Start/Finish: Greenock Cut Visitor Centre
OS Map: Landranger 63
Grid Reference: NS 227 738
Distance: 5km, 3 miles
Time: 1.5 hours
Route Overview: A short steep grassy climb or decent for hilltop vistas over the Firth of Clyde. Route uses old reservoir gravel tracks over open moorland. Potentially boggy in places!
Easter picnics were a staple in the Simpson household when I was growing up. Each year we’d be given our boiled eggs to decorate in the morning then be wrapped up in our hat and scarves (standard Scotland in spring attire) and frog marched up to a precipice on the Campsie Fells – clinging on to boulders to avoid being blown off the side of the hill – to roll said eggs back down. And, I bloomin’ LOVED it. It was great fun! My partner is from the south of England. Picnics down there are pretty Enid Blyton-esque affairs. She was not ready for the endurance test of picnicking in Scotland at Easter and has never really got into the swing of this tradition, preferring sandwiches being consumed by burbling brooks under endless blue skies at temperatures that won’t give you frostbite. I can’t think why. Anyway, if you are looking for a good hill to climb with the sprogs armed with eggs this month, give this one a go.
The Route: Start at the top left corner of Clyde Muirshiel visitor car park and go over the stile; follow the informal trail up the hill. There is the option to go straight up or follow the zig zag trail to the right. At the top of the slope turn right to reach the summit cairn of ‘Hillside Hill’ (297m). From this carin head ‘west’ to the gate in the fence line before heading up to the trig point of ‘Dunrod Hill’ (298m). Now a Site of Special Scientific Interest at it is part of the Clyde Plateau Lavas*. From the trig point head north east downhill to the metal field gate to join a wee path, then jump the burn to follow the reservoir track. At the junction, go straight on to the telephone mast at Scroggy Bank. Keep the mast on your left. At the lay-by there are great views of all the big named reservoirs in the area. Follow the track downhill, taking a sharp right onto the loose gravel of the ‘Overton Track’. Loch Thom will be on your left and the Visitor Centre straight ahead. Enjoy!
*Special Scientific Interest
Dunrod Hill is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is nationally important because it contains outcrops of volcanic rocks that belong to a sequence of lavas. A volcano erupted during the early part of the Carboniferous Period, about 340 million years and the lava rock remains. These are known as the Clyde Plateau Lavas.