A walk round Overtoun Estate

Overtoun House
Overtoun House
Overtoun House was built in 1862 for James White, a wealthy industrialist, and stayed in the family until 1939 when it was bequeathed to the people of Dumbarton. In the past it has been used as a maternity hospital and a film set, but since 2001 it has been run by the Christian Centre for Hope and Healing. Since my last visit a few years ago, a weekend tea room has opened in the house and the Forestry Commission has greatly enhanced the paths around the estate.

We did a figure-of-eight walk, returning to the house in the middle for lunch. The first loop took us past the Welcome Cairn to a viewpoint where we could see Ben Lomond one way (just visible over John’s shoulder) and Dumbarton Rock and Castle the other.

Descending back towards the house, there was an area with wooden sculptures – maybe for children to play on? I don’t know: on this cold, November day there were no children around to demonstrate. The autumn colours were lovely.

Overtoun Bridge, visible on the left in the first picture below, looks picturesque but has an unpleasant history. Since the 1950s or 1960s numerous dogs have leapt from the bridge at the rate of about one dog per year, falling 50 feet onto the waterfalls below. In 1994, a man threw his two-week-old son to his death from the bridge, because he believed the child was an incarnation of the Devil, and then attempted to jump himself. Well, we made it across safely and popped into the house for lunch in the beautiful Angel Room. I can report that it was very good and very cheap – the best chips / fries I’ve had in a long time. (Don’t judge me on the chips – it was a cold day and I needed fuel.)

The second loop was less photogenic. It took us down, allegedly, to a waterfall, but there were so many trees we could barely see it. Can you spot it lurking in the first picture below?

Arriving back at the house again, John amused himself taking some shots of the stone ornamentation while I shivered.

It does show what a splendid pile it is though, doesn’t it? Linked to Jo’s Monday Walks. She has the most fabulous Christmas lights this week.


63 thoughts on “A walk round Overtoun Estate

  1. restlessjo December 19, 2016 / 08:45

    Thanks a lot, Anabel πŸ™‚ Funny thing about bridges… Thankfully I never have the urge to leap πŸ™‚ Talking chips, I had the most wonderful crispy golden ones in their skins last week. Fabulous! Doesn’t happen too often. Wishing you much Christmas joy and a sackful of good things to look forward to in the New Year.


    • Anabel Marsh December 19, 2016 / 09:22

      Mmm, salivating now even though it’s not long since breakfast! All the best to you too.


  2. Su Leslie December 19, 2016 / 09:08

    Lovely: a beautiful walk and chips. I haven’t had de eat chips for ages. The shot of Dumbarton Castle is interesting. I assume the rock it sits on is an old volcano, like Edinburgh Castle?


  3. Maggie Craig December 19, 2016 / 09:28

    Lovely post. Enjoyed my virtual visit to Overtoun House.


    • Anabel Marsh December 19, 2016 / 11:21

      Thank you for visiting – glad you enjoyed the walk.


  4. maristravels December 19, 2016 / 11:00

    Looks a rare gem and I enjoyed the walk with you. Keep ’em coming.


    • Anabel Marsh December 19, 2016 / 11:20

      Thank you! We are lucky to live within reach of many little gems.


  5. hilarymb December 19, 2016 / 11:23

    Hi Anabel – that looks a fascinating walk – love the sculptures … but I’m glad John stopped for his stone photos – they’re fascinating … the story of the bridge – not so sure … but good to see you here in one piece … Have a happy festive time … cheers Hilary


    • Anabel Marsh December 19, 2016 / 11:27

      Thanks Hilary – hope you have a great Christmas too.


  6. nomad, interrupted December 19, 2016 / 12:38

    A nice walk and an interesting story about the bridge. I’m glad you made it across safely without being gripped by a compulsion to throw yourself over! I like the wooden sculptures. πŸ™‚


  7. Blue Sky Scotland December 19, 2016 / 16:12

    One of my favourite spots in Spring with new leaves on the trees when you take in the Lang Craigs horseshoe above the house. Nice to see the interior. Parts of Cloud Atlas were filmed around the estate and inside the house but the film itself was not to my taste.Far too complex to be enjoyable, away from the book.. Jo’s Christmas Light captures are excellent and very unusual.


    • Anabel Marsh December 19, 2016 / 21:16

      Thanks, glad you got over to Jo’s site! I read that Cloud Atlas had been partially filmed there – I enjoyed the film, but think I’d have been totally confused if I hadn’t read the book first.


  8. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor December 19, 2016 / 17:08

    Those wood sculptures are wonderful, especially the rabbit. I love stumbling across whimsical things like that when I’m out on a walk.


    • Anabel Marsh December 19, 2016 / 21:17

      Yes, they were unexpected – new since my last visit (admittedly a while ago).


  9. clicksclan December 19, 2016 / 19:40

    It’s interesting to see Dumbarton Rock from the other side. Normally I see it across the water when I’m on the train into Glasgow.

    Looks like a lovely place to visit. I’ve heard about the bridge, definitely not one to visit with Tara!


  10. Liesbet December 19, 2016 / 21:58

    All these places you are taking us have so much history. Albeit sometimes of the lugubrious kind… I’m glad you made it safely across, with a tasty reward. Yes, you look cold, Anabel. And the snowflakes falling across your blog make me shiver as well! πŸ™‚


  11. Heyjude December 19, 2016 / 23:37

    Seems like a lovely place for a walk and what a grand tea-room! Love John’s stone details. Don’t love the bridge story ;(


    • Anabel Marsh December 19, 2016 / 23:57

      It looks a very innocuous bridge: I don’t understand it! I’m definitely not going with the ghost theory though….


      • Sarah Ferguson and Choppy December 20, 2016 / 16:16

        Such a bizarre thing – I have never heard of anything like it. I wonder if there is some natural phenomenon behind it, as it apparently mostly happens on nice days (like maybe a reflection makes them think it’s not as far down as it is).

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Retirementallychallenged.com December 20, 2016 / 00:39

    I love the wooden sculptures, especially the rabbit. I have to say that I was disappointed not to see a picture of you sitting on it! I for sure would have done that!


  13. BeckyB December 20, 2016 / 06:30

    The stonework was worth it…..beautiful in the cold. As are the wooden sculptures
    Not sure I like the bridge though, glad you took us back to the tea room 😊


    • Anabel Marsh December 20, 2016 / 07:43

      It’s a stunning house all round, though a bit shabby – the charity is fine what they can to keep it nice.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. prior.. December 20, 2016 / 11:14

    what a lovely walk -a nd the extra details show so much architectural beauty….


  15. goannasnake December 20, 2016 / 11:48

    I love the sculpture of the hare. Not so much the rather depressing history of the bridge. And I would never judge you for eating chips. Good chips are to be savoured. Thanks for sharing your walk.


  16. Ann Coleman December 20, 2016 / 19:23

    Never apologies for eating fries/chips! They are one of my favorite foods, and obviously meant to be enjoyed. Interesting post, but I was surprised to hear of the dogs jumping off the bridge. I didn’t know dogs did that. As for the poor baby who was thrown…that’s just beyond tragic.


    • Anabel Marsh December 20, 2016 / 19:39

      I know, I was astonished that such a pretty bridge had such a horrible history.


  17. Susan at FindingNYC December 21, 2016 / 13:38

    What a creepy bridge, with such a tragic history. Love the architectural detaial, but u think my favorite thing was that wooden rabbit sculpture. Happy holidays!


  18. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) December 22, 2016 / 02:05

    Yikes, that bridge story is certainly not very cheery. I do love that bird on a pole(?) sculpture though! And I would certainly never judge anyone for having chips…that’s pretty much what I lived off of when we were in New Zealand, because they were the cheapest food out there! Cheap as chips, you might say… πŸ™‚


    • Anabel Marsh December 22, 2016 / 07:41

      Yes, I eat a lot of chips on holiday – mainly because the vegetarian option is often veggie burger and chips and I can’t resist – but it does seem a bit perverse to go for a healthy walk then fill up on fried food!


      • Jessica (Diverting Journeys) December 23, 2016 / 01:53

        I’m not even so healthy as to have the veggie burger, I usually just have chips for dinner on holiday, with some cheddar from a supermarket if I’m lucky. Hummus and bread tends to be my other standby. Lots of carbs!


  19. Marcia Strykowski December 22, 2016 / 13:42

    Stunning! This looks like a fascinating place to visit. That first picture looks right out of a movie setting. The landscape is beautiful, too.


    • Anabel Marsh December 22, 2016 / 13:53

      It has been in several movies I believe. It’s certainly a stunning building!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. philosophermouseofthehedge December 22, 2016 / 17:30

    I’m with you on the chips in cold weather.
    What a wonderful place to walk and discover. Nothing like outdoor sculptures for added fun.
    Thanks for the closeup of details – always marvel at the ornate/delicate craftsmanship
    Jingle on!


    • Anabel Marsh December 22, 2016 / 17:46

      Thank you! I’m so pleased so many commenters have been supportive about the chips…..

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Ariel Hudnall December 23, 2016 / 06:31

    I have to wonder if those stone ornaments in the final pictures were sculpted after the original owner or his children… regardless, it’s a very beautiful house! And I love that tea room. I could sit in there for hours reading.


  22. Birgit December 27, 2016 / 16:01

    These pics are always great and love the ones John made. I wonder if those male faces were based on real men?? I wonder why dogs jump off that bridge or are the thrown off by wicked people like that nut job who killed his child??


    • Anabel Marsh December 27, 2016 / 17:09

      I don’t know what the faces are modelled on. The bridge is certainly sinister despite looking very ordinary.


  23. jazzfeathers January 1, 2017 / 19:47

    That bridge really has a gruesome story. Why would dogs jump from it, that’s quite weird, isn’t it?
    But the place, especially the house, looks lovely πŸ™‚


    • Anabel Marsh January 1, 2017 / 20:20

      It is weird! I couldn’t detect any strange vibes so I don’t know what makes the dogs do it.


  24. Elaine - I used to be indecisive January 12, 2017 / 10:21

    It looks like a good place for a bracing walk – epecially with a tea room to provide refreshments! I wonder what makes dogs jump off that bridge? Has anyone done any research on other bridges? Maybe dogs jump off other bridges too, and so Overtoun Bridge is no worse than any other.


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