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.


  1. Is that place haunted? Seriously giving me a bad feeling and thats unusual. Not just the home, its the outdoor pics as well.
    I read about that bridge on this page it didnt shock me abt dogs but more than that something off abt that place. It’s beautifully creepy is how id put it.


  2. 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.


  3. 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??


  4. 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.


  5. 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™‚


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