Sunday 3 September 2023

Largs. Castle Hill. Gogo Water.

                                                  ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.

Cosmos flowers. Alan wanted to do a hill walk this time so I suggested Largs with it's backdrop of scenic green hills rising behind the town and as he had never done them before he was keen to give them a go.

 We parked in the quiet back streets just up from the seafront as I knew two small but attractive parks nearby which would be good for colourful borders at this time of year. Instead of Rudbeckia, another attractive late flowering ornamental plant, we had Cosmos, both photos above. An easy flower to remember as it has big showy flowers but feathery candyfloss foliage beneath, albeit green in colour, not pink. After six decades of walking outdoors I find that knowing flowers, animals, trees, insects, etc, just adds extra interest to any walk with more things to find out about and get into other than simply hills you are ascending. Either that or I just get bored easily as trudging up hills is not enough on its own these days for mental stimulation.

 Really nice decorative benches as well, donated by locals, presumably in remembrance of loved ones.

 in a range of different styles.


Also a small area dedicated to a famous Scottish poet. Easy to guess which one...


Man and faithful nag. A before and after tail... maybe an original example of that...

 It had been raining heavily overnight but the forecast was good for today and it started to clear up once we arrived. This path up Castle Hill starts close by and we were soon climbing up the slopes on pleasant green paths where the views opened up.

Great Cumbrae ( an island containing the small town of Millport.) and part of Largs from Castle Hill.


What looks like the new Largs Secondary School, replacing the old Largs Academy, that site now demolished and turned into low level housing units.


The enjoyable path up Castle Hill.


From the summit we could see Largs marina, Fairlie, Southannan Sands and Goldenberry Hill.

And looking north west another fine little hill above Brisbane Mains.


Also the Waverley Paddle Steamer on one of its last Scottish trips before it departs down to the English south coast for the autumn/ winter season. It can be ten degrees C warmer down there so following the better weather and the heat in other words before coming back up here next spring/ summer. That way it attracts more paying day trippers around the UK and people are usually pleased to see it arrive, rather than taking it for granted if it stayed in one location all year.


A closer view of it leaving Largs. You might think a paddle steamer would be slow and sedate but this one can really move through the water at speed.



At this point I made a bit of a blunder. Instead of continuing up on an obvious green path, seen here to Rigging Hill, still way off in the distance, I decided to do a shorter circuit straight down from here to the series of waterfalls, the other big highlight of the area. I'd done this in the past and it was fairly easy but they have now planted trees on this steep slope, the grass is much thicker with no grazing sheep to keep it down and the path that used to run on the other side of the river is no longer there. I find that on a lot of walks nowadays... either Covid lockdowns or just  the passage of time means many paths I used to know well have altered considerably since I last walked them. The descent was something of a nightmare with deep hidden holes, thick grass hiding them, boggy underfoot, and very slippy. Then we had to wade the river at the bottom of this gorge, swollen with overnight rain. The beautiful path up the river on the other bank to the waterfalls is no longer there, obscured by tall grass and spreading bramble patches. Gone forever. It was a challenge and  an adventure admittedly but one we could do without. It did make us fully appreciate paths  though when we eventually found one again... and stayed on it this time. Lesson learned!


A good walk overall though and excellent views, as always. The town of Largs above.


And an example of what I was talking about earlier with plants as I spotted these Grass of Parnassus flowers on the nightmare descent. Not a grass at all but so named after Mount Parnassus in Greece when local herders there noticed the livestock eating these little delicate flowers with obvious relish as well as the surrounding green pastures, hence the unusual and memorable name. Now isn't that interesting?


Anabel Marsh said...

When I posted about the Waverley the other day, two southern bloggers said they were taking trips on her. She’s a popular old lady!

Carol said...

Lovely photo of Waverley!

I once spent an evening with 3 happy drunks in a bar in Largs - a memorable evening. I was camping in my Cortina up the road to Loch Tom? that night.

Your waterfall adventure sounds like the sort of thing I'd have deliberately gone and done. In fact, I had a day very like that today doing an Outlying Wainwright - same sort of terrain and very, very wet for nearly the whole walk!

blueskyscotland said...

Good evening Anabel,
yep, she gets around. Much more than I first thought.

blueskyscotland said...

I would not wish that descent on anyone Carol. Extremely steep and at the bottom I fell and rolled, nearly snapping my back in two on a sharp boulder. Just pure luck I wasn't badly injured but feel free to give it a go if you are ever in Largs again.

Kay G. said...

Oh you must be careful on your walks now! That description of the overgrown path sounds a bit scary. Glad y'all made it!

As always, I love your photos. That last picture of the tiny white flowers, I looked it up. They can also be called "bog stars"!

blueskyscotland said...

Thanks Kay, Yes it was fairly boggy where they were situated, with loads of other unusual plants on that slope as well. Did another small hill a few days ago and the path up that had completely changed as well since the last visit 12 years ago.

WalkWithWallace said...

Hi Alex & Bob,

May I ask for permission to use your photo in my up and coming video of the old iron clad bothy at Glenbeg please? I'll credit your blog in the description.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi WalkWithWallace. Yes you can if you take it directly off the blog. I no longer have the original photo as it was years and 10,000 photos ago. I think it burned down in a lightning storm anyway unless they have built a new replacement since. Bob.