Vale of Leven
The Vale as its is known to the locals, if you visit you may hear the locals taking about "gowin doon the Vale" or "goowin up the Vale", this refers to Alexandria and usually mean visiting the town centre.
The view is looking north up the Vale from Dumbarton Castle towards Loch Lomond The River Leven flows from the Loch down to the River Clyde at Dumbarton.
Situated in the Vale of Leven is the largest town Alexandria, it is the central township of the five original villages of Renton, Balloch, Alexandria, Jamestown and Bonhill.
Over the last 100 years, the various villages have merged into one urban area, although each one retains its own individuality. The name Alexandria is sometimes misused to refer to the Vale of Leven.
Alexandria provides the main shopping amenities for the area's 20,000 residents.
The town has good bus services as well as being on the Balloch branch line providing frequent services to and from Glasgow.
The town centre has been largely redeveloped over the last 20 years, with many of the old properties being demolished to make way for new housing, shops, and a new traffic system.
Bonhill, originally a small community beside the River Leven, has mushroomed in size over the last 20 years due to the extensive building of municipal housing for the "Glasgow over spill project" , This development as been built high on the valley's east side.
Sadly, most of the old village has been demolished to make way for a new road, but Bonhill Parish Church (built 1835) still stands as a reminder of what was.
Jamestown was once a small village which grew up as a the result of the introduction of the dyeing and printing of cloth to the area. It lies between Balloch and Bonhill on the east bank of the River Leven. Little is left of the original Main Street, other than a few shops and houses.
Renton, was created and subsequently developed as a direct result of the bleaching, dyeing and printing industry which started up in the middle of the 18th century. The village was the birthplace of the distinguished novelist Tobias Smollett (1721 - 1771) there is a monument to his memory on the Main Street.
Renton can also proudly boast of the great examples of architecture like the Millburn church designed by the great Scottish architect George Miekle Kemp. A local woman called Catherine Drain from Renton publish a book of poems about loch lomond and the surrounding villages called 'rhymes of a loch lomond lass' for which she received the royal accent.
Renton over the last number of years has made great strides both in the physical and social field of regeneration but Renton still has some beautiful examples of Victorian architecture still intact today.
Just about all amenities are available in this area including:
Banks - Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank, Clydesdale Bank
Building Societies, Halifax, TSB
Main Line Railway Stations- Balloch - Alexandria - Renton
And just about anything else you will find in a large town.
Loch Lomond .net