Support the Crews at Castle to Crane Race Dumbarton to Glasgow 15 September 2018


Castle to Crane Race is the biggest open water rowing race in Scotland.  Seventy Five crews will be battling it out on the 15th of September, starting from the mouth of the River Leven at Dumbarton Castle, and finishing at Finnieston Crane in Glasgow.  13 miles all together. Even if you are not lucky enough to be rowing the event, you can still be part of the day by watching and cheering on  the crews in their colourful range of coastal rowing boats.

There are plenty of places to see the event on the way.  If you fancy a bit of exercise too, a great way to support is by bicycle.  There is a fairly traffic free route all the way from start to finish, and you can join up all the best viewing points.  Bring your bike bell, to let the rowers know that you are there.  The following are good places to stop to see the race.  Although there may be some change in timings depending on shipping movements on the Clyde, the plan is to start the first crews at 11.15.  How fast they get up the river will depend on conditions, and of course how hard they pull.  

Dumbarton Castle and the park in front of it and facing over the Clyde is a great place to watch the crews rounding the first mark, and setting off upstream.  The castle itself is a very historic site, in an imposing situation.  The fortifications are 18th century and the main building is Georgian.  The park is open all the time, and the castle is open to visitors from 0930.  The cannons will be silent this year, but what a great place to view the crews from, while they still look fresh and eager.

The next great viewing place on the way up the River is the canal basin at Bowling.  There is a cafe, lots of interesting boats to see,  and there will be some canal activities put on by Scottish Canals. The crews will be 7km in…….  still fresh but would appreciate a wee bit of encouragement.   The first crews will be reaching this point at about 1145 noon, and the later crews should be through before 1230pm.  The cycle route follows the canal for the next few miles.

The next great viewing point is at the Clydebank Leisure Centre, where it is built on the old John Brown Shipyards, just upstream from the massive Titan Crane.  The racers are now 13km in and will be feeling it.  Some of them will have mistakenly looked at that massive crane and thought they had finished.  They are just over halfway.  They will really appreciate any noise you make……..  ring your bells, beep your car horns, holler or sing the full Proclaimers song sheet.  One way or the other let them know that they are loved, and doing a great thing. While you are here just think of how massive engineering used to go on by the River Clyde.  The first crews may start to get here from about 1215.  The later crews should be through by about 1pm.

Come into Yoker, and if you can find your way to the Renfrew Ferry you can cheer the crews on from the slipways on either side of the river, and you can even take the ferry across (pedestrians and bikes), hopefully dodging the competitors on the way.  A short distance upstream from the ferry on the South Bank is the Braehead Shopping Centre where you can get a view of the race fairly close up, and you can always nip into the shopping centre for a Nando’s or a go skiing.  Plenty of parking too.

Next up on the north side of the River is the Tall Ship, who along with Galgael are organising the Clydebuilt Festival for you.  There is a wee passenger ferry now running between Govan and the Tall Ship/ Riverside Museum.  There is of course a fantastic festival going on here all day, but if you are on the whole tour, hold your horses for a moment, and make your way up towards the finish area.  Last year some crews were a bit miffed that there was a smaller crowd to greet them than they had hoped when they powered over the line after 13 miles of hard rowing.  So lets all take a shift at cheering them on!  We will expect the first crews to reach the finish line, which is just at the STV building, across the river from the Finnieston Crane, at around 1.15pm.  There are two footbridges on this section that crews pass under, the Millenium Bridge at the Glasgow Science Centre, and the Bells Bridge at the SECC.  Crews will like nothing more than seeing your smiling face peering over the bridge, giving them the last spur of encouragement that they need to get to the finish.  And there will be a pipe band in or around to see as well.

Once you have cheered plenty of crews up to the finish line, make your way back to the Tall Ship and the Riverside Museum, to enjoy all the delights of the Clydebuilt Festival.



All photos by Allan Robertson.  Read all about the different boat types in our Meet the Fleet Guide.  Castle to Crane Race is part of the Clydebuilt Festival, brought to you by “The Tall Ship” and “GalGael” and supported by the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association. All media enquires to

Comments are closed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.