Westriverside/Drumkinnon Wood

History Of West Riverside

As early as 1844 a new railway company had been proposed, the Caledonian & Dumbartonshire Railway, to run between Glasgow and both Balloch and Helensburgh. Not enough money could be raised, so the promoters decided to concentrate on a railway between Bowling and Balloch.  It was in an ideal position therefore not just to act as a passenger interchange between the Clyde steamers and the Balloch train and onward to the Loch steamers, but also as transhipment point for coal from central Scotland coalfields into the Vale factories, and bleached and printed textiles out.

Since 1846 the steamers had been using a new pier at Drumkinnon Bay that stood 300 feet out into Loch Lomond, so that the steamers weren’t at the mercy of the level of the River Leven. In a short time the railway was generating enough passenger traffic to Balloch Pier to keep three steamers busy

The economic impact of the railway has been frequently referred to, but the physical impact must also have impressed the locals at the time. Before the railway arrived, there had been virtually no buildings of any sort on the west bank of the Leven at Balloch from the Heather Avenue to the southern shore of Loch Lomond, and from the bridge to Luss Road. Within a matter of a few months all that had changed with considerable visual impact. Not only had the railway line been laid, but also a terminus operation had been built around Balloch Central Station. Although the line actually terminated at Balloch Pier, all of the buildings, sidings etc needed to support the end of a steam train line were erected at the Central Station.

A turntable to turn the engines was added a few hundred yards south of Balloch Pier, and the round brick-built enclosure in which it was housed.

History of Drumkinnon Bay

The Drumkinnon area is really made up of the now housing estate, the bay at Lomond Shores and the Wood. (This can be seen in the picture at the bottom of the page).

Most of the history of this area is seen more through pictures than recorded. The pictures by and large show a strip of woodland what is now classed as Drumkinnon Wood which dates to the 18th Century and would have fields surrounding it.  The area that is now the housing development used to be the site of the old British Silk Dyeing Co factory(the factory tower can be seen in the pictures below). Also according to maps part of the 18th century wood was removed to accommodate the new estate. The now site of Lomond Shores and its associated car park was the old quarry which was used in the middle of the 20th Century.


Our Vision of West Riverside and Drumkinnon Wood

West Riverside is a key site for the future development of Loch Lomond as a high quality and  attractive tourist destination.

It is an important ‘placemaking opportunity’ and our proposals are focussed on :

  • Delivering a characterful contemporary design which will ensure that the development has a sense of place appropriate to Balloch, Loch Lomond and the National park
  • Structuring the design around new pedestrian and cycle friendly routes and spaces to link  our development, the station and Lomond Shores
  • Providing a strong landscape framework for all elements of the site
  • Developing a commercial mix of uses that will animate the site and maximise footfall thereby ensuring development and long term sustainability

Ouproposals recognise the key sensitivities of developing in the National Park on a prime wooded and waterfront location but they also recognise the key need for development which has sufficient ambition to transform the present use of the site.

We propose activities and accommodation which will drive the volume of visitors  to the site that we consider are required to sustain the high quality facilities that SE and the Park wish to see developed.  We understand that this level of ambition will require detailed development discussions and consultation with Planning and the local community.  We are keen and committed to carrying this out to realise what will be a series of linked, unique new destinations within Balloch at the Leven and Lomond Shores.

The above picture was used in the original prospectus used by Scottish Enterprise to market the land.

The Scottish Enterprise development prospectus can be downloaded here: West Riverside Development Prospectus