde, creating a series of peninsulas; these lochs include Gare Loch, Loch Long, Holy Loch and Loch Fyne. At its southern end, the Firth of Clyde opens in to the North Channel, the stretch of water that separates Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Like the Forth, the Firth of Clyde is also home to a number of islands; however, these islands are considerably larger: Arran and Bute are the 7th and 13th largest of the Scottish islands respectively; Bute is separated from the Cowal Peninsula by the narrow Kyles of Bute, while between Arran and the Kintyre peninsula is the Kilbrannan Sound. The other main islands within the Firth of Clyde are: Great and Little Cumbrae, which sit between Ayrshire and Bute; and Ailsa Craig, which sits near the mouth of the Firth.

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