139. Largs to Greenock

I wake up this morning to a World shrouded in fog! From my room on the waterfront at Greenock I can barely see the railings let alone across the River Clyde to Helensburgh. Today I am leaving my car at the hotel and getting the bus to Largs. I think I know the way to the bus station but have to ask twice, as I end up cutting it short to catch the 8:45. I make it with a few minutes to spare. As we pass through Gourock and Wemyss Bay I can  see that the sun is trying see through the rapidly disappearing fog. Miraculously disappearing altogether when I get off the bus in Largs. The weather is just like yesterday, totally blue skies and a gentle breeze.

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Nardini’s Art Deco Cafe Largs
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Looking south over Routenburn Golf Course
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Looking across to Bute and Rothesay

As I prepare to start walking I had made decision to visit the renowned Art Deco establishment of Nardinni’s, the famed Italian Cafe and ice-cream maker. I order a double scoop of Rum&Raisin, its delicious! Close to the edge of town I decide that I will take the slightly higher route as there is 3.5 miles of road walking, without verges or footpaths on the busy A78. As I climb above Routenburn Golf Club I am rewarded with fantastic views across the Firth of Clyde. I can look south back to yesterdays walk past Hunterston, across to Great Cumbrae Island, the high hills of Arran which had now shed their early morning cloud and across to Bute the almost continuous procession of ferries toing-and-froing to Rothesay and back. The lane I am on is very quiet and it is a real pleasure to walk here. I realise that it is quite chilly out of the sun, so when I get into some extended tree cover I am forced to put my fleece back on. The lane descends to Meigle and I rejoin the A78.

From this point I have a footpath alongside the main road. However, the ACP disappears back up a side road, but I stay on the main road with it’s footpath hugging the shoreline. The road is very busy with Sunday traffic. I enter Skelmorlie and finally say goodbye to both the re-emerged Ayrshire Coastal Path (ACP) and North Ayrshire. The ACP on the whole has been a good friend for the last 100 miles. It only seems like yesterday since I picked it up in Glenapp. As I enter Wemyss Bay, I also enter the local administrative  district of Inverclyde.

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Preparing to set out for Rothesay

I pass the ferry terminal with the CalMac boat “Bute” about to set sail for Rothesay. Close to the ferry terminal is the charming rail station of Wemyss Bay and the terminus for this particular line to Glasgow.

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Wemyss Bay Ferry / Rail station

I continue along the ever busy A78 towards Inverkip, but turn left at Kip Marina to enter the Ardgowan Estate which proclaims it  welcomes walkers. I see the first of two signs indicating the Clyde Coastal Path. The Clyde Coastal Path(CCP) was another path derived by the local rotary club, but has yet, still requires a substantial amount of signage to be put in place. The walk around the Ardgowan Estate was  a very popular walk along the shoreline, to emerge back on the A78 at picnic site.

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The Cloch Lighthouse
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Heading east towards Greenock along the River Clyde

I walk along the A78 further and come to the Cloch Lighthouse, which is a late 18th century lighthouse surprisingly not built by one of the Stevensons! The lighthouse is still in use today. I am heading further along the A78 towards McInorys Point from where the almost constant ferries shuttle back and forth between Hunters Quay (nr Dunoon). I am now walking along a promenade which is very busy with other walkers enjoying this autumnal sunshine. I arrive at the Gourock ferry terminal, but can see little activity there. Here I miss a sign for the cycle way (no.73) and head down the main street until I see a footbridge which takes me over he railway to rejoin the cycle way. The vista out towards the Firth of Clyde is complex, but I feel I can now recognise the towns and lochs I will be walking along in the coming months.

I am starting to feel the fatigue begin setting in as I reach the outskirts of Greenock, as with Gourock, Greenock is a very long strung out town.  I have just passed over the recently built Battery Park which is full of people enjoying the sun on this Sunday afternoon. I continue down a further promenade, called he Esplanade before  diverting around the Clydeport freight terminal. I finish at the old Custom House where my hotel is.

Another thoroughly enjoyable day walking amidst some beautiful and stunning scenery.

NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewforum&f=8

Distance today =  20 miles
Total distance =   2288 miles

 

 

 

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