I cannot remember the weather forecasts being so changeable although granted the weather has been the same.
The Fri and most of Saturday were a constant deluge of rain but Sunday was looking more agreeable if they were correct.
The hills to the north had some cloud about the 2,000 ft level although Lomond was clear most of the early morning.
I set up over the ‘Waterman’s Road’, a rough aggregate track that is the standard surface for access to local reservoirs although there are more than a few in this area which now are defunct or more probably too expensive to repair their dam walls. I steadily headed up to Scroggy Bank which has a collection of microwave and other antenna masts on its high point. I took the right fork here and headed past the masts and towards Dunrod Hill, I normally would have ascended this hill from the Greenock Cut Centre ( I still prefer the old name ‘Cornalees’) but this was a first for me. The track now turns into a mixture of short grassy stretches and bare rock in place but after nodding ‘Hello’ to those who were taking part in more strenuous sport than me. I reached the end of this piece of track. There was once a reservoir here but it showed where it had been breached but nature is a quick healer and in a few years no traces will be here except another piece of moorland.
I crossed the breached area and headed over a gate and found the path which would lead me to the summit of Dunrod Hill, the going underfoot was pretty marshy at time but soon I was standing at the trig point. I had company, three donkeys ! I’m guessing these are wild as they are seen at various points on the hills.
I had contacted Neil NCM and had hoped to contact him down in South Ayrshire on 4m FM but even with the extra effort put in by Neil, no contact made. Ailsa Craig was showing in the distance but I had thought wrong. I turned to the easy way and called him by the miracle of mobile phone instead.
I heard Jim GLM working two Edinburgh regular SOTA chasers and waited my turn to call in, I was surprised to find out Jim was on Achnafree Hill to the NW of Crieff which I later checked to be approx 85 kms away, good contact on the 2w Baofeng. I had a quick qso with Roddy IOB who was just to the N of me, Dunrod Hill is nearer to Greenock but before Greenock spread westwards, the hill was considered to be above Inverkip. The nearby Cauldron Hill is named possibly for Auld Dunrod who was a local witch of repute who lived near the foot of this hill.
I left Dunrod making my way over to Hillside Hill approx 400m plus away where I stood and looked down on the fishery which looked quiet. I left and headed down the steep hillside making my way to the Greenock Cut Centre where I had a closer look at the Avro Anson engine dragged off the hill by pupils of my old school that I had just left when they achieved this apparently using an old Mini roof. The story of the aircrash is HERE. The other engine wasn’t too far off the path I had taken, I must have a look next time.
A look around and it was getting decision time, the Sheilhill Glen road has suffered a landslide and is closed but the single track round I would be travelling aside is still open and off I headed with the intentions of turning left and heading home.
The ranger I had spoken to on one of my last Corlic visits stopped for a chat and soon I was heading past a couple of fisherman who didn’t appreciate my cheery greetings of ‘You need the sun to disappear’. I reached the road ‘T’ junction, the sign said Largs 8 ml….call me impulsive, I called home and asked Katie ‘Do you fancy a fish supper in Largs’, disbelief at the other end initially but ‘Why not’. I said I would call 3ml from Largs and arrange a tie up.
This wasn’t a good idea..
I had no money with me….
My phone battery was about 40 %
plus I was to find out, no phone signal for approx 4ml…
anyway impulsive as usual I headed slowly and steadily upwards passing a scarred landscape of where trees had been felled. Before long I was crossing into North Ayrshire and the single track rose slowly in height plus I was getting ‘buzzed’ by a Buzzard who must have had a nest just off the roadside and before long I reached what is the drop off point for Cruach Hill.
It was all downhill from here, the landscape is pretty featureless as you head down the road, grassy steep slopes to the East and slightly less on the West side. I soon passed the track which could take me to ‘Outerwards’ Roman Fort but that will be for another day. Outerwards is part of the (alleged) extension of the Antonine System which starts at Whitemoss near Bishopton and takes in Lurg Moor then to Outerwards. Dunrod Hill is derived with the meaning of ‘Fort Road’ so I wonder if it and Scroggy Bank would have been good lookout points.
Heading quickly towards Brisbane Glen which has an Australian connection HERE. I passed the Prophet’s Grave which I remember about reading in the Largs local paper when I stayed there in the 70s…I went down for the day in July ’71 and returned home six years later, a long story..
The ‘Prophet’s Grave’ is best left to a local site to tell you more about it HERE.
I headed down past Middleton Fishery and the Noddle Burn which runs from Outerward Reservoir to the sea, The Noddle was (maybe still is) a producer of fine grilse and I honed skills at taking the odd salmon from it, legally ! I wonder how it fishes now with all the housing development which has slowly crept up the east bank of the river. What was then country lane then is now paved access to private housing estates.
I reached the top of Douglas St where I headed down to the main road where I was to meet Katie and as soon as I headed towards the town centre, I was more than relieved to find out she was just across the street waiting on me….
and we never had that fish supper…..
but I had finally done the reverse as I had walked back to Greenock over this road during the ’70’s…another long story.
It was good to do something I had thought about for some time now but had more planned it for a day in the future. It’s been done now and thoughts return to some more local areas I would like to revisit.
A good day with some radio work, great views and a long walk….