Lang Dyke

The Lang Dyke is a long artificial jetty by the brilliant 18th century engineer, John Golborne, constructed to scour out a deeper channel in the River Clyde.

'I shall proceed on these principles of assisting nature when she cannot do her own work, by removing the stones and hard gravel from the bottom of the river where it is shallow, and by contracting the channel where it is worn too wide.' Thus, in 1768, John Golborne, explained his plan to make the Clyde navigable right up to the Broomielaw.

In part Golborne achieved this by building lateral jetties projecting outwards from the north and south banks to narrow the channel and increase the water flow, thus harnessing the natural scouring power of the water. Over 100 jetties had been constructed by the end of 1772 and these were so effective that a minimum 5 foot depth of water existed right along the river at high tide. On 20 March 1773 The Glasgow Weekly Magazine reported that, 'thanks to the operations of Mr Golborne, three coasting vessels arrived lately at the Broomielaw directly from Ireland with oatmeal, without stopping at Greenock as formerly to unload their cargoes.'

However, there were two channels separated by the Dumbuck Shoal between Longhaugh Point, on the south bank below Bowling, down almost as far as Dumbarton. The depth of water over the shoal was only 3 feet. Previous efforts to deepen the channel by damming the south channel and using dredging ploughs to loosen the river bed, had not been effective. During 1773 Golborne had the Lang Dyke constructed, effectively a 800-yard training wall running right along the Shoal, visible at low tide. This worked, creating a foot more depth even than he had been contracted to achieve. Golborne was rewarded by the Glasgow Town Council with an additional fee and a silver cup. It is now the only piece of Golborne's engineering to survive the many later works on the river.

Also at Old Kilpatrick and Bowling (Back to listing)