Thursday, 24 December 2009

A West Coast Christmas Tour.

Christmas Eve actually.My birthday.Hip Hip Ho hum.Another year nearer the soil.Would I stay in today and tidy the house,do the dishes or fix the garden gate? (Get real!)
Didn`t fancy a big day though but it looked good again,thick mist and icy outside.My kind of day for a west coast bimble, trying to capture the magic of the festive season.Stayed fairly local at first heading for the Gleniffer Braes,all the favourite areas in my tick list popping into my head as being good for a snap or two.
Saucel hill above the centre of Paisley however looked so good as I passed I stopped off there first for a run up to the trig.I know this hill well as its on two of my favourite bike runs from my house,cycle tracks to Greenock and Irvine pass here.Always good on a summers day walking the bike up here for a view over the home of St Mirrins bairns.

There is also an interesting old town trail on the hill right above the town.Paisley has always suffered in some ways by being too close to Glasgow to really shine out in its own right though I suppose it also has an upside.

Next stop was the" car park in the sky".There are good walks from here.The best being east along balcony trails through Robertson and Glen park with its surprising little necklace of mill ponds then over the Brownside braes to Barrhead and back.Return higher up via the two reservoirs.

Didn't stop here long as the inversion was a bit on the skimpy side and I had another bright idea.

Off to Barcraigs, where else, for a walk round the reservoir in the snow.Was not the only one out as a young fox was looking for its lunch in front of me.

Plenty of bird life out on the water.

Most people don't know about this place but for views its a wee treasure.Few places to park though.
Thick cloud was building up over the Glasgow area when I got back to the car so it was time to head further west.

This was the biggest surprise.Never seen Castle Semple loch look like this before.Plenty of families out on the ice near the edge but only a few brave skaters in the middle. In the old days, before health and safety, they pushed something big and heavy out ....if it and they sank it was not thick enough for a bonspeil yet.Happy days!

Had a good time here as it was the first place that really said" festive season" out loud to me.
Perked up and headed for Castle Hill above Largs, one of the best viewpoints on the west coast and really easy to reach.

Stayed up here quite a time talking to a local walker and watching as the sunset turned from yellow to red as it sank lower.Nice chat with a fellow enthusiast of the outdoors.Told him about a hill walking club in Largs he hadn`t heard of before.Its good to help :)

Took the coast road back as I thought it would have less snow in the dark than the way I`d come,skirting past Wemyss Bay and Greenock.Getting really dark by now.
As a last treat to myself on my birthday drove up Lyle hill above the town.

Years since I`d been up here after dark with the locals.Favourite spot in days of yore for night time activites of one sort and another.Forgot how good it was,Truly stunning with boats big and small out in the Firth of Clyde.

Also where the Free French sailed from during world war two.Fantastic monument.Always liked it.
Its a bit dodgy up here sometimes.Its a shame because its one of the best night time views in Scotland.If this was abroad it would be a major tourist attraction at night.It`s not even lit and is black as pitch for anyone brave enough to leave the car here for any length of time at night.Spent a good while up here but always within sight of me trusty motor.
A grand birthday present to myself.


The Glebe Blog said...

This sounds like Bob,so i'll say many happy returns Bob.
What a brilliant day you had,and the way you captured it into the night was awesome.Particularly liked the Barcraig pictures and the atmospheric one with Ailsa Craig in the background.
Happy New Year when it comes.

andamento said...

Great wee local tour, loved the photos. Don't tell too many folk about Barcraigs though!

blueskyscotland said...

Point taken about Barcraig.Dont want it getting popular myself.No place to park there anyway.Its better to park then cycle in from Castle semple water park(uphill then rolling)or the easier Gleniffer Braes(flat then rolling) to explore the whole area properly in summer.Besides I,ve loads of obscure places throughout central scotland still to be captured and mentioned.Even areas Tom Weir never reached and thats saying something.(Mind you ,he may not have wanted to go there in the first place.)