Walk 173 – Four Waters to Corlic Hill – 9.7 miles

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This route is a combination of the Loch Thom Circular and the Corlic Hill walk, taking you past four of the reservoirs within Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. It boasts a varied and very scenic 10 miles of rough trails, single track roads, grassy footpaths, and forestry trails and of course the added bonus of a hill (303 m / 994 ft). On a clear day you will be rewarded with the most spectacular views across the Clyde to the Cowal Peninsula and the Southern Highlands. 

  Car parking available at Greenock Cut Visitor Centre (PA16 9LX). No public transport to start point.

route image Route: From the Greenock Cut Visitor Centre head NE to pass the cafe and follow the road alongside the Compensation Reservoir then uphill to the head of Loch Thom. Just when the road starts to leave the loch behind, look out for a gravel footpath on your right (signposted Old Largs Road) which heads downhill to the lochside. After passing through a gate you will emerge onto a minor road, briefly heading away from Loch Thom to meet up with Old Largs Road. Turn left here and walk along Old Largs Road for 0.4 miles. Follow the trail on the right towards Corlic Hill as indicated by the way-marker. At the mast keep right. Corlic Hill soon comes into view. After passing a single tree and dry stone wall on the right of the path, cross a stile and follow a grassy path up to the summit of Corlic Hill. Descend via the same route back to the wall and tree. Look out for a gate on your left which you should go through and head towards an obvious cluster of trees on the left where you will find the ruined farmstead of Burnhead. From here head south, picking up a track heading downhill, eventually arriving at the larger Glenbrae ruin, again hidden amongst a cluster of trees. You will find a gate to the east of the ruins which you should pass through. Head across the field in a SE direction to another gate. Turn right after the gate to walk along a raised embankment and onto a  path between the two reservoirs. Turn right onto a forestry road. At the end of the track turn right again and you will eventually emerge onto Old Largs Road. Follow this road all the way down the eastern side of the loch. Shortly after passing the ruins of Garvock Farm (NB this was used as a film set in the TV series ‘Shetland’!) turn right to cross the bridge and continue along the road to reach the Visitor Centre. 

4 Waters to Corlic Hill

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I was honored to have been asked to lead a walk at the first ever Clyde Muirshiel Walking Festival but a little hesitant at first due to a feeling that I didn’t know the area well enough. I had done the Greenock Cut many times and the nearby Nature Trail, but at the point of being asked I was out on my first guided walk with the Rangers to discover other parts of the park (Corlic Hill) and the only walks I had led since training as a Walk Leader were 1 hour health walks in my home town. In true Gillian style, I politely declined and offered to help out next year instead…. Chatting with my friend on the journey home that day she made me realise that I was being silly and what a great opportunity this would be for me so I hastily emailed Ranger Mike as soon as I got home to ask if the offer was still open.  It was :-)

I had no idea what route I was going to lead until attending another Ranger-led walk at Clyde Muirshiel (Loch Thom Bimble). I had spent a while pouring over OS Maps and Viewranger to possibly find something in the North Ayrshire end of the park closer to home, but I really didn’t have any experience of walking in that area. Suddenly I wondered… Why don’t I combine the Corlic Hill and Loch Thom walks to form a longer, 10 mile loop? Having recently walked them and blogged about them, these routes would be fresh in my head and it would give me the opportunity to show them to other people. Decision made!

With a max of 12 places available, my walk filled up quickly thanks to the power of social media and publicity coming from both Clyde Muirshiel and Gillian’s Walks. My friend Eve agreed to be my Assistant Walk Leader, a recce was completed (in not so nice weather!) and we eagerly awaited the arrival of Saturday 26th May.

The weather forecast is always on your mind for events like this. I mean, it can literally be the difference between a successful, well-attended festival and a complete time-wasting flop. What we got was the absolute best weekend of the year so far: someone up there must be looking over me. The feedback has been very positive (mostly ;-) ) and it was a true honour to play a part in the first ever walking festival to be held there. Here are a couple of group photos from the day….

All fresh-faced at the start – Loch Thom in the background
Summit of Corlic Hill. It was amazing to be able to sit and have lunch here in the sunshine looking down onto Gryfe 1 and Gryfe 2 reservoirs! Hard to believe when I came to do the recce it was so windy I had to hold onto the trig point!! 

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