Video: The mysterious dog suicides of Overtoun bridge

What has caused dozens of dogs to leap to their deaths from the same section on this West Dunbartonshire bridge?

In the West Dunbartonshire Overtoun estate near Milton, Overtoun bridge has gained the unfortunate reputation as the ‘dog suicide bridge’.

Built in the grounds near Overtoun House in 1892, the granite bridge has seen an average of one dog per year leaping off the parapets and falling 50ft to the rocky stream below.

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Scientists have tried to explain the ‘suicidal’ phenomenon in a number of ways.

Overtoun House, near MiltonOvertoun House, near Milton
Overtoun House, near Milton

Disproven hypotheses include dogs reacting abruptly to sounds, inaudible to humans, from the nearby Faslane naval base or pylons connecting overhead.

One possibility is that dogs, with their sight and hearing impaired by the stone walls, jump up over the wall towards the irresistible scent of mink, though data on local mink population still leaves some room for doubt.

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All dogs that jump from the bridge jump in the same direction, all have long snouts and most jump between the last two parapets and on hot days.

For now, the mystery mostly goes unsolved, but two spaniels we met at Overtoun House - Pip and Ben - were far too interested in playing fetch to go sniffing out mink.

You may still want to keep Rover leashed up as you cross the bridge on a sunny day, but beyond those granite blocks with a sad past are some truly spectacular trails no dogs and dogwalkers should miss out on.