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.

65 thoughts on “A walk round Overtoun Estate

  1. Eilene Lyon March 28, 2019 / 13:17

    Had to look this one up since the bridge is in the New York Times this week. Nice photos. I would never give anyone a hard time for eating chips/fries! 😋


  2. 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.


  3. 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 🙂


    • 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.


  4. 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.


  5. 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.


  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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… 🙂


    • 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!


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