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Shielhill Glen Cave

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Shielhill Glen Cave, 2007
Shielhill Glen Cave 2007

Within Shielhill Glen lies a modified cave, near the burn which runs from Inverkip to Cornalees Bridge, by Loch Thom.

Shielhill Glen lies to the west of Cornalees Bridge, a visitor centre to the west of Loch Thom at the end of the Greenock Cut, an aqueduct just under five miles long, built by engineer Robert Thom between 1825 and 1827, to channel water to the loch from the reservoirs on the hills above Greenock.

The cave was made habitable during the 1930s, by unemployed men from Greenock who built a wall across the entrance, complete with door and windows. Partially demolished during the 1970s, some of the additional structure still remained visible in 2007.

The cave became worthy of note after featuring as a location in the 1976 Play for Today episode "Elephants' Graveyard", starring Billy Connolly. Ironically, Connolly played a character who had been made redundant but kept the fact from his wife, electing instead to wander the hills above Greenock during working hours.

Elephants' Graveyard

Play for Today, Episode Number: 144, Season No: 7, First Aired: Tuesday, October 12, 1976.

Writer: Pete McDougall. Guest stars: Jon Morrison (Bunny), Billy Connolly (Jody). Jon Morrison, supposedly gainfully employed as far as his family are concerned, instead takes off to the Scottish hillsides every day, and eventually meets Billy Connolly, who has been pulling the exact same trick. They hang around together for a day, talking their way through their mutual alienation from the world of employment. A long time friend of McDougall, Connolly got his first lead role on recommendation of the author.

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