Don Bennett on Westferry

Westferry 10 Course

 

Following on from the highly acclaimed ‘Georgetown Mystery’ comes the latest in our series exploring the hidden history of our local time trial courses.

 

When riding a ten, how often do you find your concentration drifting away from speed, cadence and heart rate to less stressful matters such as Scotlands industrial heritage?

 

Luckily, Westferry has much to offer, and a quick glance over the estuary at low tide will provide a glimpse of one of Scotland's ‘hidden gems’

 

The Westferry timber ponds.

 

On the return leg of the course you cant fail to notice the black wooden stumps sticking up from the sand at low tide. 

 

 

Timber ponds at low tide  

 

 

 

These date from around 1790 and are the remains of wooden enclosures or ‘ponds’ erected to store and season timber imported from North America for Greenock's Ship building industry. They extend from Newark Castle to Langbank and were a source of income to the local landowners who rented out the shoreline for this purpose. 

 

Timber ponds at sunrise

 

They fell out of use when wooden ship building declined in the 19th century - the last wooden ship was built on the Clyde in 1859.

 

So next time you are feeling a bit embarrassed by your 10 time - just claim you stopped to have a look at the timber ponds!