This area is littered with lochs and reservoirs and the main attraction for walkers has to be the Greenock Cut walk, which is a roughly seven-mile, circular walk following a good length of the old Greenock Cut aqueduct that used to used to supply water from Loch Thom to Greenock. The aqueduct, built around 1825, was designated an Ancient Monument in 1972 but sadly, little seems to have been done to maintain or restore it and it looks more like an old ditch now. That's a real pity as the scenery and views around the area are pretty good and well worth taking in.
However, seven miles was a bit more than we fancied walking so we wandered up past the Compensation Reservoir to Loch Thom cottage and then walked along the rim of the loch for a ways and returned back down to the Centre. There were quite a few anglers out on the little Compensation Reservoir but we didn't see anyone catch anything.
Then we walked out along the Kelly Cut and down Shielhill Glen. The Kelly Cut is another 19th century aqueduct but this time one supplying water into Loch Thom. Shielhill Glen is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest as it's the best example of mixed deciduous woodland in Inverclyde, with Oak, Ash and Wych Elm dominant in the lower section grading into Silver Birch and Rowan in the upper section. This walk is circular again and less than two miles long but there's a fair drop and rise in altitude involved.
The path follows the Kelly Cut out over the moorland for quite a way until you come across a wooden boardwalk leading steeply down into the glen and towards the Kip Water. However, we kept on going along the cut for a while as we were a bit nosy and wanted to see where it came from. There are some very good views out over the Firth of Clyde from here and after wandering for a while and not really seeing where it was leading, we gave up and returned to the designated route.
The boardwalk drops down into the glen very steeply and there only really room for one person a time on it so passing others as they come the other way is interesting, especially as no-one wants to step off into the boggy ground surrounding it. We passed a few groups along the way but the maddest had to be the ones with buggies and toddlers, as they had to negotiate the path steps up a fairly long way.
Once down by the stream, the path returns up to Cornalees Bridge between the Kip Water and Greenock cut and it's quite a pleasant stroll up along the riverbank. That was enough for the day though and we headed home after a hot cup of tea and a bun at the café.