Tag Archives: Greenock Cut

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>

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Beinn Chaorach…..April this year !

Having another chance to head and activate another ‘Marilyn’ this weekend, I finally plumped for Beinn Chaorach, Chaorach was the first four point SOTA summit I attempted and  I choose Saturday to go, the weather once again was excellent.

I had packed the rucksack then the usual, did I pack this ? pack that ?  a quick double check that I had everything and then set off from home at approx 9.30, once again as last week, the roads on Lomondside were quiet so good time was made.

Chaorach and last week’s activation Beinn a’Mhanaich are ‘sister’ summits, they are only 3km apart and many a walker will do both summits in one day.

Eich with Ben Lomond

Eich and Ben Lomond

I got dropped off at 10.15 and headed N towards Auchengaich Dam, this was a different route than taken previously, one km on a rough track then headed NE up a steep slope to the bealach between Chaorach and Tharsuinn then a last final climb N to Chaorach’s summit.

I took some photos and a ‘video’ panoramic view (see below)then set up the 7m fibreglass mast and firstly, put up the 4m JPole antenna, I called out and SOTA regular Steve , GM7 from Greenock answered my call, the first contact was in the log, another call and I worked Duncan, a MM1 station from Dumbarton, after a few more CQ calls, nothing.

It was time to put up the  2m JPole antenna and got a call back from a regular friend of the blog, Roddy, 2M0 who was situated above Greenock near the ‘Cut’ ( a recommended ‘easy’ walk ) next I worked a STS with Bob, MM1 who was activating Conic Hill which I could see nestling at the south-east end of Loch Lomond.

I continued to go back to S20 145.500 to try to get more contacts, Graham, MM0 from Helensburgh was next to answer my call, we also later worked on 144.310 ssb. Another call and Ian,  a GM4/M station called me from 5 mls N of Pitlochry, Ian from Irvine, a MM6 station called in next.

I then had my lunch  and tried S20 again and then made another STS with Ian, a MM0 station who was activating  Cademuir Hill in the Borders, had a quick QSO then I set up the 4m Jpole antenna again, called and worked Steve, GM7 again and just as I was about to call it a day, I called once again on 70.450FM and hooked up with another STS, this time it was with a Special Event station GC0 who was activating Tal Y Fan in North Wales, reports were exchanged and I was ready to break down the station but listened to see if I could hear any other stations going back to John, GC0. I checked the distance between Beinn Chaorach (SOTA Ref GM/SS 062) and Tal Y Fan (SOTA Ref GW/NW 040) was 322kms or 200ml in ‘old’ distance term. Distance calculated on Google Earth. No bad at all.

Looking towards the Clyde Estuary

Looking towards the Clyde Estuary

Time to head back down, during the day a constant stream of walkers appeared at the summit, it was certainly more busy than last year. Once again, another lovely sunny day, not many contacts, three on 4m and just the six on 2m, other GM/MM activators were active but our paths never crossed. Three STS were made

I headed back down the same route I had taken up and arrived back at the pick up point 90 mins later.

Another ‘fun’ activation…..

The previous blogpost of my previous activation of this hill  <HERE>

Flickr: Beinn Chaorach April 2010 set

Facts :

Beinn Chaorach  ‘the hill of the sheep’ is 713m ASL (2338 ft)

Round Trip of  6km

Total Ascent : approx 533 m (1749 ft)

Total Descent : approx 533m (1749 ft)

Map HERE

A Visit to Creuch Hill

Packed the equipment and headed through Greenock taking what is termed the ‘Old Largs Road’, a narrow single track road over the moors between Greenock and Largs. I got dropped off at NS 251678 and headed NE, a rough quad track is there for the first half of the journey but is taken through possibly the wettest areas on the hill, I skirted away from the track and headed upwards towards the old ruined ‘sheepfold’ ( not shown on the OS map), the wind was strong as I headed over to the Trig Point, I took a pic of the Trig ruins, see photo. It had taken me approx 50 mins to ascend.

Creuch Hill is 441m or 1446ft ASL, it is shown online as Inverclyde’s highest point.
I set up in the west side of the hill due to quite a brisk wind coming from the SE. I first looked through the 2m FM frequencies and noted how quiet it was. I called and hooked up with Roddy, a 2M0 station who was mobile and heading to ‘walk’ his dog along the Greenock Cut , I spoke with Roddy on a few occasions during my short time on the hill, I called on 145.500 (S20) and found no takers, I scanned and noted an G station working the RSGB Backpackers Contest but not strong enough to go back to, I later heard him taking to an Irish station.
I made contact with Barrie, a GM0 station from Dumbarton and the regulars Brian, a MM0 station in Howwood and John, a MM1 station from Glasgow.

I decided that I would return back to base and arranged to picked up around 2.30ish. I caught Robin, GM7/P, a regular name on this blog, Robin was activiating SOTA summit Beinn Na Cille , signal strength both ways was 59, superb considering the distance between us. Robin then left to go to another frequency.
I spoke next with Roddy and then decided to break down the station, whilst doing this I saw my XYL appearing at the lay by, I , of course, had got my times mixed up, nevertheless I descended in just over 25 mins and headed home, slightly disappointed that the band was so quiet.

Photos :

Top – Looking North
Bottom – Trig Point remanis