A PROJECT to open up an historic Greenock glen has been given a big boost with a £20,000 grant for a new bridge.

The programme aims to make Auchmountain Glen an attractive and safe place to visit once again - and equip local unemployed men with skills.

The initiative was set up in 2011 and has steadily transformed the overgrown glen.

Frank McGinty is the vice-chair and runs the work programme.

He said: "Since we started we've removed 25 tonnes of rubbish.

"There were washing machines and cookers dumped there, all sorts.

"We've cleared all the overgrown trees and bushes away from the paths and handrails.

"We recently rebuilt some stairs and erected a handrail.

"It's been a transformation - you couldn't even see the glen before then as it was so overgrown."

Frank has six men working with him on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The 63-year-old said: "We source our own materials and the boys have been learning new skills such as cementing.

"Our oldest volunteer is 88 and is still going strong.

"We've had a feasibility study carried out and the next step is to apply for funding to the Big Lottery to extend the project.

"The council have agreed to build a £20,000 metal bridge at the top of the glen, which is good news for us.

"It will open the glen right up and means people can walk through up to the golf course.

The group has also received funding to pay for hall hire, so they can meet in nearby Aberfoyle Road, and secured a container to store tools from River Clyde Homes.

Volunteer Marc McBride, 33, said: "I enjoy working here, you learn a new skill every time.

"We've been learning cementing and hopefully we'll be able to get a job out of it."

His friend Chris Walker, 38, added: "It's a great thing to work on and gets you out the house."

A spokesperson for Inverclyde Council said: “The council has had a feasibility study done which details all of the work needed to revitalise Auchmountain Glen and bring it back into use as a walking route that can be enjoyed by the local community, and as a visitor attraction in its own right.

“There are seven footbridges in the glen.

"The bridge at the top is in the worst condition and has been closed.

"It needs to be replaced before the glen can reopen.

"There are some technical challenges that need to be overcome in terms of getting the building materials up to the construction site and we are currently examining the best way of achieving this.”


Pic shows Frank, Marc McBride, Charlie McCallum and Chris Walker.