Friday, 2 February 2018

A temple on a hill: Kenmuir Hill plus Law Hill

1 February 2018

Participants: Neil and Ben
Where: Kenmuir Hill, 77m/253', P35, Tump, OS 63, NS 387 606 and Law Hill, 85m/279', P33, Tump, OS 63, NS 385 666
 
I had often wondered, when driving along the A737 to the coast, what the octagonal shaped tower was on the top of the hill just before Lochwinnoch. I found out that the hill, Kenmuir Hill, was a Tump so there was an extra incentive to go and have a look.
 
It was a beautiful sunny day so I decided to take the long route and walk along the old railway track, now a walking and cycling route, from Castle Semple visitor centre. The loch here is very pleasant, this is a photo of it from near the visitor centre with the tower away in the distance.....
 
 
Ben on the track....
 
 
This area used to be Clan Semple land.  Castle Semple house has now gone but the ruins of the Collegiate Church can still be visited, just off the track. We walked about 2 miles before the tower came into view......
 
 
Unfortunately, a herd of sheep also came into view, grazing peacefully around the tower and I decided that rather than be dragged around the hill by an excited spaniel, I would put plan B into action, an approach from the Howwood side. It was a shorter walk from there and Ben could stay in the car. So we retraced our steps to the visitor centre, had a look around, wandered along the shore for a bit and then set off for Howwood, where there was a parking area beside the bridge over the river. I cut up across a couple of very wet fields to the east top of Kenmuir Hill which was also the highest point of the hill. There was a fine view from here towards Glasgow with the snow covered Campsie Fells beyond.....
 
 
The tower was only a short step from here.....
 
 
Apparently the tower, built around 1760, served no useful purpose. It was built as a landscape feature for people to see- a folly. It is referred to as Semple temple although there is no indication that it ever had anything to do with religion. Still, an interesting shape and building although most of the inside features and the roof are now gone.....
 


As I expected, there was a fine view down Castle Semple loch.....
 
 
Rather than face the late afternoon traffic congestion on the Kingston bridge, I headed for the Erskine bridge, going via Kilbarchan and Bridge of Weir. The Council must have run out of money, the potholes hereabouts were the worst that I have seen. There was of course an ulterior motive in going this way; there was another Tump, Law Hill, just outside Bridge of Weir which I could bag on the way. It turned out to be a short walk through pleasant woodland, with a reasonable view towards the city from the adjacent field.....
 


Another pleasant and interesting day trip.