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The stolen gate on the towpath along the Leven behind the golf course.

By Bill Heaney

We have our own Old Man River, the River Leven, which runs from Loch Lomond to Dumbarton Rock, where it meets the River Clyde.

River watchers are telling us that the Leven in particular is becoming more polluted with sunken wrecks and the erosion of its banks, particularly around Dumbarton Golf Course.

There, its banks are being washed away in times of really heavy rain, which is what we have had this week and will have again tomorrow and on Tuesday.

The walkway along the Leven was deemed (by someone) to be so dangerous that, at the end of last year, it was decided to fence it and to make it accessible only by a new gate, which was permanently locked.

West Dunbartonshire Council, who appear to know not much of our history, or who do know some of it but choose to ignore the countryside legislation about rights of way, spent a lot of money on this gate – and on the accompanying fence.

However, perhaps they should have taken soundings among the many townsfolk who use this popular walk along the riverbank.

Because a short time later the new gate was missing – and it was later found at the bottom of the river.

That is what happens when you don’t consult the public about these things or when you do consult the public and don’t do it very well.

The Council have a track record for that. They are about to embark on yet another consultation on the Budget for the next financial year.

If it’s anything like the one for this year then it too could well end up at the bottom of the river.

Old Man River

By Paul Robeson

There’s an old man called the Mississippi
That’s the old man I don’t like to be!
What does he care if the world’s got troubles?
What does he care if the land ain’t free?
Old man river,
That old man river
He must know sumpin’
But don’t say nuthin’,
He just keeps rollin’
He keeps on rollin’ along.
He don’t plant taters,
He don’t plant cotton,
And them that plants ’em Is soon forgotten,
But old man river,
He just keeps rollin’ along.
You and me, we sweat and strain,
Body all achin’ and…

Pictures by Otto Eastbrook


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