A ‘Been Before’ And A Hill….

Time to get back to some local places to visit…..

The hill in question? Cairncurran, a local TuMP in among surrounding higher ground. Cairncurran is situated in rural Kilmacolm and is only just over 4 kms away from my home as the crow flies. I’d received an email about the hill from fellow blogger Hugh and thought mmm, one that I’d never really visited although the hill is recognisable for its distinctive summit shape depending on what angle you look from. If you look at the summit as you come over west via Garshangan, it looks like two power poles are planted in the middle of a stone summit but in other views it looks as if the summit is cut across with a sharp knife.

Cairncurran Hill

Cairncurran Hill

It was time to go look and after the usual checks on Google Maps/ Google Earth. I’d decided to cycle over Auchenbothie Rd and on to the B788 towards Kilmacolm where I would take the single track farm road to look at a couple of access points. A ride to the top of the road at the farm made my mind up to reach the hill lower down up past a conifer plantation. I thought that I’d nip over the next suitable day weather wise but in true Bob fashion, it was a week later plus I got Katie to drop me off at the entrance to the farm road on the B788.

I could hear cutting activity going on in a nearby wood, more on this later. I started up an open field and crossing at a well made stile, the next bit of ground was rough to say the least, I made my way through reeds, long grass and an uneven surface before finding an easier route to the next stile. It was much easier going the short distance to the summit, I’d hadn’t really walked that far so I was soon on the summit, I found a rock, sat down and had some scran while taking in the views.



To the north I could see nearby Corlic and the Luss hills but unfortunately anything higher covered by cloud, the sprawling urban landscape of Paisley and beyond to the south-east, the hills and moorland to the south with Creuch Hill rising behind me to the south-west. I had a walk around the summit area and could see it was like most hills in the area, I’m not going to talk geology but this was obviously the result of volcanic activity which most of the hilltops in the immediate area are, fun fact (as far as I know) is no gold has ever been found in Renfrewshire* although I would like  proved wrong so I could bring out my pan and ‘Henderson’ pump which have never been used in earnest.

I came off the summit and walked around the stone ‘wall’, I saw what at first looked like a very small cave, sadly it wasn’t, I had a quick look before taking some summit photos then it was time to head home, once again another local hill with cracking views, I’ll be back.

I headed back down with a slightly altered route and headed towards where I’d heard the forestry work being done, I came across one of the ‘do everything Timber Harvester’ machines working, I spoke with the operator before he got back to work. Interesting machine.

Time to head back home and as I headed I saw an intriguing obvious ‘entrance’ into a conifer plantation, nosey time.

It was a pheasant rearing pen, I’ll let the images posted below tell the story, I was surprised this was so openly findable but I guess not many people will walk and pass this area. I followed the main road back to where I would head east and take the turning to the Green Rd and head back home via the golf course.

A good walk plus I’d enjoyed my day out.

*The ‘gold’ fact comes from ‘At the end of the rainbow’ by G.F.Adamson ( I read this a few year ago when loaned a rare copy).

I checked a local book for the meaning of ‘Cairncurran’ and it came up with ‘cairn of cairns’ although ‘curran’ has other meanings.

The ‘been before’ bit..

I originally was going to add on a piece about a local ruined church but I took a trip to do some checking on the ‘rail’ bridge over the Blacketty Water deep in Muirsheil Park.

I’d been in touch with Mark who has blogged and has(is) built a scale replica of said bridge, I offered to head out and get some more detailed information on the bridge.

Mark’s blog is HERE

I’d been doing more miles than normal the past week so the legs were slightly heavy but off I headed, the bridge is only 3.5 mile as the crow flies but sadly not by bike. I took a left of B788 down Gateside Rd and soon I took the ‘road’ (I use the term loosely) up the where it joins the open hillside past Hardridge Farm. I opened the gate and headed slowly up a good-sized stony track, I soon passed the old railway shed which is showing signs of years of high winds, the roof looked as if it is open at one corner.

trusty steed at Blacketty

trusty steed at Blacketty

I pedalled up where it was possible and I just walked the rest when it got too rough for the bike. I have been up here a couple of times before but I think the track has deteriorated.

I passed the heilin coos’ and as they were on the track, slowly as those horns look deadly sharp.

I arrived at the junction with the Muirsheil Park track.

I parked up the bike and got out the tape and measured various parts of the track setup, I laugh now as I had written things down as I thought they would be called but obviously not the technical terms. All measurements taken, I took out the camera and snapped it from all angles.

A slight shower passed and I sat and had some scran and thought, I must head up here some crisp winter night as I could see the urban sprawl of Paisley and beyond.

Decision time,

Muirsheil or back to Hardridge.

The last time I’d cycled over from Muirsheil so I thought I’ll do the return journey, wrong!!!

bridge 4

bridge 4

I walked roughly half the journey, I waded through a couple of burns and many ‘puddles’ up to knee-deep and I could see no activity signs except an odd bike tyre mark but no vehicle tracks like the last time. Erosion? This track is slowly heading back to nature. Up, down and finally I reached a locked gate leading me into the main park area, the bike lifted over the fence and a quick look at the Calder Water bits and bobs before a quick run down then up into the Ranger Centre, no coffee today as I had soaking trainers/feet, I’d have been welcome, not.

I knew I’d an almost downhill 2.5 ml run to the main road, I met nothing so I coasted to where I had to decide Kilmacolm or Lochwinnoch, my legs said right but I knew it was 17 ml before I’d get home so it was off uphill then more uphill before a sharp drop from Carruthmuir, the road ahead was closed but I knew the work was nearer Kilmacolm and I could have a couple of options to leave en-route but I reached the junction where I’d head down to the outskirts of Quarriers Village.

A quick down then up and I was on the cycle track, 5 ml from home…

Next time?

I think I’ll walk up.

But how to get there?

There are two tracks to reach the bridge,

a track winds up form the Hardridge Farm area but parking is not advised on the tarmac section of this road and TBH there isn’t any parking areas along the Gateside Road. Personally I’d get dropped off as near as possible and walk up the broken tarmac track before heading on to the open moorland. A return journey to the Gateside Rd of 6 km.

The other option is to head to Muirsheil Park, off the B788 near Lochwinnoch. There is car parking at the Rangers Centre, a long walk along the Hardridge track a 10 and a half km return walk along a rough track with occasional deep puddles along the route with at least one running burn to cross.

The bridge is situated

Ordnance Survey approx NS 301675

Lat Long is N 55 52.269  W 004 42.917

If you need further directions, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you…

Blacketty Water bridge map

Blacketty Water bridge map

My previous blog post on the area HERE

Cairncurran Hill….

The ‘Pen’

‘The Been Before


About gm7something

64, married, three kids......overweight, unfit, folically challenged, need I go on ?
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