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>