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historic county of west-central Scotland, northwest and northeast of Glasgow. It comprises two sections: the main body of the county in the west, extending along the north bank of the River Clyde from the outskirts of Glasgow to Loch Long, and a smaller detached area in the east surrounding the towns of Kirkintilloch and Cumbernauld. The larger western section is an area of steep hills descending to the shores of Loch Lomond, the River Clyde, Gare Loch, and Loch Long. The highest of these, northwest of Loch Lomond, is Ben Vorlich, with an elevation of 3,092 feet (942 metres). The eastern section lies on the lowland plain that extends between the River Clyde and the Firth of Forth. The council area of West Dunbartonshire lies entirely within the historic county of Dunbartonshire, as do parts of the council areas of North Lanarkshire, East Dunbartonshire, and Argyll and Bute.
royal burgh (town), West Dunbartonshire council area, historic county of Dunbartonshire, Scotland. It lies north-northwest of the metropolitan complex of Glasgow, on the banks of the River Leven near its confluence with the River Clyde. The site is dominated by a hill of basalt-with an elevation of 240 feet (75 metres)-which has long been a defensive stronghold. The Alcluith ("Hill of the Clyde") of the Celtic Britons and Dunbreatain ("Fort of the Britons") of the Scots became (from the 5th to the 8th century) the capital of the kingdom of Strathclyde, later incorporated into Scotland. As a medieval royal fortress, Dumbarton occasionally fell into the hands of the English. It was designated a burgh in 1222, and its municipal privileges were confirmed by a charter of James V of Scotland (1513-42). Shipbuilding, formerly an important industry, declined after World War II. Dumbarton's main industry is now the blending and distilling of whisky. It is the administrative centre of West Dunbartonshire. Pop. (2004 est.) 20,070.