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Toward Swimming Pool

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Toward swimming pool was built on the shore at Toward, on the Cowal peninsula, in the area across the road from the gatehouse, or lodge, of Castle Toward. The site is now occupied by the Toward Sailing Club.

The following information had been pieced together from various local reports, as there does not appear to be any documented or historic record relating to the pool.

The original construction date of the pool is unknown, as local opinions vary, and it is said that that it was constructed for the lady of the house, Castle Toward, who liked to swim in the sea, but this was not always possible. Although the pool itself has been filled in, the surrounding wall still survives, and carries a curved decorative pattern, which might indicate the pool was prewar. Evidence of five changing cubicles still remain, set into the west wall.

Some accounts describe the pool as being an outdoor pool, however there have been a number of local reports that the pool was covered by a glass roof which survived into the 1970s, with descriptions of the pool, as it was then, being full of broken glass from the roof. Whether this was due to decay and collapse, or the result of vandalism is unknown, and there is no indication as to the reason

Accounts generally agree that pool was used by members of the services during World War II, and that youth groups were also permitted to use it on occasion.

Toward Sailing Club clubhouse

Toward Sailing Club, 2005
Toward Sailing Club
© william craig

During the 1970s, when Sir Robert McAlpine was building oil rigs at the neighbouring Ardyne Point Yard to the west, the company offered to build a clubhouse for the Toward Sailing Club as a gesture towards helping the community. The pool was filled with gravel, and the surrounding walls raised slightly to allow a framework of very heavy steel beams to be installed. This foundation was surmounted by prefabricated buildings which then formed the clubhouse. The buildings were later clad with corrugated aluminium sheets, giving the site a more modern and homogeneous appearance. The former pool space beneath the clubhouse was re-used, providing a covered storage area for dinghies.

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