Friday, 1 January 2010
New Years Day.Dunrod Hill and Scroggy Bank.
After enjoying the film Transiberian picked from a bunch of new DVDs I received at Christmas my butterfly mind was inspired by Woody and Emily's mishaps and adventures in the snowy wastes of a Russian winter on the legendary chug chug.I decided there and then to seek out my own winter adventure.Due to not wanting to face any retail park(they shut for 2 days!Dear god its the end of the world!) during the absolute mayhem of the festive break traffic I had only a half tank of petrol so wanted to keep it fairly local but still adventurous!
The nearest icy waste I could think of was the Loch Thom wilderness,an area I,ve always thought of as somehow Siberian even in summer due to its empty and barren widescale views.
This was taken in summer when I first showed it to Alex who was impressed such a large beautiful area so near Glasgow (in the distance) could exist without him knowing about it.The munros!the munros!
Set off and arrrived in Greenock Then took the minor moor road up onto the high uplands,good clear tarmac giving way to snow covered tracks past the powerlines.
Luckily it was a flat road which I knew had no steep surprises as I doubted I could climb it in these conditions. It was the worst road I,d been on yet, not a single car passed on the way to Dunrod hill.It was the only time I,ve thought an off roader may be useful.
Arrived at Cornalees bridge car park without mishap to find a few cars there.Most people seemed to have come up from the Inverkip road.
Parked and had a swift romp up Dunrod hill then decided I had time for a thrash across the bog to Scroggy bank with its twin metal multimedia towers.
This was hard work as no one had done straight across this since the snow landed.Big tussocks and piles of new snow gleefully pouring into gaiter less boots and socks.Eventually arrived at Scroggy Bank for a nice view back.
A few polar bears would not have looked out of place in this landscape.It was well below zero.
Met a few folk on the land rover track back down to the car.This area in summer is worth a visit. It has superb cycling on a network of land rover tracks, one of the best skirts around the loch Thom and Gryfe Reservoirs to the B 788 then along the higher Streets of Greenock to Overton and back along a decent track to car.Years ago, in the days when nobody bothered, you could cycle the cut itself but its now a funded Ancient monument so its walk only I,m afraid.The problem with all these official bodies is they ring fence off the more maverick things people enjoyed without any hassle or disturbance then advertise and get far more people into an area than it used to get.I used to cycle the cut often and see no one at all now its a lot more popular though still worth a visit.Same can,t be said for the poor wallabies on Loch Lomond who I used to hang out with many an evening over in my Kayak.
Back at the car still had time for a wander along the cut where I met people pushing a pram through deep snow and also this. Not bad for what was available in the surroundings.
Incidentally Loch Thom was named after the civil engineer Robert Thom who designed this waterway/aqueduct to supply fresh water to Greenocks mills and houses.As ever the folk who actually carved out the trench with the most basic of tools lie forgotten by history. There is a similar interesting project by the same engineer in Rothesay which is worth a look.
Back at the car took the quick road down to Inverkip which was surprisingly steep and icy.Lot of traffic still coming up this way which was a problem as the passing places were buried under snow.Loads of uphill reversing and muted curses after the third attempt to get down against the tide of 4 by 4s.
Back down in near night time Greenock stopped and had a wander in Coronation park ,Port Glasgow as the Christmas Lights were cheery here.I,ve always liked the way these three Towns here climb up the hillsides like concrete Christmas trees themselves.
Had a final stop once over the Erskine Bridge to snap the Auchentoshan distillery as they always have a nice show of lights for Christmas.