Sunday, 14 February 2016

Damage to the Greeto Falls walk and beauty spot near Largs

In anticipation of a meeting happening on Tuesday 16th February at Largs Library, to discuss the new Halkshill Commercial Forestry Project happening in the hills behind Largs, my wife, youngest son and I all took a walk up to the Greeto Falls today. This aims to create a new forestry enterprise in the vicinity, with over a million trees and two hydro schemes to create power, although any community benefit to Largs has as yet to be defined.

As a part of this project we had heard that one of our favourite spots in behind the town had been damaged, and so wanted to see this for ourselves prior to the meeting, having only had a glimpse of a couple of pictures. I've documented what we found to better inform anyone who may wish to come to the meeting.

Having walked up Bellesdale Avenue, we noted the details of the construction company on the gate that covers the gate of the track leading up to the hillside walk to the Greeto Falls.

No sooner had we arrived at the top of this short, steep bit of track than we then came to our first surprise - the track we normally walk up is now blocked off, with signs telling pedestrians to divert to an alternative track up the hill.

A gate has been pulled down for folk to cross over, and there is then a smaller gate, which still has a thick wire strewn across it, which I narrowly missed, thanks to my wife warning me as I approached it. This is actually quite dangerous, and could easily catch someone across the neck if not paying attention.

We then walked up the hill partway, but there is no trackway identified for walkers to climb up. We quickly realised we had actually overshot the track we had seen on our way up the hill, so soon found our way back. This took us through another gateway, with yet again, two wires across the gap waiting to garrote somebody.

With the track suddenly veering off to the top of the hill - not where we wanted to go - we decided to cut back down onto the original track that we usually walk up to get to the Greeto Falls. The track is now gone - it has been dug up to create an access road for heavy plant vehicles.

With the weather as good as it was, there were several other folk taking a look for themselves. One of them had warned us that there was a 'Dalek' up ahead waiting to shout at us - we carried on and soon came across it...

I was easily able to understand its warnings, because it had the same friendly Northern Irish tones that I was used to hearing when growing up back in Norn Iron! After sounding a red alert klaxon straight out of a Star Trek film, it then informed me that the police and others were coming to get me...

It soon transpired that the police and others weren't in fact coming to get me, or anyone else that it was shouting at, so we carried on a bit further. The entire track to the Greeto Falls is now a dirt track, a very muddy one at present due to recent weather, and a large scar now following the hills towards our eventual goal.

And then we reached the Greeto Falls - only to have our hearts broken...


Thankfully they have yet to destroy the view in the other direction...

The meeting takes place at Largs Library on Tuesday at 7pm. This all happened over the winter when fewer folk were up the hills; how it happened, why it happened, what the community benefit will be, how it will be repaired and landscaped after the creation of the hydro scheme on Greeto Water, and indeed, if it will be repaired or landscaped, and when, is something I hope we'll hear some serious answers about on Tuesday.

UPDATE: Douglas Blair from the Community Council has indicated the following:

"...the drop in session regarding the proposed Commercial Forest Project will take place tomorrow beginning at 7pm in Largs Library led by Patricia Perman Environment Chair of Largs Community Council. It is one means by which we can discuss with you the pros and cons of the proposal as we understand it and at least we will be better prepared once the Public Consultaion and the EIA is issued. I know that there has been much conversation over the works at the hydro scheme but issues surrounding this will be discussed at our community council meeting under planning. Our monthly meeting takes place this Thursday at 7pm, Largs Library."

(With thanks to Douglas Blair)



  1. Chris, Good descriptor. Now visit the turbine area at the Gogo!

  2. Chris well done for exposing this its shocking you did a good job and as you say is Largs going to benefit or is it as usual for the benifit of the three towns and Irvine

  3. Thanks for this, Chris . . . though it is simply dreadful.
    I unfortunately wasn't able to attend the meeting, so it would be helpful to know just what you did learn about the plans for repairing and landscaping, and particularly of the reinstatement of the Greeto Falls themselves.

  4. To be honest, not a lot. One of the construction firm reps who was there described the above blog post as being 'inflammatory' for using the word damaged, maintaining that he was a 'responsible developer' and that all would be restored upon completion. However, I think he was referring solely to the hydro works, and not the road that has now been put in up the glen alongside the Gogo, which looks like it will be kept there for the forthcoming forestry project. The road from the A760 that has also been put in was commented on because permission has as yet to be granted for the forestry project, so questions were raised as to whether this was a breach of any planning permissions. There's a bit more on the meeting in the wee paper at

  5. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for recording this.

    I feel guilt I just didn’t have the energy to fight to save this hidden beauty spot.

    I have had a long connection with Largs and Greeto Falls has been my favourite walk. I first went to this hidden treasure as a child with my parents and then took my own children. It is with great sorrow that I will not be able to share this natural gem with my grandchildren.

    I took a set of pictures on my last visit in September 2015 in order to save some precious memories and have put them on ‘One Drive’

    Very Sad :-(

  6. arthurrodman@aol.com28 September 2016 at 15:03

    Hi Chris, I enjoyed your recounting of the journey up to the old falls. Life is certainly not the same when construction comes to town. I made the same journey today in blinding rain unaware of what was to come. The track is for sure in a state of disarray but the track was originally formed as part of the drover's trail over to KIlbirnie,part of Man's first steps toward commercial enterprise, and I doubt Largs would have progressed much without links to the outside world. The dam will provide much enjoyment for tomorrow's youth just as the Mill Dam in Ardrossan has done and if our youth are to be powered by renewable energy then Hydro Schemes have to go somewhere.
    My beloved landscape and training hill Goldenberry looks down in to Hunterston with it's Power Stations, ore yards and now massive Converter Station. They bring jobs and prosperity to an economic backwater and do not halt the enjoyment of my run. Indeed, looking back from the face of Kaim hill to the East they are but little tots playing in the landscape while the world with its wonderful seascapes and sunsets can still be marvelled at without detriment, in my opinion of course.
    Some years ago when they started the construction of a mobile phone tower on the summit of Goldenberry I was deeply angry that my permanent view was to be forever blighted by this tangle of space frame, cable and repeater aerials. Angry until the realisation that the phone in my pocket was supported by thousands of these masts already in place, some more than likely in even more scenic locations than Goldenberry. Never had I once lent my voice in objection to these and so I parked my anger and carried on using my phone.
    Who of today's youth would hand in their Digital Cortex live links via Facebook et al for a blemish free Goldenberry?
    The future is theirs with Medical Research smoothing the way and the Planet quietly getting on with its travel through space. My quarrel is not with construction because the landscape will lay its hand on it when the earth movers have gone and quietly calm it with green and brown till the rain ages it all to resemble what went before. My quarrel is with the profit from it. Stakis have money and that money will generate more money from a natural resource, our shared resource. Yes Tax dollars will flow from their income but their wealth will increase to be distributed and retained among those who have the money to invest in their endeavours in the first place.
    My answer would be to allow them to recover all of their investment capital without any taxation on their income and then the Hydro Scheme would shift into joint ownership partly with the local community, by way of Shetland's thinking, and partly in to Central Government hands. Stakis would have an income stream backed by a common renewable resource and Central Government would have an income stream generated by Market Capital with zero up front cost. Largs? Perhaps the Common Good fund could finally give up the fight for the income from the sea front car park and build a few more of those giant fibre glass Vikings who missed the last boat home.....

    Best regards and again my thanks for your article which I read on my return today, completely soaked, but with the happiest dog in the world Lucy. She, completely unaware that constuction mud is anything but heaven sent. arthur