Sunday, November 29, 2009

Church to Dysart Sunday 29th November 2009

Of a' the airts the winds can blaw, we got the full blast of them today. We started at the kirk, walking down Salisbury Street, Townsend Crescent, Townsend Place and Coal Wynd before we reached the Harbour end of the town. Rona, leading today's walk took us past the Harbour and Hutchison's flour mills and on to, I mean right onto, the beach. Bracing it was, and a few of us were almost caught out when a wave came further in than expected and had us squealing and clambering onto some wee rocks for safety. We followed the pathway under Ravenscraig Castle and some remembered the area from childhood when there was a beautiful beach there and they used to pick a spot by the big wall to sunbathe on their beach towels. Alas, there is no attractive beach there any longer, but still a nice walk with great views across the Forth and even along the coastline. And a couple of wee robins posing on branches just waiting to be admired reminded us that today is the first Sunday in Advent. We had booked lunch at the Harbourmaster's House Bistro at Dysart. We were therefore suitably dismayed when we got there only to find the door locked. So we chapped and rang the bell and keeked in the windows till someone came and explained that the fire alarm had gone off and wouldn't stop ringing. No fire , just the alarm. But H & S regulations meant that they couldn't let us in for our baked tatties. Royal Hotel, here we come. We all had a fine hot bowl of scotch broth, then cakes, scones and a cup of coffee. It was just the biz.
We didn't delay too long though as, even at 3.00pm, the light was changing and the cauld getting caulder. We walked back through Ravenscraig park this time, blethering non-stop as always. After St Clair Street, we went along Commercial Street and through Pathhead village, stopping only briefly to wave to Jenny Walker in her wee hoose.
Those in front were speed-walking along Victoria Road, but had to stop and tie our laces a couple of times to let the auld folk catch up. Up Dunnikier Road and onto Meldrum Road and the end was in sight. Back at the kirk we said our blessing together and thanked each other for the good company we've shared over the last six months on Sunday afternoons. That will be our last walk until January when at least three new people have intimated that they will be joining the group. Until then, enjoy a warm, peaceful, happy time with the folk you love. Christmas blessings to all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Seafield to Kinghorn

Today we had planned a country walk near Ceres, but as the nichts are fair drawin' in we thought it safer to stay nearer home. We walked instead from Seafield to Kinghorn and back, which is part of the Fife Coastal walk. The forecast once again led us to believe that we were going to be hit with gales and so we wrapped up well as you can see in the photos above, but can you also see the colour of the sky? It turned out to be the most beautiful day - the sun was shining and warm and the sky was so so blue. It felt not at all like November. We started off in pairs but as the path narrowed we formed a single file, each watching the boots of the one in front so that if she didn't slip on the mud then we'll follow her. It was very muddy, in fact treacherous in parts, but we all stayed upright, with difficulty. We stopped a couple of times to take in the beauty of the Forth today, and talk about the seabirds, the boats and the hills across the water. It always amazes me just what we get to talk about on our walks. Our tongues are never still. We share experiences we've had and learn a lot from one another. Whether having fun or supporting each other, this is a lovely way to bond with other adults and we have all come to value the familiarity that we have developed. As we approached Kinghorn our pace quickened as we imagined the buttered scones and coffee waiting for us at Niven's in the High Street. The owners very kindly pulled tables together and we continued our fun and fellowship there. They didn't seem to mind a bit about our clarty footwear. The return walk was every bit as pleasant although when we stopped this time we could feel the temperature had dropped somewhat. And when Joe related a gruesome story about the beauty spot we were taking in, the conversation turned to an airing of diverse views on capital punishment. Moving sharply on then, a little too sharply I may add, as one of us lost her footing and skited on the glaur, but injuring only her dignity. Just as we thought we weren't going to see any, there she was, basking on a rock in the last of the sunlight. One lonesome seal whose pals (according to Joe) were along at the May Isle as this is the mating season. She was named Wallflower.
Back at the carpark we said our Gaelic Blessing together again and exchanged a few witticisms before going our separate ways once more, all feeling peaceful and contented .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Falkland Estate: Maspie Den and Pillars of Hercules

Now well into autumn (in fact the clocks went back an hour last night) we were chancing it going a country walk if we wanted to keep our feet dry. As always though, the weather was kind to us and although it was smirring rain to begin with, we did not surrender.
We welcomed new walkers today: Ashley, Kirsty, Blair and Bernadette.
We were wading through beautifully coloured leaves as we entered Maspie Den and Janice remarked that they reminded her of her mother's carpet. Mary showed us stones in a dry stane dyke which had Scots words engraved on them: Bletherin, Danderin, Stravaigin and the like. They were very interesting and I wonder how we could find out who put them there and why. We passed 'Tom's place' where Tom had been making wooden garden furniture which was displayed for sale. So caught up were we, blethering as we strode out, that the walk leader took an unintentional detour and missed out a great chunk of the planned walk. It was not until we happened upon the Pillars of Hercules well ahead of schedule that this error was discovered.
The walk leader has now been replaced.
We had smashing cups of coffee and scrumptious organic cakes at the wee cafe there and then got on the move once more before we became lazy. We retraced our steps back to Tom's place and picked up the proper route again. Unfortunately, as we had to reverse the walk, we had a very steep climb, so one or two auld folk were peching like auld horses by the time we reached the top. The views were great from that spot but we didn't linger as the light was already fading. At last we saw the Yad waterfall which we were able to walk behind to the delight of the children. From there it was all downhill; a beautiful walk back down through the Maspie Den from a different angle. It was a bit slippy and muddy underfoot though, so we did have to take care. Plenty more beauty spots, waterfalls, burns and lovely wee bridges before we exited Falkland Estate. The village itself of course is charming and we enjoyed looking at it's quaint old houses and nice wee coffee shops. Back at the car park before we left for home we said a Gaelic Blessing together, the last line of which goes, 'May God hold you in the palm of his hand until we meet again.' Top that, as they say.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mystery History Walk

The secret is out! Nineteen of us travelled by minibus & car to St Andrews for one of Bob’s guided walks. Beautiful sunshine was accompanied by (severe) gale-force winds ---- but that didn’t hold us back!

After a snack lunch at the University’s Gateway cafĂ© we headed off on our three & a half mile walk and our route took us along a path created by Dr Beeching
(i.e. the site of the old railway station and a bit of the St Andrews to Crail railway line!) before heading up the Canongate and down through the sheltered Lade Braes to the centre of the old town. We had short stops (while the tour-guide blethered to us!) at Parliament Hall, St Mary’s College, the Cathedral, the Castle, St Salvator’s College & Chapel and, of course, the Old Course --- where the Dunhill Links Championship had been cancelled for the day because of the very strong winds!

Weatherbeaten, but happy, we returned to our vehicles for the journey back to civilisation! This was the biggest number on our walks so far – long may it continue to grow & prosper.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lower Largo/ Keil's Den/ Lundin Links 13th September

I haven't quite worked out how to get this picture the right way up.
We parked at the shore at Lower Largo, and after admiring the beautiful view across the water we started the gentle but steady climb up the Serpentine walk to reach Upper Largo. Today is 'Open Doors' day in Fife and we were tempted to pop in and see Upper Largo church, but resisted as we would have had to have coffee and a blether and may not have had time left for the walk. Upper Largo is a quaint wee town - no two houses the same it seemed, and a lovely wee school for the local children. Idyllic! Largo Law was beautiful today as you can see on the first photo above. Hilda was testing out her new binoculars so we all had to have a shot to see who could see the farthest. We passed a caravan park and remarked how restoring it must be for folk with busy city lives to holiday in a spot such as this.

We walked along the edge of the wheat fields and stopped to watch the combine harvesters gathering the ripened crop. What a wonderful sight. But the thought of wee sleekit cow'rin' tim'rous beasties possibly scarpering for their lives made us continue our walk at speed.

Keil's Den (Woodlands Trust) is a beautiful walk and one that none of us had been on before. Again we stopped at vantage points along the way to soak up the views. One of our group, who shall remain nameless, did suggest that the farmer surely wouldn't miss one tattie shaw in a field we stood in. But reflecting on Rev Elston's sermon today about taking something that didn't belong to you, she was suitably shamed. Some folk...

By the time we reached Lundin Links the weather was becoming cooler and when we had one last look at Largo Law, we couldn't quite see it all for the cloud resting atop. Through the town and on to Lower Largo again where we stopped at the Crusoe Hotel for our coffee. We sat outside of course and talked about the appeal of seaside houses, all painted in different colours and some with steps right down to the shore. A lottery win was mentioned.....

We passed Robinson Crusoe's statue on the house where Alexander Selkirk was born as we walked through the very narrow main street of hotch potch little houses. And after picking up the car and Rona driving back along the same narrow street, we wondered why it isn't one way and another route created out of the village. Well I guess that is just part of the village's quirky charm.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Balbirnie to Star

It was fair when we left the church today and we were determined to get our walk in before the r*** which had been forecast for this afternoon. We started off at Balbirnie and walked through the town of Markinch taking a wee detour to look at the Stob Cross and read the plaque which explains it's history. Then off to the countryside taking the gentle incline to Cuinin's Hill (137m) through the woods. Just as we were about pecht, we reached the top and the view opened out to a commanding 3000 view stretching from the East Lomond to the Pentlands across the water. We had to stand for a few minutes and soak up God's artistry. Over the last few weeks the countryside has changed from being a lush patchwork of many shades of green to the beautiful yellows and gold of harvested cropfields today. There was a discussion about the changes of seasons and how we love each one whenever it arrives. It was definitely autumnal today and we were lapping it up. It was at that point also that Irene, Hilda, Rona and Dianne felt rather fortunate to be Fifers and bragged unashamedly about our home county. We reached the wee village of Star and admired the well -kept gardens and the well-fed cows. Yes, there's a farm right in the middle of the village. We didn't actually see any human beings though, until we got to the Plough Inn where we had coffee and a heat by the log burning fire. On our return journey we took a slightly different route past North Lodge, Brunton where the owners have taken great care and effort to create a tree-lined drive and made use of broken down drystane dykes to create lovely flowerbeds. One last look at the stunning view across the Forth - Rona even spotted the dry skislope at Hillend, Midlothian - before we began wending our way downwards, sampling the wild blackberries en route. Back in Markinch again we looked at all the buildings, old and new, and headed for the church spire which all agreed was a comforting sight on the landscape of any town. I thought I felt a spot or two of the wet stuff on my cheeks so picked up the walking pace a little to get back to the car. There's never a lull in the conversation on these walks, and today was no exception. That's the world put to rights once again.
And as we were driving out of Markinch I switched on the wipers. Prayers work.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Lochore Meadows

At 11.00am it was doubtful if today’s walk would go ahead as it had been raining steadily for several hours and the skies were many shades of grey. Faith is the name of the game though, and so we turned up at 1.00pm as did the sunshine and what a beautiful afternoon it turned out for Sandra, Greg, Hilda, Colin, Bob and Dianne to walk around Lochore Meadows. There were no inclines to challenge us today and so we were able to walk at a fair skelp. It was pretty warm but a balmy breeze prevented our temperature rising and we talked about the diverse weather conditions we have had today and recently. We also took time to appreciate the beauty of the loch and Benarty which was at its best today. What a great resource Fife has here for water sports, children’s play and picnic areas, fishing and other outdoor sports. This week is Fife’s Outdoor Access Festival, and here at the Meadows many people were taking advantage of the events on offer. We stopped for a photo shoot at a wee pier and Bob remarked that the walk had just come to an abrupt end! You can see the result above – I was praying that the pier would actually take our weight. As you can see, we were still dry in the next photo. Chatting and listening to others while we walk is important and there were no lulls in that respect. And so we were ready for our cuppa at the Lochside cafe at the end of 3.5 miles and all agreed that it had been a pleasant, cannie way to spend an afternoon with friends.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kinghorn Walk

July 12th 2009
After Rev Dr G Blount promoting Kinghorn at church this morning as a town seemingly for the righteous as only Kinghorn had missed the recent flash floods, the group felt confident that we had chosen this blessed place for our second walk. Ah well, smug was also a word he used in his sermon.
We parked in the town and walked to the Golf Course Pavilion from where we had a gentle climb to the Caravan Park and stopped to take in the breathtaking view. From there, every few yards or so one of us commented on the vista over the Forth, along the Fife coast, the Bridges and the different shades of green we were taking in. We walked over Grangehill and down to Craigencalt Ecology centre where we investigated the Earthship made entirely from old car tyres and recycled materials. Self sufficient for energy too as this comes from solar and wind power. Even the rain water is used twice! We enjoyed walking through the herb gardens and the polytunnels where they were bringing on wonderful vegetables. No, we resisted the temptation to take cuttings. But at this point we did take shelter as the heavens opened for a few minutes. Then the heat and the blue skies returned and we were on our way again past Kinghorn Loch where many ducks, geese and swans were cooling off.
On reaching the town, we strolled down the old part of Kinghorn and noted the 18th century houses which are still sought after, and we admired and commented on the many and varied shops in the town which really make this a bustling wee community.
Rona, Irene, Hilda and Dianne ended our walk at Niven’s coffee shop in High Street and can recommend the fruit scones. We also recommend the simplicity of walking in the countryside with friends. It is good for the soul.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

First Walk, Letham Glen, Leven

First Walk 28th June 2009.
Rona, Keith, Hilda, Irene and Dianne parked at Letham Glen, Leven and walked through the glen as far as the bridge, then, apart from a wee mishap where we turned the wrong way, we climbed a brae and exited the park into the open countryside. We needed a drink by that time as we had worked up a heat already. The weather was perfect for walking – mild, but dull. We followed the route from a book, ‘25 Fife Walks’ by Hamish Brown and felt confident we were on the right track when we passed Coldstream Farm, and then a beautifully maintained cottage and garden called Cuffabout. Still following the map, we crossed a road into private land owned by Blacketyside. We were walking on tarmac then so were able to stride out with no fear of passing traffic. Blacketyside House with lovely grounds was to our left, and to the right, acres of fruit fields; rows and rows of strawberries, and raspberries in poly tunnels. Of course we visited Blacketyside tea rooms for our coffee and scones, and to use the facilities. We then crossed the main road to Silverburn and walked through the estate then onto the links path via the golf course. Many golfers were playing today as there was a tournament on. We breathed in the sea air and watched the microlites buzz overhead. The last part of the walk took us onto Leven Promenade and through the town till we completed the circle and returned to Letham Glen. All agreed it was a good walk with good weather and good company. Life is good. Thanks be to God.