Tag Archives: Loch Thom

Weekend Mash

By ‘eck, lad, tha berr get ee posts gaein’ agin….

Having been out Friday afternoon on what is one of my regular strolls a total of just over five and a quarter miles plus I finished soaked due to the rain over the last couple of miles. Early Saturday morning I noticed an alert posted on SOTA for a Northern Irish station and after a quick check of the ‘point to point’ I decided the Greenock Cut and the hills to the south would be ideal. Roddy 2MØIOB must have read my mind with the invitation of  ‘Fancy a traipse around the Cut?’..no contest, a big ”Yep’.

Roddy picked me up and off we headed over the road I had walked the previous day and then took the road/track over Garshangan to Loch Thom. This road is a single track but turns from tarred to rough track at the dam wall of the Higher Gryffe reservoir. It is passable in a vehicle such as Roddy’s Land Rover but it looks like no one seems to ‘fill’ in the eroded bits. A swing left on to the Old Largs Road and soon we headed alongside Loch Thom where we turned right and took the road to Cornalees or as it is now known the Greenock Cut Centre, I prefer the old name.

One man and his pooch

One man and his pooch

Roddy parked in the designated parking area at the rear of the centre and on our arrival light rain started to dapple the windscreen. ‘It’s only light rain’  he said but out and off the three of us headed. Three ? yep, Duncan one of Roddy’s dogs made up the outing.

The Cut itself was the choice and off we headed along what is a gentle flat path, Duncan soon decided to go and splash about and as he ran along the plant covered depths, he soon found that the bits with no plant life were  much deeper. Oops.

I wrote a post about two-year ago on a trip along the Cut HERE so I’ll not bore you now with the previous written history but luckily the rain was keeping away and what breeze was at our back. Greenock and the views to the north with the cloud level hiding the Luss hills  soon came into view.

There is some repair work  going on towards the Greenock end and in some areas the path is slightly churned up but no complaints if they keep in good order what is one cracking walk if you need a leg stretch. Scroggy Bank soon appeared on our right and later we would pass this communication mast and towers on the return leg of this jaunt.

We reached the junction and headed SW over the Watermans Rd, a single aggregate track which heads back to Cornalees. We stopped at Maggie’s Well before heading right on to the track which would take us past Scroggy Bank and out towards our target hill, Hillside. Maggie’s Well is named after the horse of a commander of the Argyll & Southern Highlanders which stopped for a drink on occasion.

It was off along an old track which linked a group of reservoirs which were built to supply Greenock but nowadays the dams to the SW have been breached and have now gone back to nature, quickly I may add.

Maggies Well

Maggies Well

Hillside ? I can only assume that it means at the side of the slightly higher Dunrod Hill 400m to its W. We headed along a old rough track that I had once come off Hillside (blog post HERE) but with the wet weather the path was very muddy, Roddy suggested we strike up to the top of the hill we were on and soon we saw our intended target nearby, we looked for a route across but noticed that when we dropped height into a gully it looked pretty peaty and wet, Duncan soon proved this as he proceeded to lets just say get rather filthy from his attempt to cross but a slight detour, a quick leap and we were across heading up a slight path and as we arrived at its summit, hailstones pelted us. This reminds me of a recent ascent.

A quick listen around 2m but nothing except the Limavady 2m repeater GB3LY , Roddy had his handie on scan since we left Cornalees but nothing else was heard.

Looking down we could see Cornalees, the adjacent Ardgowan fishery with anglers sitting waiting patiently also to the south the firth was shrouded and the usual landmark of Ailsa Craig was no to be seen.The sky today showed variation from dark menacing rain filled clouds to the occasional sunny spell. Typical weather for this area. It was time to head down as the rain looked as if it was heading our way….again !

Heading down what is a rather steep hill face towards the car park whilst taking care as once again a slippy looking muddy path, we climbed the stile into the Centre car park and I looked at the time and we had spent just under 3 hours wandering, a good stretch of the legs. Duncan was still let’s just say a bit maukit so off back to one of the local reservoirs where he was persuaded to have a quick splash, a quick dry and then off to drop me off. We did have a look at the entrance to what was the old Garvock Lodge land but decided to leave a visit until sometime drier in the future.It was strange being in a vehicle as I normally tramp these areas.

A good day out for all.

For further reading about the ‘Cut’ and Loch Thom see HERE

I may have mentioned somewhere in the blog about a wind turbine of approx 200ft (tip of wing to ground) getting planning permission just about 1 mile S from my house and be situated in a field next to the Green Rd (Devol Rd on maps), further permission had been granted for a 50m anemometer to be put up for twelve months just to the E of it.


Green Rd Anaeometer

I noticed one night heading back from Kilmacolm that they had erected the said anemometer and of course, I had to go have a shuffty.

I waited until the Saturday and I headed over the Green Rd on my way on a walk to take in the Side Hills and Kilmacolm. The mast showed as soon as we topped out on the golf course, heading down the Green Rd we nipped over a gap in the fence and headed over the boggy grass to where they had erected the anemometer. Four anchor points and the mast as you see in one of the images has been very well secured, I’ll let the images speak for themselves. I see marker posts running up the slope from the Green Rd which apparently will be upgraded from the S and the wind turbine is to be positioned not too far from the track. I hope to catch the work as it is being done.

For more information on an anaeometer look HERE

My thanks to  © Roddy for the image of ‘One man and his pooch’

Thanks to Wikipedia and any site I have linked to.

Schaw Water Co

Schaw Water Co Mark The above image shows the possible mark of the Schaw Water Company who worked and operated the water management of the aquaduct 


Do You Fancy A Fish Supper ?

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 asked if I could be dropped off in Greenock at Roddy IOB’s favourite walking area , my first plan was to walk the ‘Cut’ then head homewards via Loch Thom, Garshangan and maybe taking in Corlic.

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.

Ailsa Craig in the distance

Ailsa Craig in the distance

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.

Looking NW from Dunrod Hill

Looking NW from Dunrod Hill

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.

Holy Isle in the distance

Holy Isle in the distance

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….

Look carefully for the outline

Roman On The Moor

Link of easy route to fort HERE (Google Earth KML file)

Corlic with a twist this weekend…

A perfect day for out walking so off I headed Greenock way and took the ‘Old Largs Road’ where I got dropped off at the start of the track into Corlic, regular readers know of a good tarmac then slightly rough track to the base of the hill with a sharp 150ft rise to the summit, this takes me slightly less than 40 mins walking in. The weather was sunny with a lot of white cloud scurrying over as the breeze was fairly brisk but got stronger as I neared the top. I found a different nook from usual as wind was coming SW and sat down to wait on Iain WJZ who was due to appear on Beinn Narnain in the Arrochar area. Another alert was posted for Ben Lawers but an earlier text from Roddy IOB had told me this was taken down.

After a quick scran, for once a healthy option, I heard Iain call. I only took the 2m handie with me but the signal was still strong and after a quick chat with Iain, I left him to work other stations but had a listen to see who I could hear. I later had a look around the 2m band but nothing so decision time, which way off today ?

Four options…

return the way I had come in

Head down the usual route via the ruined Harelaw farmstead

Head towards the Gryffe reservoirs then over the Green Rd(also known as Devol Rd on OS maps) home

The choice this time was to head north towards a specific fence then turn eastwards and visit the area of the Roman fortlet on Lurg Moor. I had partly finished a blog post which required photos and more to the point, a panorama of the excellent view that the Roman soldiers had.

The going was the usual knee-deep heather intermingled with wet boggy sections and with the recent weather, the boggy bits lived up to their name as I found out later in the walk. It is amazing what rubbish you find in the middle of nowhere, empty plastic containers, beer bottles and cans etc.

I followed the fence line which I met at NS291736, in hindsight it would have been a better idea to have backtracked and descended the hill the way I had come up and then to head northwards along the track at the base until I met a fence at NS288736 and then head eastwards along the fence line until you reach the fortlet area at NS295737. There is an excellent satellite view on Google Earth

The entrance and fort area

The entrance and fort area

I had a walk around the site which I have visited on previous occasions, I remember the first time I looked for the site, it was a misty early start I had come from the east via the Lurg Moor trig point which some wag had painted with satanic symbols which looked quite creepy in the mist and the ‘All Seeing Eye’ facing you. (This trig had also been painted with a red background to the symbols)

I followed the fence and it was when I was upon the site I noticed the 3/4 ditch around the site, the entrance was from the south and is clearly visible from which a road ran towards other fortlets in the defence line. It is almost 1900 years since the Roman army manned this outpost, I wonder what they would have made of the midge population in the summer and autumn months.

A quick resume….

The Lurg Moor Fortlet is long thought to be a continuation of the Roman small fort system which extended from the end of the Antonine Wall which then crossed the river at Dumbuck and from Whitemoss Fort near Bishopton it then extended westwards above Langbank until the known fortlet on Lurg Moor (video link) above Greenock. The Roman road which leaves the Lurg Moor Fortlet runs towards the north end of Loch Thom and onwards to Dunrod Hill ( Dunrod means Fort Hill or Fort Road).The Roman road ran to Outerwards and towards a reputed anchorage at Largs although more likely Irvine,  I’ve included these links HERE HERE to a more possible site for the Roman landing point.

I cobbled this together from varying places on the internet so fact and fiction may mix along the way.

I now headed towards home passing what may have been a  Damondii ‘Hut Circle’ at NS 297737 as you will in the image sadly misused for a twin electricity pole base.



I then had to pass through the boggiest part of the journey with diversions to avoid the wettest parts apart from one where Bob got mucky. My next port of call was the Lurg Moor trig point which the OS has as being on Knocknairs Moor, I used to come up here years ago and sit watch all the ship traffic moving up and down from Glasgow and around the docks at Greenock. It would be a good place to play radio from. I worked 11m from here in the mid 80s.Roddy IOB had let me know that Beinn Chaorach was to be activated later in the afternoon, it would have good to hang about but I decided just to have my handie at the ready on the way home.

Time to head back home, I soon arrived at the roadside and headed along the back road to home but took a short path which takes me to the edge of the golf course and I finally dropped down and arrived home five hours and 8 kms later.

A good day weather wise and an excellent change of route.

Links of interest

Roman Fortlet at Lurg Moor

Roman Fortlet at Outerwards

1970 Outerwards and related excavation ( pages 12-14 document pages not pdf pages !)

Lurg Moor – Largs road info

NS 2973 images ( courtesy of Geograph)

3D reconstruction of Lurg Moor Fortlet ( © uploader)

This is only a few noted pages etc, Google is your friend for further reading.

My thanks go to Wikipedia, Canmore and Geograph, these well run sites deserve your support. My thanks to the authors of the linked articles and video.

Videos can be watched in HD if wanted…

Goat Fell and the Brisbane Glen

Yomping Through The Heather…Creuch Hill

I’d noticed this last week that someone had looked at my earlier Creuch Hill blog post for route and hill information so I made a mental note, a trip on the first date available as it had been almost two years I last made the trip to this summit. Now I remember why !

The previous day, Saturday would have been ideal as more than a few of the regulars were out multiple activating but I had committed to start replacing our back garden fence.

I had hoped the weather forecast would stay true and like the last trip out to Corlic, the sun shone with only the occasional cloud in the sky, I had charged everything up as usual at the end of the week as Robin PKT had been activating throughout the week. Ready to go !

This hill requires a drive to Greenock where you head out what is locally known as the ‘Old Largs Road’ heading past the Whinhill Golf Course on your left before heading into open moorland on a single track road heading along Loch Thom before coming to a junction, Greenock Cut Centre (worth a visit) is the road to your right but you now carry straight on into a narrower single track but with plenty passing places and as you head into North Ayrshire at the oddly named Rottenburn Bridge, in the distance you will soon see pylons crossing the road, the parking place is soon after this on your left at NS 251678. Time to make sure you have all your equipment and head off the obvious track to the first gate. Keeping on the track you now come to the burn where you gingerly cross a patched up footbridge and now climb the gate into open but rough country.

Goat Fell and the Brisbane Glen

Goat Fell and the Brisbane Glen

There is an obvious point to aim at but this is where the old shielings are whilst the summit is to the north of these. There is an old track which disappears in places for part of the route but looks as it hasn’t been used in many a year as nature is reclaiming it, on my last visit there was a faint quad bike track but nothing this time, the track disappears not long before the first pylon, I now headed up working my way through heathery tufts, marshy areas and almost hidden drainage ditches, believe me it is that rough.

Not long after passing under the pylons, I headed eastwards to see if I could see the remains of a branch of the old Grouse Railway which ends near old grouse butts at the south east base of this hill but I saw no evidence. I now headed straight upwards skirting the old shielings ( these are not on the OS map) and head to the obvious wrecked trig. The trig point was demolished in 1987 according to T:UK. Sadly demolished on the spot and no debris removed.

It had taken me approx 45 mins to cover the 1.7 ml.

I set up my 2m handie to listen for any SOTA activity whilst I set up the station, first I set up the mast with the 4m JPole and called CQ but nothing, I had a scran break then tried again and worked a station in the Dumbarton area. I tried again but nothing although I did hear a couple of Irish stations.

It was time to put up the assembled 2m yagi and today it was just pointed north as the declared activators were as if they were in a direct line, first I worked Craig ANL who popped up on Ben Bowie which I could see line of sight. A quick word and the first point was in the bag.

The views all round were fantastic due to the excellent air clarity, Goat Fell and the north end of Arran, Cumbraes and Bute to the south-west whilst the vista from the Cowal Hills to the Old Kilpatrick Hills was stunning, Glasgow land beyond spread out to the east and as you looked south-east into the Lanarkshire hills and finally due south, the North Ayshire hills and its only Marilyn, the Hill of Stake. Superb views which my photos and panorama will do no justice, I think a return to here will be earlier than later, I last visited the hill in 2009, deep in the post list there is an earlier blog post.

Looking North

Looking North

I was monitoring .500 when I heard Iain WJZ calling, we headed down to S18 and made contact, Iain was in what I call my ‘Etive Triangle’, from Creise to the big Buachaille and in a triangle south, I seem to struggle although I did catch Iain on Ben Starav the previous day, Iain today was on Stob Dubh and had activated the hill for its first time, unusual in that area. I left Iain to go and wait on Graeme GIL and Neil NCM but I next heard Robin PKT who was out on Stob Ghabhar in the Black Mount area to the east of Glencoe. Excellent signal both ways and I had a quick chat with Robin before heading to check .500 again. I was as usual chatting on occasion with Roddy 2MØIOB who was walking around the circular Greenock Cut walk from Cornalees, the other stations worked today were Jack COX from his home qth and Brian HMZ in the Paisley area. I then heard Graeme 2MØGIL calling and spoke to Graeme for a time then he was off to look for the other summit stations.

I eventually got talking to Neil on the slopes of Ben Vorlich (The Lomondside one!) before another quick word with Roddy before I broke down the station. I had entertained heading over the hills back home but knowing I had more than a few miles of heathery stuff and bogs to tramp through I took the lazy option and got picked up at my drop off place, a sensible idea I think. Cruach is 5 mile as the crow flies to my home but the route I would take would add to that, the lack of any paths helped make my mind up.

I headed down the hill trying the direct route but this ended with me almost in a massive boggy area so a double back and head down through yes, more heather. I was nearing the track when I saw Katie drawing in the parking area which has plenty of room for when of you think of visiting.

Cruech Hill start

Cruech Hill start

A good hill with a great VHF take off for 270 deg but take off south is blocked by the higher North Ayrshire hills.  On a good sunny day, it is worth the 3.5 mile round trip just for the views alone. I’ve been on this hill a few times over the years and never have met or seen anyone, I can see why. On the short muddy track through both gates there were no footprints.

A good day ended with a quick word from home with Neil NCM heading back home and not much later, Craig ANL had the temerity to visit my fiefdom Corlic, I heard him call and whilst we were on Roddy 2MØIOB popped in.

Congratulations go to Iain WJZ who this week achieved his ‘Shack Sloth’, I presume there will be plenty of STS(summit to summit) chases in there, well done on slothdom.

Feel free to click on the images to see them in a fuller size

Hill info…

Creuch Hill  441m ( 1447 ft) ASL

‘Creuch’ is an old Celtic word meaning ‘mud or loam’

Drop is 87m

The highest point in Inbhir Chluaidh (Inverclyde)

Trig Point – TP 2584 more info <HERE>

possibly used as a fort at one point <HERE>

Route <HERE>

My thanks as usual goes to Wikipedia, T:UK, SOTA etc for all linked to material.

Map <HERE>