Dumbarton Rock

A prominent basalt plug which forms a remarkable landmark on the north shore of the River Clyde, Dumbarton Rock rises steeply to 74m (242 feet) at the mouth of the River Leven, a half-mile (1 km) south of Dumbarton town centre. Geologically, the rock represents the root of a volcano which erupted through existing sandstones and shales during the Carboniferous period, 330-340 million years ago. This rock was then exposed by uplift and erosion by glaciers. Areas of columnar jointing can be observed, similar to those seen at a larger scale at Fingal's Cave on the Isle of Staffa and the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

A series of fortifications have occupied an excellent defensive position on the rock since prehistoric times, culminating in Dumbarton Castle which was built in the 13th century.

Dumbarton Rock represents one of the most difficult rock-climbs in the world, graded E11. A short film, also called E11, featuring climber Dave Macleod's ascent of the rock premiered at the Mountain Film Festival in Edinburgh in 2006.

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