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Location Map ( geo)
A78 and Inverkip - Geograph - 5672495.jpg
The A78 leading south from Bankfoot Roundabout to Inverkip
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Highway Authority
Transport Scotland Roads
Places related to the A78
Greenock • Irvine • Ayr • Largs • Ardrossan • Wemyss Bay

Inverkip is a village on the south coast of the Firth of Clyde, between Wemyss Bay to the south and Greenock and Gourock to the north. It was established by the monks of Paisley Abbey in 1170. The monks built a church there in 1188 and this became the main place of worship for Christians between Kilmacolm and Largs for the next 400 years.

By the 13th century, a castle had been built at what is now Ardgowan House. This early castle changed hands between the Scots and the English during the Wars of Independence. Robert The Bruce fought here for both sides during this period. The land was acquired by the Stewarts in 1390 and they built the existing castle during the 15th century. Contained in the gardens of Ardgowan House and away from the public eye, it consists of a three-storey square keep with a garret. The castle was abandoned as a residence when Ardgowan House was built by the Shaw-Stewarts in 1799–1801. Following construction of Ardgowan House, the first proper road to Greenock was constructed by Sir John Shaw Stewart and opened in 1803.

The village was a hotbed of witchcraft activity for half a century from 1640 to 1690. The Ministers of the parish at the time, the Rev John Hamilton (1626 to 1664) and Rev Alexander Leslie (1665 to 1684) were noted as being ‘zealous persecutors of witches’. A Royal Enquiry into the Inverkip witch hunts, which have been compared to those at Salem, was led by Archibald Stewart of Blackhall.

During the late 18th century and early 19th century, the village was noted for smuggling activities involving the illicit transfer of alcohol, tea and tobacco from vessels heading up the Firth of Clyde to the ports of Greenock and Port Glasgow.

In more recent times, from the late 1960s, the village was noted for two main features, one being the now demolished oil fired Inverkip Power Station and the other being the still thriving Kip marina.

The population of the village has doubled since the mid 1980s and now numbers around 3500 (2021). New housing estates have sprung up all over the hill side and a planning application to build 'Brueacre urban village' on the site of the power station was made to Inverclyde Council in February 2021. This will result in at least one new access point being created from the A78 and modification of the A78 junction at the north end of Main Street, which was the old line of the A78.

The north end of the A78 Inverkip 'bypass'

The main road in the village is the A78 which was re-routed parallel to the old line around the same time as the power station and marina in the early 1970s. At that time it was referred to as The Inverkip Bypass. but the major housing development at Kip marina Village in the early 2000s means that the 'bypass' now bisects the village.

Land to enable construction of a dual carriageway was cleared along the length of the bypass from Bridgend in the north to the Wemyss Bay boundary in the south. The flyover at Brueacre, built to serve the power station, is a dual carriageway, but only the east side of it has ever been used. Local myth has it that a single house owner refused to sell, thereby scuppering the planned dual carriageway (the house still stands today).

Main Street, the old line of the A78 through Inverkip

The old line of the A78 is very much still in use for most of its length through the village. At the north boundary of the village at Bridgend Cottages, the sharp eyed might notice the old bridge on the east side of the road, parallel and close to the early 1970s bridge over Kip Water. This bridge and the stretch of road in front of the cottages are the old line of the A78. Slightly to the south, the retail and leisure development at Kip Park has breathed a new lease of life into the stub to the north of Main Street, while Main Street retains most of its early period charm all the way to the south end of the village proper. On the opposite side of the A78 at this point, the village war memorial stands in a lay-by which was formed in a kink in the old line. This area, known locally as 'The Point', is a popular stopping point as it has toilets and picnic benches.

The Railway reached inverkip in 1865 and a station was opened there two years later. Inverkip railway station is the penultimate station on the single track Wemyss Bay branch of the Inverclyde Line from Glasgow Central.


Route To Notes


Largs, Ardrossan, Irvine


Greenock, Glasgow (M8) was A742 north of Inverkip


Gourock was A78, starts at Inverkip


NCN753 • A78 • A742 • A770 • C48 (Inverclyde)
Related Pictures
View gallery (5)
A78 and Inverkip - Geograph - 5672495.jpgThis way to Inverkip - Geograph - 2604462.jpgMain Street Inverkip - Geograph - 491814.jpgMain Road Inverkip - Geograph - 4958868.jpgMain Street, Inverkip - Geograph - 5090464.jpg
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