Dunoon is a resort on the east coast of the Cowal Peninsula in the Firth of Clyde. Its pier, originally built in 1835, used to receive the many paddle steamers arriving from Glasgow, bringing hordes of excited passengers "doon the watter" from the big city for a spell of R and R in the coastal resorts of the Firth of Clyde. Nowadays there are frequent ferries from Gourock to Dunoon, some carrying vehicles, some passenger only. With the onset of foreign package holidays during the 60s, Dunoon's tourist trade went into a decline, prompting a band called the Humblebums to pen a song called "Why Don't They Come Back to Dunoon". Billy Connolly once told a cruel joke about the town while performing the song, about a competition in which the first prize was a week in Dunoon and the second prize was a fortnight in Dunoon. Further decline came about in the 1990s following the closure of the US submarine base in nearby Holy Loch.
All this was not enough to put Emma Thompson off choosing Dunoon for her marriage to Greg Wise, or having a second home nearby. And with good reason, since the town occupies a lovely position around two bays with an attractive mountainous hinterland. Between the two bays is the ruined Dunoon Castle, originally built in the 11th century. There isn't much left of the castle now, but it is worth the hike up to it for the views over the Firth. Just below the castle is a statue of "Highland Mary", or Mary Campbell, who was romantically linked to Robert Burns. Also nearby is CastleHouse, which houses a museum with displays on the history and heritage of the area. In summer boat trips are available on the Waverley paddle steamer. Golfers are catered for by the Cowal GolfClub.
Webcam of the seafront.
Map of the area.
© 2007 Peter Fuller, via Wikimedia Commons