I’m betting you’ve never heard of Gourock, but I want to introduce you to it today. This Scottish town (pronounced  goor-uck) was once a fishing village, then a popular watering place, and is now predominately a residential area. Gourock is a haven for quite a few very talented photographers, who have managed to capture some of the best parts of what makes this area special.

Enjoy these photos and the bits of information that I was able to collect, then please share your thoughts in the comment section below. What is your favorite photo? If you had a day in Gourock what would you be sure to do?
Pool! by easylocum
Pool!, a photo by easylocum on Flickr.
Gourock has one of the very few outdoor pools left in Scotland. Built in 1909, this lido takes its saltwater from the River Clyde, filters and heats it, then provides a place for locals and tourists alike to plunge into clean and refreshing waters. Midnight swims are events to remember–imagine floating suspended, under the stars….

Stormy by easylocum
Stormy, a photo by easylocum on Flickr.


Scotland. Sea. Village. It’s an old story for long-time readers of Picture Britain, and Gourock is no exception to the rule of fishing and sailing being an integral part of the local economy for a small seaside town. Dependence on fishing may have declined in recent years, but there is still quite a bit of water traffic around Gourock today. In fact a major operator of ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne (a.k.a. Calmac), has its headquarters in Gourock. 

The Earth belongs unto the Lord
And all that it contains
Except the Kyles and the Western Isles
And they are all MacBrayne’s
Kempock Stone by easylocum
Kempock Stone, a photo by easylocum on Flickr.
One of Gourock’s most famous landmarks is the Kempock Stone (also called Granny Kempock for its resemblance to a hooded old woman). No one can be sure what it was originally used for–many of the inscriptions seem to be a kind of antique graffiti (the 17th century equivalent of “Katy was Here”)–but some suspect that it was used in connection with a ship due to some navigation-type marks and the small hole near the base that might signify its use as an anchor. Tall, proud, and mysterious, this remarkable stone has been surrounded by all manner of superstitions, most of which involve walking around it in circles for good luck. If you think you might get married near Gourock someday, it might not be a bad idea to perform a little circumambulation when the time comes. Just in case.
Granny was featured in a short BBC television series for kids called Shadow of the Stone, which deals with some of the Kempock Stone’s more mystical connections.

365:3:27 The 9th by easylocum
365:3:27 The 9th, a photo by easylocum on Flickr.
Golf enthusiasts might be tempted to visit Gourock’s beautiful course, which features “A striking opening par 5 uphill is matched by the par 5 dogleg 8th hole.” If you could make any sense out of that last sentence, congratulations. 
Pink Sky 6 by easylocum
Pink Sky 6, a photo by easylocum on Flickr.
Tis gloaming’s hour and Gourock Bay
From purple turned to darker grey
Reflects the stately yachts that ride
Secure upon the rippling tide.

The restful scene fair Luna’s light
The balmy airs the quiet night
So charm my soul I fain would stay
For ever here by Gourock Bay.

-(Evening In) Gourock Bay by Marky Boy of Destiny
IMG_4476 by mike138
IMG_4476, a photo by mike138 on Flickr.
Smallish and somewhat nondescript as it is, Gourock has so much to offer to anyone who will simply take an interest. If you have a little free time and would like to read more about the Kempock stone, the trial of Mary Lamont (supposed to be a witch), “Bentley’s Folly,”  Fort Matilda, or the Mariner’s Asylum, download the free PDF version of “Notes About Gourock,” an illustrated collection of various bits and bobs, local tidbits and trivia.


Written by Abigail Young

I've had a passion for everything British my entire life, despite being raised as a small-town girl in the American Midwest, After years of dreaming, I got the chance to live and work in England for an entire year. Now I write about my favorite country, and hopefully inspire my fellow Britophiles to get over there and experience it for themselves.

This article has 5 comments

  1. J_on_tour@jayzspaze Reply

    Great post about Gourock. It is with sadness that I read this as nostalgia overtakes me with memories of numerous childhood holidays in the area as I can’t help thinking about the demise of the MV Jupiter, Juno and Saturn. These were just ordinary peculiar car ferries with awesome speed nicknamed “The Streakers” that grew into cult icons. I may be able to occasionally dip my toe into railway preservation but these treasures have been lost forever.


    • Abby Rogers Reply

      How very sad. I’m sure that there are a lot of great memories and sensations wrapped up in those vessels. Thanks for linking to the video!

  2. Bill Reply

    Yeah Britain stops at Manchester so please don’t put us all under that name. There are 3 countries that make up these United Kingdoms not just one which is the skewed view that England promotes worldwide.

  3. Fraser Reply

    I’m from Gourock originally. It’s not a fishing town. Also, it impossible to walk around the Granny Kempock stone because one side is above a sheer drop. Nice to see someone see it’s beauty though. Just a little more research required

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