Area focus: Go forth to the firth

Sarah Devine follows the route of the Scottish Series regatta, checking out Largs, Inverkip and Greenock

Greenock. Pictures: VisitScotland/Shutterstock

Clyde Cruising Club’s annual Scottish Series regatta will be returning this weekend, 28-31 May, after last year’s event was cancelled due to Covid-19.

This year’s regatta is moving from its traditional Loch Fyne location to several breathtaking spots along the east side of the Firth of Clyde.

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The easing of travel restrictions means participants from most of the country can attend the racing-only event, which provides the perfect excuse to explore all that this stretch of the Clyde has to offer.

The races will begin at Largs, Inverkip and close to Greenock.

Largs, North Ayrshire, is a picture-perfect coastal town with a rich history, having been the site of the 1263 Battle of Largs between the Norse and Scots, and is now a haven for yacht enthusiasts.

Its vibrant town centre is just 32 miles west of Glasgow with ample transport provision, including a train station.

Opened in 1885, the terminus vastly grew the local economy, mostly centred on fishing and weaving, and led to wealthy merchants building grand mansions in the town.

Many of these impressive houses have since been developed into modern dwellings, including the 19th-century Halkshill House on Waterside Street and the B-listed Danefield House on Greenock Road.

The current average value of a property in Largs stands at £192,300, according to Zoopla.

Popular addresses include Brisbane Street, named after Sir Thomas Brisbane who was born in Largs and helped found the Australian city bearing his name. It features traditional red sandstone Edwardian villas with an average value of £168,695.

Gogo Street boasts impressive yellow sandstone villas with riverside views, most of which have been split into apartments, while the last dozen houses on Greenock Road – known locally as the 12 Apostles – are highly desirable due to their uninterrupted views across the Firth of Clyde towards Great Cumbrae island.

Less than 20 minutes north, on the edge of Ardgowan Estate, lies Inverkip, which dates back to the 1100s when monks from Paisley Abbey built Inverkip Church.

The village’s history features smuggling, farming and witches, but its sandy beach is now a predominant draw for those seeking to relax.

Kip Marina, established in 1971, was the first of its kind in Scotland and is surrounded by the village.At Harbourside, a waterside neighbourhood of modern townhouses, detached homes and shops, average property prices are £246,600, according to Rightmove.

Inverkip is ideally placed for hillwalking and watersports, with residential estates comprising detached and semi-detached houses formed around its centre, including Findhorn Road and Swallow Brae.

The nearest secondary school is Inverclyde Academy, less than four miles away, while St Columba’s High School is the Catholic option five miles north.

Greenock is the most northerly – and largest – destination on the regatta route, with a population of more than 14,000.

Once a fishing town, the creation of its pier helped Greenock, the birthplace of renowned engineer James Watt, become the shipbuilding capital of the world for a century.

Shipbuilders and investors built large villas in the town’s desirable West End and along its Esplanade, where properties benefiting from views of the Rosneath Peninsula sold for an average of £475,000 in the last 12 months.

Located 25 miles from Glasgow, Greenock is suitably positioned for commuters and it has a train station as well as regular buses.

Secondary schools in Greenock are Inverclyde Academy, Clydeview Academy, Notre Dame High School and St Columba’s High School in Gourock.

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