|The Greenock Cut
|Interesting off-road biking close to Glasgow
||9 miles on the Greenock and Kelly cuts, but there's lots of other trails to explore.
||The Greenock Cut is is quite narrow so I'd rate it difficult, other trails are moderate.
||Three hours for the cuts, but there's enough elsewhere to make up a good day.
|How to get there:
||Train to Greenock then go directly uphill from Greenock Central Station. If lost ask anyone. It's also possible to cycle to Greenock on the National Cycle Network route 75, this is mostly converted railway line. The route starts at Bells
Bridge by the SECC on the Clyde and goes via Johnstone and Bridge of Weir to Greenock.
||No particular problems; there are a few gates on the Greenock Cut and it's necessary to manouvre your bike round these. We met no pedestrians at all.
||(O.S. Landranger Map 63).
(Start point Grid ref 267 748).
Biking round anti-clockwise gives great views towards the Kyles of Bute but it will be slightly slower as it's a gentle uphill.
Going round clockwise can be faster and more difficult as the path is. The aqueduct cuts deeply into small gorges as it goes round the hill following its contour, these are wooded and quite pretty.
We met no pedestrians except in the area of Cornalees Bridge Centre, and they'd all got there by car.
It's briefly necessary to leave The Cut when crossing the minor road leading west from Loch Thom; apart from this there are no road crossings.
The Kelly Cut(4 miles)
The Kelly Cut is an extension of the Greenock Cut. It was built in 1845 to increase the water supply. Construction is similar to the Greenock Cut but the path is wider, if occasionally quite bumpy. The first 500m of the Kelly Cut forms part of a nature trail based at Cornalees Bridge Centre.
If you are using the train you could return from a different station. One possibility would be to go out on the Greenock Cut, then the Kelly Cut, then take the track down the hill towards Wemyss Bay.
Alternately return could be on the minor roads to the east of the A78, then via Loch Thom and Land Rover tracks to Greenock.
The minor road going round Loch Thom is very quiet, this could be made part of a Greenock Cut circuit leading to forest tracks to the south of the Gryfe Reservoirs. Return to Greenock on the B788.
Whitelees Hill is the highest point that can be reached on a bike; it's not difficult to reach via the Old Largs Road.
Greenock Cut - History
The engineer who planned and built The Cut was Robert Thom. The purpose of the Aqueduct was to carry water from the Great Reservoir, now named after him, to Greenock. It provided water for the town and power for a paper mill, power looms, a sugar refinery, and a bakery.
The excavation took a year to complete and included a reservoir where the water was stored to regulate the flow. The water powered 19 water wheels, the largest of which was 70ft in diameter with 160 buckets, each bucket contained 100 gallons of water. It produced 200 horse power.
|Where to stay:
||Greenock is not a tourist town so B&Bs are mostly absent.
|Where to eat & drink:
||Plenty of pubs in Greenock but they are not frequented by cyclists. There is a good greasy-spoon type cafe next to the public library in the town centre.
The Cornalees Bridge Centre near Loch Thom has a tea & coffee machine
and the warden sells chocolate biscuits.
||Bike shop in Greenock: John Philips (01475-726322).
||No Further Information Available
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