A8/Old Greenock Road
|Old Greenock Road|
|To:||Port Glasgow (NS326743)|
The Old Greenock Road is a historic route, predating the classification and numbering of the roads in 1922, but which nevertheless remained an important road west from Renfrew to Greenock. It was probably replaced by the current line taken by the A8 at some point in the nineteenth century, the modern road taking a generally flatter route, although the old road is far from hilly. Indeed, at the eastern end the new road is longer and less direct than the older route.
We start, then, at Inchinnan, less than a mile west of Inchinnan Bridge and the ancient Royal Burgh of Renfrew. The junction today is signalised, and serves the new suburban area of Inchinnan, part of the Erskine new town. Conveniently retaining the name Old Greenock Road at first, the old road is the main road serving this part of the new town, and is a cul-de-sac, with just a bus gate connecting through to the rest of the town. The next section of the route is called Parkway, and partially dualled leading up to Southholm Roundabout with the A726.
Beyond the roundabout, Old Greenock Road continues ahead as a modern, wide suburban distributor route serving more of the Erskine new town. This part of the route has been substantially upgraded, and slightly realigned at the Linburn junction, before crossing the M898. Beyond the motorway bridge, the old road soon forks left, and gives a much better feel for the road of old, being narrower and lined with wide verges. This is a dead end, the road realigned to give an easier crossing to the M8 which lies alongside to the left.
The old road kinked slightly where the M8 now lies, allowing the new section of road to tie in neatly with Old Greenock Road as it runs west into Bishopton. Here it crosses the B815 Erskine Ferry Road at a crossroads, and finally rejoins the modern A8 just west of the town centre. This, however, is not the end, as a highly skewed crossroads sees the Old Greenock Road continue ahead. Now closed up to traffic, due to the new Dargavel development, the road continues in a straight line, undulating slightly, to the front gates of Ingliston House. A slight kink to the right sees the old road curve round the edge of the grounds, never far from the modern road lying a little further down the hillside. This section offers spectacular views across the Clyde estuary, although is perhaps a little exposed in stormy weather!
The old road then climbs away from the modern A8, past High Hatton, before the road curves sharply round to the right to avoid a low hill. A path or track keeps a straighter route over the north shoulder of the hill, while the road curves round to meet the B789 and cross to the south. It is conceivable that either of these routes is the original line. As the B789 kinks right to drop down the hill into Langbank, the Old Greenock Road continues ahead, almost in a straight line with the road to the east of the hill. It continues to climb, past Gleddoch House, to a summit near Undercraig, before dropping a little to a T junction.
Turning right at the junction, the route drops sharply downhill, round a bend through Damhead Plantation. It then straightens up and climbs again as it passes above the estate of Finlayston House. After a couple of slight kinks, it reaches the edge of Port Glasgow. Although the road is generally wide enough for a white line, it gains a pavement, and becomes slightly wider as it enters the urban area. It also changes name, becoming first Parkhill Avenue then High Carnegie Road as it runs along the hillside. At the end, it turns sharp left to meet the A761, although the line of the old road is obvious ahead before the junction was realigned.
The last section of the Old Greenock Road, then drops quite steeply down Clune Brae as the A761. The roundabout with Glasgow Road just before the railway roughly marks the point where the new road rejoined the old for the last few miles west to Greenock. However, the original junction was somewhere under Lidls car park, and the older railway bridge can still be seen alongside the new one, helping to identify the old line a little easier. However, in the past the area here seems to have been narrow streets, with the A761 zig-zagging a little to meet the A8.