Tag Archives: Dunrod Hill

A New Hill For Me…..

Hillside Hill…

not exactly an imaginative name although it being a sister hill to Dunrod Hill. It is part of the same hill group but is only 1m less in height ASL than Dunrod. A cairn adorns the summit which as I found out was exposed to the wind when it comes from the East. An excellent view can be had in all directions but unfortunately there was poor visibility but the main local high spots were visible, last week’s hill Corlic is to the E, Creuch Hill, the highest by far in the area at 1,300 plus ft was occasionally in cloud to the S, Dunrod to the west roughly 500m away.

I had set off with the plan of working both WJZ and Neil 2M0NCM who had SOTA declared. I travelled through Greenock and headed southwards along the single track road known as the ‘Old Largs Road’ and just before the road heads towards the ‘Back of The World‘, we took a right turn to take us to the Greenock Cut Visitor Centre car park mentioned previously in the blog.

Having left the car which then headed back home, I headed up over the stile and along a damp grass path until I reached the foot of the hill proper now it goes straight up but the track  zigzags to ease the ascent until you reach a gap which heads towards Dunrod Hill when you notice a slight track heading N to Hillside. A short climb and you quickly reach the summit.

A cairn marks the high spot whilst on the west side of hill, some snow was still lying, the wind by this time was racing through at a pelt. I found a nook and set up my mast just in case if needed. A cup of hot tea to warm myself first then off to look for contacts, Roddy IOB had called so we had a ragchew and later from the Old Kilpatrick Hills, ECO called in. I then monitored S20 and later than planned, Iain WJZ called from Ben Venue.

A move to 145.450 and another four chaser points were in the bag, his ascent sounded quite eventful. I listened and ‘tested’ the beam to see who and what distance I could get. Central Scottish stations through to Edinburgh were heard with no problem, the North Ayrshire hills were keeping signals for the S and SW from coming through to me.

I had texted and later phoned Neil 2M0NCM who was on Criffel nr Dumfries but this was not the day to hook up. I had previously on 11m worked Criffel regularly from my local hill but I had chosen this hill as a change today. I had heard Alan XXP call in to WJZ when he was near the top of Hart Fell, I eventually with the help of Neil NCM found him, the signal was weak both ways but contact made so eight points were the total for the day. I then broke down everything and after another cuppa I decided to head N and follow a faint path which descended and took me round the nearest hill and eventually joined a well-kept rough Water Board track. Scroggy Bank antenna farm was in the distance so after a good pace along the track, Scroggy Bank was passed. From the mast, it looks as if it is a microwave relay station.

It was now a downhill walk towards the start of the Greenock Cut, I had heard Roddy IOB calling me on S20 but never made contact until I reached a spot which gave me a view up the river valley, I headed down the track and started down towards Greenock, Katie arrived so I said goodbye to Roddy and headed home.

A walk of approx 6km done mostly on grass and rough track using paths I haven’t used before, the tracks were busy with Sunday walkers plus the local trail bikers were roaming the hills.

In true fashion, the weather started to brighten as I got in the car but still a good day out.

Where is Hillside Hill map <HERE>

Wikipedia article on nearby Loch Thom/Greenock Cut <HERE>

Photos below in the Gallery,

not the best day for photography as air clarity was pretty poor.


A Windy Day for a Long Winding Walk……

Plans had been laid midweek but the forecast 24 hours before Saturday morning was not looking promising so if dry, an alternative walk had to be found so a local jaunt was planned.

The Greenock Cut, the walk starts at NS266748. (car parking is available)

It has been several years since I last walked the Cut aqueduct above Greenock, a long winding walk alongside an engineering miracle of the 19th century built by Robert Thom and for many a generation of any Inverclyde resident this is their first walk into the local hills. The relatively flat walk spreads over 5.5 miles(9km) with rough rising  moorland to the south and steep grassy slopes which follow the hill contours and run parallel with south west Greenock, sadly the day had poor light and low cloud which denied me the picturesque views to the North and West which must be seen.

I had left home and was travelling to the Waterman’s House at Overton when Roddy 2M0IOB contacted me to say Conic Hill was being activated. I arrived at my destination and had a quick check of my handheld but Conic Hill was missed. I started along westwards with the aqueduct on my left, most of the little bridges have been repaired and the stone bothies which the watermen had used have mostly fallen into disrepair.

To my right, Greenock lay sprawled out as far as the eye could see. First of all, to the south , the microwave masts of Scroggy Bank came into view.

Roddy, good lad that he is, now contacted me to say Bob, a local MM1 station was activating Ben Bowie so I took out the 2m handheld and made the contact with him. Another chaser point in the bag.

As you walk further along you now start to leave Greenock behind with countryside and the IBM factory in Spango Valley coming into view.  The path starts to wind gently towards Cornalees, immediately on your right is the farm of Dunrod, near the ruins of Dunrod Castle where Auld Dunrod, a local of legend once lived.

Read on :

The nearby parish of Inverkip’s biggest claim to fame was to witchcraft in the mid 17th century.

A verse recalls
“In Auld Kirk the witches ride thick
And in Dunrod they dwell;
But the greatest loon amang them a’
Is Auld Dunrod himsel’.”

‘Auld Dunrod’ was the last of the Lindsay family of Dunrod Castle. As the result of a dissolute life he lost all his possessions and fell into the black arts. Local reputation had it that he was in league with the devil, and he died in mysterious circumstances in a barn belonging to one of his former tenant farmers. Nothing now remains of the castle which stood at the foot of Dunrod Hill. ( My thanks to Wikipedia for this)

The path now starts to turn south eastwards taking in the start of the Shielhill Glen with Inverkip and the Kip Marina in the distance. The steep slopes of Cauldron and Dunrod are on your left and soon you reach the road which splits the track in which once you cross the road the track heads southward along the top of  Shielhill Glen, this area has been set out with seats and picnic areas when you reach a waterfall which is the overflow from the Compensation Reservoir, the Cut path now ends and you can now cross the road to the Greenock Cut Visitor Centre, this centre was formerly known as Cornalees Visitor Centre, this is part of the Clyde Muirshiel park.

You now have the option to either look at the exhibition in the Centre or use the Cafe or have a picnic outside. Loos are available.

Heading on the road eastwards, you come to start of the Kelly Cut at NS247720 which leads you to Wemyss Bay 6 miles (9km) away. The path at its start has many seating areas until you leave the trails area behind, the path becomes slightly soggier in places, you now look back and can see Dunrod Hill and looking eastwards Corlic Hill.

The Daff Reservoir, a fantastic shaped water appears on your right and after the Daff , the scenery is not inspiring with rough cut forest to your right and rough moorland to the left, I did notice that someone has been chiselling away at a  thin seam of quartz at the Cut side, gold maybe ?

You next leave the single track on to a rough vehicle track and after a short distance, the Kelly Reservoir hides from you to the south where you now track westwards and meet the first piece of uphill track , once you reach the top , you see (or you could have on a better day) Bute and the Mull of Kintyre. A long downhill tramp comes next and then you reach a tarmac single track road and once passed the farm , a track suddenly veers downhill to your right, this is the original Kelly Burn track but having been advised to its being rather muddy in places. I took the road down to the main caravan park and followed the road down to Wemyss Bay and the railway station.

I travelled back to Port Glasgow on of Scotrail’s finest carriages from whence was a lift home and back to civilisation.

The walk ? I would thoroughly recommend the Greenock Cut walk, the Kelly Cut walk ? why not, it adds interest and gets you off the beaten track, I walked from the Visitor Centre and never met anyone until I reached the Caravan Park, total solitude.

I would recommend a clear day as the views could and would have been better.

Please note a new sub section on the above menu , I have added a Local Interest ‘tab’, self-explanatory really. Walks plus visits to local interest ‘spots’ amongst other stuff.

please excuse photos in Flickr set, light quality was poor plus I used my mobile phones inbuilt camera.

Photo set <HERE>

Only for the distance travelled

Google Map details <HERE>

How it started….Part Two……1980s thru now

I look back on my initial hilltop operations in the early ’80s and have a wry smile, 27mhz FM (legal, of course, initially). Initially it was venturing onto my local hilltop (620ft ASL) with a Realistic 4w CB27/81 handie

The US version of the Realistic 4w CB 27/81 handie

then I started to attach a then, ubiquitous Silver Rod.

Today I walk to the top of Corlic Hill ( I travel from the E where there is no path) with all the  equipment I needcbhandheld

Then…it was much the same then as now, the next radio used was a Realistic 4W FM CB27/81 mobile TX , a 1/2 wave  Silver Rod type antenna with mast (aluminium poles 2 of ), a 12v 6ah SLA battery then eventually I graduated to the next radio – President Grant, a portable 2 ele Quad antenna ( I did build a 3 ele Quad but it was too much to carry), two 12v car batteries, aluminium poles etc etc, this, of course, meant there had to be two of us.

Corlic Hill was the main hill I operated from, I spent more than a  few 24 hour sessions there, Dunrod Hill, Creuch Hill and the Hill of Stake amongst others were regularly activated. It was later found that a spot on the Clyde estuary was the best to work worldwide DX although all continents had been worked from the summits mentioned,the quad had proved itself. It was amazing then that with a home made boom, bamboo canes, wire and balun you could work the world.

The hilltops gave some decent distance with only 4w on CB 27/81 FM, Tyneside, North Pennines, Southern Uplands, Lowther Hills,Pentlands, Fife, Aberdeenshire, Forfar and Dundee area, Oban and Bonawe area, Mull of Kintyre and regular working into Northern Ireland. It was good whilst it lasted, early starts to beat those who took great delight in ‘keying’ us out.

Nowadays, the equipment is much compact and with the internet, you can check where and if any SOTA activators are operating within your equipment capabilities. I have a SOTA beam which weighs virtually nothing, the mast which is a 7m fibreglass fishing pole, the battery I use, a 12v 7ah SLAB. I’m in the process of adding an HF antenna for future work but with so much choice, I haven’t settled on any given type yet.

The now advantage of having the radio amateur licence is the amount of bands available to the portable operator, I only presently work 2m and 70cms but 6m and HF is next.

If only there had been a SOTA type program then, I was then a president_grantmember of the Scottish Hillbillies who, at weekends operated from high points, in most cases, in cars or in some cases, portable on hilltops. Tinto was a favourite of a few of the lads. I was one of the latter, a disappointing weather forecast on a Friday or Saturday meant the car. The monthly meetings were held all over the Central Belt, as well as the radio , it had a great social aspect to it.

I was a member of other groups in those halycon days of CB 27/81, locally there was the IST (International Skip Talkers) also the PG Group, this was 8 – 10 of us sharing a local PO Box for QSL’s. I was lastly a member of the Scottish Division of AT (Alfa Tango), I was 108 AT 459 in those days, more memorable for the raffle prize haul I made at the 7th Annual UK Meeting in 1989…

Radio , laid back style then. It was fun.

1988-89, the years I studied for and passed my RAE (Radio Amateurs Examination), I set myself up with an HF+6m TX and operated on 6m only, I worked the few local stations and over the winter some aurora then I fell away and sold up my equipment.

This brings us back forward to 2008…

Applied and got my old callsign back and eventually got active again this year….

Dunrod Visit, Portable 31/05/09

After a tiring trip the previous day, I made tracks to Dunrod Hill, an old favourite haunt of mine radio wise. I left home and headed to the car park at the Cornalees Visitor Centre and headed towards Dunrod, I made good time and arrived at the trig point in about 20mins, Dunrod is 298m (977ft ASL) and has spectacular views on almost all points.
I started to set up station and Roddy, a 2M0 station that is mentioned many times in this blog arrived, we set up our equipment, Roddy had brought along his Tape Measure Yagi, it is built as the name suggests, we put out CQs but the 2m frequencies were quiet, we later scanned 144/145 MHZ looking for any SOTA activations, first station we made contact with was Robert, a GM4 station on Tinto Hill, one of two stations we worked on that summit, the other was Douglas, a GM0 station. Robert is a regular on Tinto but not on SOTA activation this time.
We next made contact with Robin, GM7/P, another regular on this blog, Robin had activated a 10pt summit , he was on the summit of Aonach Beag, it was his fourth summit of the weekend, this weekend had been the hottest all year and made activation a warm business.
Still scanning the frequencies, we next hooked up Alan, a 2M0/P on White Coomb, I had spoken to Alan the previous day from Beinn Chaorach.
The bands then went quiet and it was time to break everything down and head back to our respective home QTHs, Roddy dropped me off (Thanks!!!).
The day had been an excellent one.
I then spent the evening updating my logs and SOTA activation and chaser information.

Photo :

Antenna farm