Turning on the tap: Saturday, 10 March 2018

Starting from the north side of Muirsheil Country Park at the Cornalees Visitor Centre the walk follows the good paths of the standard Greenock Cut circular route. The walk is relatively flat. The walk passes 23 stone built bridges as well as two bothies – the latter provided accommodation for the workers who built the cut. The cut opened in 1827 and supplied Greenock with water for industrial and domestic use. It was built by engineer Robert Thom and was replaced by a tunnel in 1971. In good weather there are great views.

Starting Point:
The starting point is at OS Reference NS 246 721 which is the car park at the Greenock Cut Visitor Centre, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park about 4km east of Inverkip.

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Transit

Getting there:  30 miles/60 minutes
Take your favourite route out of Glasgow towards the M8 heading for Greenock.  Just before Greenock either: [1] go left onto B788 signed Kilmacolm/Scenic Route to Largs and continue onto B7054 (Drumfrochar Road); this will by-pass the town centre; or [2] head for the town centre and at the large roundabout just past the fire station go left onto A78 towards Irvine/Largs/ Wemyss Bay and Isle of Bute Ferry.  If option [1] is chosen continue to the roundabout and go left onto A78 towards Irvine/Largs/Wemyss Bay.  Continue on the A78 past the site of the old IBM factory and look out for a sign pointing left to Loch Thom and Greenock Cut Centre and go left onto a narrow road (Dunrod Road).  After crossing the bridge over the railway line there is a stretch of straight road.  Look out for the Loch Thom sign and at the obvious ‘Y’ junction take the left fork.  Follow the road to the Visitor Centre.  Parking is free and there are toilets but these often have restricted opening times.

For a more scenic route, which may take longer, take B7054 (as above), pass the Broomhill Tavern and after entering a 20mph speed restriction area turn left just past a sign for Scenic Route to Largs/Greenock Cut Centre into Drumfochar Road*.  Continue on this road and shortly after it bears left, and just past a school entrance on the right, turn left (Old Largs Road).  At a junction (to Whinhill Golf Course) bear right.  The road continues to climb.  Ignore the small finger sign (Corlic Hill) pointing left and further on ignore the road on the right.  Views of various lochs will now be visible.  The road skirts Loch Thom.  Turn right just past a sign to the Greenock Cut Centre.  Cross the bridge and continue along the other side of Loch Thom to the Visitor Centre.
*If this left turn is missed continue ahead (Cornhaddock Street) and at the traffic light junction go left.  Then go over the railway line at Drumfrochar Station and at the next junction go right onto Drumfrochar Road.  After a short distance, and just past a school entrance on the right, turn left (Old Largs Road) and continue as above.

The Walk:  Greenock Cut/Shielhill Glen Nature Trail – 8.25 miles
The walk starts at the car park and follows tracks and paths, the surfaces of which should be reasonable throughout.
From the car park go left and follow the track past the Compensation Reservoir and Loch Thom.  Just before Overton turn left to follow the main aqueduct.  At Shielhill, not far from the end of the walk, cross the road to take the path opposite.  After about 250m go right to follow the Shielhill Glen Nature Trail through woodland.  The path crosses a stream (ultimately the Kip Water) on several occasions before exiting the woodland.  Continue on this rising path and turn left when it joins the Kelly Cut.  Follow the Kelly Cut back to the road and turn left towards the Visitor Centre and the car park.

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