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)