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Tail of the Bank

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Tail of the Bank, 2009
Tail of the Bank
© Thomas Nugent

The Tail of the Bank refers to an anchorage in the Firth of Clyde. It is also referred to as the Tail o' the Bank.

The photograph (taken from a viewpoint near a car park on the B788) shows The Firth of Clyde between Greenock and Helensburgh, the Tail of the Bank, as seen from the hills above the east end of Greenock. The entrance of the Gare Loch lies to the left, past the tip of the Rosneath peninsula. The Great Harbour lies in the foreground.

The anchorage is located in the upper area of the firth, immediately to the north of Greenock and Gourock, in an area which takes its name from a sandbank which lies immediately to the east of the entrance to the Firth of Clyde, and leads on to the River Clyde.

The Tail of the Bank has a long history as it was a major point of embarkation for many travellers, especially around the turn of the 20th century, when many Scots emigrated to Canada and the United States of America. Steamships of the Cunard Line travelling from Liverpool to New York would regularly call at the Tail of the Bank to pick up passengers.

During World War II, the anchorage was frequently crowded with ships, as many shipbuilding and repair facilities were moved to the upper Clyde area, where many shipyards and docks were already available, in order to protect them from German air raids, a hazard they were particularly vulnerable to on the south coast of England.

Atlantic convoys also used the area as an arrival and departure point.

After HMS Royal Oak was sunk at the Home Fleet anchorage located in Scapa Flow in October 1939 (when Günther Prien breached the anchorage in U-47), the area became particularly busy as Royal Navy warships the of the Home Fleet were temporarily relocated to Tail of the Bank while the defences of the Scapa Flow anchorage were reinforced.

The area is also marked by the wreck of the MV Captayannis, a Greek cargo ship which has lain on the sandbank ever since it was beached there in 1974.

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Aerial views



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