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Stephen McKay

Helensburgh is a town in Argyll and Bute, on the north bank of the River Clyde 30 miles west of Glasgow, at the opening of the Gare Loch. It was small until the 19th century because its harbour was shallow and exposed to westerly winds. Then Henry Bell developed a steam paddle boat of shallow draught that could sail against the wind, and Helensburgh developed as a seaside resort: Glasgow folk came “doon the watter” to enjoy the sea air and throng the pubs. This was further boosted by the arrival of the railway. In the 20th century people found better places to take their holidays, but Helensburgh became a commuter town. Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed a stylish mansion here which is nowadays the main reason to visit. John Logie Baird (1888-1946) one of the main inventors of television was born and grew up here.
The town continues west along the coast into Rhu. Five miles up the loch is the navy base of Faslane ("HMNB Clyde"): the UK's nuclear submarines are based here, and from 2020 it will be the base for the entire submarine fleet. Faslane is a major part of the local economy but doesn't do much for the scenery, and has blighted the resort of Garelochhead a little further north.

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