Halfway between Dumbarton and Helensburgh, in the bosom of Argyll and Bute, lies village of Cardoss, the town where one of Scotland’s most iconic monarchs King Robert The Bruce died in 1329. Cardross today is much changed from the 14th Century; unlike its neighbours, it is neither a holiday town nor an industrial hub, and overlooking the broad expanse of the Firth of Clyde it enjoys a quiet atmosphere all of its own. One of Cardross’ most notable attractions is Geilston Garden, irrigated by Geilston Burn, it has a history that reaches back all of 200 years. Geilston has a walled garden, a kitchen garden complete with vegetable patch, and a woodland area – open in the more clement months of March through to October it has long herbaceous borders, alive with the most brazen and striking of colours. St Peter’s Seminary is grade A listed building that lies just to the north of Cardross. Designed by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, the seminary’s plight is both intriguing and frustrating; a triumph of modernist architecture, it now lies in ruins. Obsolete from the start, the seminary was completed in 1966 at a time when the Roman Catholic Church preferred its priests to be educated within their communities, and just fourteen years after its completion it was closed as a seminary. Its later incarnation as a rehabilitation centre tried to restore the seminary’s sense of purpose, but it succumbed to the building’s numerous maintenance problems. Less than an hour from Glasgow, and readily accessible by road or rail, Cardross is a town that many stop off en route to discovering Argyll and Bute, perhaps for a round of golf or some strawberry picking. A J Cronin –the writer who created Dr Finlay, and penned The Citadel and The Keys to the Kingdom – is the town’s most famous son.
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