Greenock is an old town situated on the river Clyde, about 20 miles south-west of Glasgow city. At first glance many see Greenock as just another dead industrial waste ground, full of now disused shipbuilding yards, a kind of industrial ghost town. Nothing could be further from the truth! During the war, Greenock had a thriving shipbuilding and engineering industry, The "QE2" was "Clyde built" in Clydebank, just up the river a tad from Greenock,and the Greenock yards built many fine ships, ferries, tankers, warships, paddle steamers, all built, fitted and launched from this fair town. There were many associated industries in the town that ensured a Greenock built ship was just that, built, fitted, commissioned and launched using nothing but the skills and know-how of locally situated companies, this is something that Greenockians can and are very proud of. Sadly, today nearly every one of these fine companies are no longer in existence, although there are still ships being built (mainly at the Port Glasgow yard just up the road), there is also a growing number of ships being re-fitted at Greenock, mainly support vessels for the north sea oil companies. A new re-generation plan has been coming into fruition in recent years. The waterfront was completed a few years ago and boasts a leisure pool, ice skating, curling rinks and a brand new gym complex (which is still under completion). In this regeneration area we also have a new retail park, a new campus for the James Watt College, housing and there is further development planned for the very near future which will see almost the entire waterfront and derelict shipyards redeveloped. Greenock has spawned many famous sons, Watt being perhaps the most famous for his steam engines, indeed there is a full size replica of the "Comet", the first stem driven paddle boat to navigate the Clyde. A more recent son to find fame and recogniti
on is Richard Wilson (aka Victor Meldrew of "One foot in the grave" fame). Places of interest: The McLean museum and Art gallery The James Watt library. Both of the above are situated side by side on Greenock?s Union street, this is probably the best place to start if you want to get a feel for the town and to find out all you can about the area before setting off on a tour. In the museum there are loads of local exhibits relating to the shipbuilding era, (If you look at some of the older models you will see some of my handy work, I used to work there as a model maker and some of the lifeboats were made, in part, by me and a team of young workers). There are plenty of reference books in the library which will give you details and some history about Greenock and the surrounding area and the Art gallery has frequent exhibitions of local artist's work. The town of Greenock is broken into two distinct areas, the East end and the West end. The West end of the town is where all the affluent people of days gone by lived, there are many fine houses and the street layout is peculiar to this side of town only, with wide, tree lined streets and very little in the way of retail outlets and amenities, in fact the West end is almost entirely a "dry area", i.e. there are no pubs! The East end of the town is where all the workers settled and consists of many housing schemes, public houses and parks. The town centre is a lively place and is great for a night out, shopping or a meal........more about that later. Fancy a cruise? Greenock also boasts a large and busy container terminal, this also doubles as a berth for some of the largest luxury cruise ships which now use Greenock as a regular "Port of call". There are few more spectacular sights than standing on the "Esplanade" watching some of these huge liners sail into Greenock to pick up passengers for Mediterranean or
world cruises. More and more people in the west-coast are using Greenock as a spring board to the med!, part of the charm being able to embark from a Scottish port and see the town float by whilst supping cocktails on the deck of a luxury liner (Jammy sods!) A more accessible cruise for us ordinary folk is a trip "Doon the watter" on the oldest sea-going paddle steamer in the world, namely the famous "Waverly". I have cruised to Helensburgh, Rothesay and Loch Long many times on this amazing ship, it is well worth a visit. Spectacular view One of the best views in the world can be seen from the "Lyle hill", this is a hill overlooking both part of Greenock and part of Gourock. At the top of this hill is the "Free French Memorial", a memorial, in the shape of an anchor, to those who lost their lives in the wars. From this vantage point you can look out over Gourock bay, across the Clyde to the Highlands beyond, majestic mountains and rolling hills, it really is a beautiful view and one I could look at all day. Eating out: There are many places to get a great meal in Greenock, too many to mention here but I will tell you of a couple of my favourites. The Port and Harbour is a restaurant situated behind the police station just next to "Princess pier", they do a range of delicious meals and huge steaks are a speciality. I particularly like this place for another reason, in the gents toilet they have video screens showing classic comedy shows and sketches, the only draw back being that it is hard to pee straight when your laughing your socks off ! (the screens are right above the urinals), the toilets are also scrupulously clean and graffiti free. Morgans bar/diner is situated on the main street in the town centre(West Blackhall street), this is a smallish bar with a huge reputation. You can be lucky and just walk in and get a table but more often than not th
e tables are fully booked all day! It is worth trying to get a table anyway as the meals are amazing and the atmosphere is just right. All along west Blackhall street there are restaurants of all kinds, Chinese, Cantonese or Italian and Indian, most of them have a great reputation and have been established eating places for years. Shopping: Greenock has some great shops, from the better known like M&S, Littlewoods and Woollies to little local stores like Rythmic Records and the Gift Emporium. The larger stores are housed within the "Oak Mall", a covered shopping centre where you can shop all day and get something to eat. Across the road there is a huge 24 hour Tesco?s and behind that is a retail park with even larger shops like Comet, Curries and Halfords. All in all, Greenock has far more going for it than against it, I may be biased because I live there but I am really a Gourock lad born and bred, I also lived in Paisley for the first ten years of my married life and have only recently moved back to the town, so I am seeing it with new eyes, and I like what I see. Greenock people are friendly, open and will bend over backwards to help a visitor, so don't dismiss it as a ghost town, it has loads going for it and is getting better everyday. For more info on Greenock you can visit.. http://www.greenock.org/home_page.htm And if you go here you will see a map of my town.. http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=227500&y=676500&z=3&sv=Greenock&st=3&t l=Greenock,Inverclyde+[City/Town/Village]&searchp=newsearch.srf&mapp=newmap.srf Thanks for reading.
Right, for once I am going to get some informative facts in an opinion. Right Greenock,a town on the west coast of Scotland and rumour has it, that the only place to wash in the Waterfront Complex, although it is unsure whether this is open to the Greenock residents. Greenock is the official wettest town in Britian, yeah it's true. I think once I went to Greenock and it wasn't raining, and so to let you know, I have been many times to football matches, the Waterfront, Tall Ships ( that was boring ) and well not to look at the lovely scenery anyways. As you go into Greenock you may mistake local side, Greenock Mortons ground Cappielow for the local tip but warning do not make this mistake, as a gang will chase you with chairs from the ground - It happens! Right, I'll be a bit more serious. Greenock was one of many mass producers on the Clyde, pre world war one and contributed vastly to the economy of the country. Greenock as I said is beside the sea, and attracts many Sea Gulls, again I go to the football. Right well I think I have said all I can say about Greenock. Some tips, avoid it if you can although the Waterfront is very good, about the only thing!
Recently, at work I came across the opportunity to work in Greenock for two weeks. My immediate thoughts were of women and alcohol (oh and not forgetting the important work-aspect of the trip) Firstly, I was slightly apprehensive as to what to expect. As someone who has never been to Scotland was forced to base all my expectations of the people of Scotland on common, generalisations and stereotypes that we all tend to develop, however subcontiously. I tried hard to block out the images of men with Kilts, Billy Conoly-type gentlemen and any other images that we tend to associate with 'bonnie Scotland'. Imagine my dismay as I looked around the airport and there was no glimpse of Sean Conory with an entourage of security guards, nor Loraine Kelly, filming a special edition of This Morning. Instead I was faced a smaller version of Heathrow Airport that I had just left an hour or so earlier. My first contact with a Greenock native was a rather friendly taxi driver who managed to successfully explain the nature of the religious connotations of the rivalry between the fans of the Rangers and Celtic football clubs. Immediately my visit had proved to be educational, as I had always assumed that the rivalry was simply to do with supporters from different areas. I arrived at my hotel and I was greeted by two rather-friendly, middle-aged women who Offered wonderful assistance with booking me in. However, my fantasy of an encounter with a tall, blond hotel bar worker was dashed. My first day working in Greenock again was all- positive. Apart the obvious difficulty of understanding the Scottish dialects and phrases, I was able to successfully form relationships with my colleagues in the short time that I was there. My only complaint was to do with the ever-constant rivalry (although generally friendly) between the supporters of Rangers and Celtic football clubs within the department. Also, references to alcohol and ̵
6;visits to the pub’ (regardless of the time of day) became rather worrying as to when these individuals managed to find any time to do any work. However, I am quite sure there are just as many alcohol dependant people working with me back in Hertfordshire. By the end of my stay, my understanding of Greenock and its people had developed far beyond the generalisations that I arrived with. I have formed very positive opinions of the people OF Greenock and Scottish in general.