An interesting day out, some steep hills, good views, about 50% off-road.
In its day the Greenock Cut was considered a visionary wonder working scheme.
The engineer who planned and built The Cut was Robert Thom. The purpose of the Aqueduct was to carry water from the Great Reservoir, now named after him, to Greenock. It would provide water for the town and power for a paper mill, power looms, a sugar refinery, and a bakery. The excavation took twelve months to complete and included a compensation reservoir where the water was stored to regulate the flow. The water powered 19 water wheels, the largest of which was 70ft in diameter with 160 buckets, each bucket contained 100 gallons of water, it produced 200 horse power.
The power unit most commonly quoted nowadays in connection with Greenock industry is the megabyte, Greenock being the home of IBM's PC manufacturing plant. Prior to this Greenock produced ocean liners and dreadnought battleships.
Today the Cut is an interesting example of the early industrial revolution. Water still flows in The Cut, but nobody is drinking it nowadays. Water flowed from Loch Thom to Greenock in a clockwise direction.
This is an interesting day out on a bike. There are excellent views over the Firth of Clyde towards Helensburgh, Cowal and the Kyles of Bute and lots of minor roads and tracks to explore. There will be few cars. The Greenock Cut is a sort of mini-canal. There's a path beside it which can be cycled, although this requires care as the path is fairly narrow and there is the occasional gate to manoeuvre your bike through, the rest of the tracks are straightforward. Once you've finished the Greenock Cut you can do the Kelly Cut, or explore miles of tracks and minor roads around the various reservoirs. Reaching The Cut is easiest by taking the (1/2 hour) train from Glasgow Central to Whinhill (trains take bikes). At Whinhill station head towards the Overton dam (approx 400 metres away) which is the eastern end of the Cut and from here follow the Cut west in an anti-clockwise direction.
Biking round anticlockwise will be slightly slower as it's a gentle uphill.