Sunday, November 21, 2010


Despite the various euphemisms I heard before the walk - dull,dampish, 'not promising'- the weather today was dreich, a fine descriptive word of old Scots origin. Another of old Scots origin, Bob Docherty, led us on a history walk of Burntisland which was very interesting indeed. We parked opposite the Sands Hotel and headed towards the shore, dipping under the wee railway bridge. The first point of interest Bob described was a lovely victorian building which used to be a tearoom, then a shop (we could all remember buying an ice cream here in our childhood) and now is a bed and breakfast. Moving along the shore a few remarked how the tide seemed to be further in than usual, and a wee bit choppy whatsmore. Passing the Beacon Leisure centre, we all reminisced again of days when the swimming pool was al fresco, and Bob told the story of his grandfather, who was provost of Burntisland, having the dubious honour of opening the original outdoor swimming pool by taking the first dive from the top diving board! We walked around the promontory at Lammerlaws where we heard about the geology of Burntisland, and then on to the docks. Here we listened to the history of Briggs Marine Services - Rona's son works here so we were brought up to the present as well - and I found myself looking up the company on the web when I came home it was so interesting. Also nearby is B Fab involved in the manufacture of offshore and renewable energy fabrications where boss John Robertson won Fife's Businessman of the year just last week.
Moving on to Forth Place where we saw the old Burntisland railway station and admired the architecture, imagining what might go on behind all of the windows. Apparently it is to be sold soon, but we were not sure what the purpose would be. It was Mary's turn to identify the spot where the 'greasy pole' used to stand. This was a challenge, centuries old, whereby young men would attempt to climb a pole such as a telegraph pole which had been covered with grease presumably from the ships, to claim a pot of money from the top. The more astute participant would wait until the end of the challenge by which time most of the grease had been absorbed by the keen,naive ones, and he could shin up the pole with ease and claim the prize.The next point of interest was in Somerville Square where Bob referred to a wall plaque indicating where a famous daughter of Burntisland had lived in early 19th century. Mary Fairfax Somerville was a mathematician and astrologer and had such exceptional intelligence she was considered the most remarkable woman of her generation. Whatsmore she was entirely self taught. It was pretty cold now so we were glad to pop into the kirk. What a fascinating church is Burntisland Parish Church. Church Officer Ian Motion was kind enough to open it up for us to walk around at our leisure reading all the plaques and sitting in the old pews with doors at the end. Some of them still have names painted on the doors where a lady and her maids or estate owners would pay to have that seat set aside for themselves. The kirk also has great historic interest as this is where the Authorised Version of the Bible was authorised by King James VI in 1611. And so next year will be it's 400th anniversary. Some of us fondly recalled favourite verses from KJB comparing them with those of the Good News Bible which is in common use these days. Off again towards Rossend Castle this time where the visit was short as we were all so cauld, but long enough to hear Bob's history in a nutshell. We had a wee climb ahead, 56 steps to be exact but it led us to a terrific viewpoint where our tour guide pointed out all of the attractions we had not been able to visit.
Up ahead of course was the Binn, the protector of the town from extremes of weather. The town's shield of arms shows these Latin phrases - "Portus Gratiae" (Safe Harbour) and below "Colles Praesidio Dedit Deus" God gave the hills for protection). With thoughts of coffee at the Sands Hotel we were off at the toot now.It was even more pleasant today because Lorraine had made two cakes for us on account of her 'special' birthday the following day. We can thoroughly recommend her Weetabix cake! Thanks Lorraine . Hope you have a happy day tomorrow. We would also like to mention the warm welcome we had at the Sands Hotel. The staff were very accommodating so will have our custom again. Thanks Bob for imparting your knowledge of Burntisland with us, and I hear you have another history walk of Dunfermline up your sleeve. Well, you're hired!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lower Largo, Keil's Den, Lundin Links

I'm not in the habit of repeating myself but this walk was worth doing a second time. If you have a look at the blogsite for last September we did the same walk today but with more folk this time. Given that we are on 31st October we expected to be feeling the cauld but some of us were actually down to T-shirts, it was such a beautiful day. After parking at Temple car park we took the ascent via the Serpentine Way which led us to Upper Largo. Bob took us to the kirk there to see a headstone, now protected within a cage in the kirkyard, which dates from around 500AD. You can just make out some signs and figures on horseback - fascinating.
(Spot the bogeyman in the pic)
Onward we wend then with Largo Law up ahead looking wonderful and inviting today, but we thought better of it.
We walked along the side of the fields past the residential caravan site and past the place where Bess lies. Bess, we imagined was a much loved canine friend who perhaps regularly walked the same route as we were doing. Her master chose a most beautiful spot to lay her to rest and attach her name tag for all who pass to ponder on.
( There's that bogeymen again!)
Keil's Den was stunning. Autumn had turned the leaves orange and brown, yellow and amber, and the forest looked as if lights had been turned on within it was so bright. There were a few slow coaches today blethering 19 to the dozen at the back but we gathered again as we reached Lundin Links and wandered through the wee town enjoying looking at the lovely houses. We passed a few with Halloween decorations up like the one in Bob's photo. Just before the descent to Lower largo we stopped and soaked up the view of the Forth only we did wonder where Arthur's seat had disappeared to...
Down at the harbour is really picturesque so we sat outside the Crusoe Hotel with our coffees getting the last of the sunshine on our faces before it dipped behind the clouds until tomorrow. Now Bob mentioned that he wanted to get back to Kirkcaldy to collect his lady wife so we picked up speed through the wee narrow streets of Lower Largo back to the cars. Actually I think he wanted home to get trick-or treating.
We couldn't have asked for better weather or company today. Blessed indeed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I'll bet all the followers of our blogsite were wondering where we got to in September. Well, for the record we did meet up, but did a Car Treasure Hunt instead of a walk. Not quite so good for the environment, but equally good for our health as we had a good laugh with happy company. Rona and friend Linda were the winners and I hear the consensus is that the winners do next year's Treasure Hunt. I'd start now Rona.
We ventured out of the Kingdom of Fife today beginning our walk at the carpark at Portmoak church. Our heart rates were pretty quickly raised with a steep set of approx thirty stairs which took us onto the Michael Bruce Way, one of the network of pathways around Loch Leven. The path was narrow so we went single file along the bottom of the Bishop until we reached the best spot to take in the magnificent view. Although a bit misty today, we were able to see Benarty, which Fifers call the Sleeping Giant because its outline from the north side looks like a man on his back wearing a headdress. In the foreground of Loch Leven was St Serf's island and to the north, the Ochils. On a good clear day the Highlands can be seen from this point. So we stood in awe for a few minutes, getting our breath back from the climb and having it taken away again by the scenery. Onward then along the foot of the Bishop where autumn was in evidence and where the bracken had been burnt as a control to allow other forms of vegetation to flourish.
We didn't climb up the hill at all, but obviously by the photo on the left Joe and others were equipped with their skis just incase we got high enough to encounter snow. What goes up must come down and so we ended up in the old part of Kinnesswood and enjoyed looking at the wee houses, some of which have been very tastefully modernised. We saw the birthplace of Michael Bruce, whose name was given to the walk we did today. Michael Bruce, the gentle poet of Loch Leven, died of consumption and loneliness at the callow age of 21 having been a prolific writer of Gospel sonnets and paraphrases while a student of divinity at Edinburgh University. Plaques of some of his works are to be seen along today's trail, placed there by the Michael Bruce Memorial Trust.
Moving out of Kinnesswood and back to the countryside, this time on flat terrain so we were able to stride out. Above us we saw several gliders out on a jolly from the Scottish Gliding Centre, at Portmoak airfield just outside Scotlandwell, and we envied the view the pilots must have of the beauty surrounding us on a clear day. As we progressed through a wooded area called Portmoak Moss we were amazed at the enormous fungi and toadstools - a mycologist's field day you might say (and yes, I did look that word up in the dictionary). We also happened upon a shetland pony, Toby. Although Toby was in an awkward mood today according to his owners, I'm sure he enjoyed the compliments and petting he had from the walkers. By this time we were all talking about our rumbly tums and our pace quickened further when we were able to see our refreshment stop in the distance. In order to reach it though, we had to walk along the edges of fields which had recently been harvested and one field of healthy looking carrots, but we did not yield to temptation! It was here that a young deer was spotted, making off into a spinney to our delight.
Lochend Farm was a very welcome sight and we indulged in the delicious home baked fare there, and then off once again on the last part of the walk towards Scotlandwell. This time we had to walk on the road, and so one at the head and one at the tail of the single file wore High Vis vests so that motorists could see us well in advance.
We visited the Well in the village of course where the spring water was once thought to have healing properties and in 13th century a nearby hospital run by Red Friars used the water to heal leprosy and other diseases.Some of us drank the spring water which put a spring in our steps for the last few hundred yards uphill to where the cars were parked. Another great walk - 5.49 miles - and we expressed our gratitude before heading homeward, feeling peaceful and content.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

East Wemyss to Pathhead

We had to be off our marks from the kirk as we had to catch a bus at Mid Street before 1.00pm. to take us to the beginning of the walk at East Wemyss. We gathered at Mid St in plenty of time but when the no 13 was a couple of minutes late there were a few doubting Thomases ( Thomases?) who questioned my competency in looking up a timetable. Anyway we all piled on a wee 20 seater and that was the bus filled. Not being used to public transport myself, I was irritated that it kept going on wee detours; through Dysart and West Wemyss, and even down to the shore at East Wemyss. Anyway, we disembar....alight... got off the bus at Macduff cemetery, the start of today's walk. It was a bit breezy which swept the grey clouds away over towards Edinburgh and left our Fife skies almost Royal blue. We could feel our cares drifting away as we strode out and absorbed the beauty in our field of vision, especially the sun striking the Forth which sparkled with diamonds and sapphires. We followed the coastal path arrows which took us down some very steep steps to the shore. Folk were well prepared for this today though as a few were equipped with walking poles. Once at the shore the walk was easy and so was the conversation. There were thirteen of us today. Hi to Kerry who was with us for the first time. With East Wemyss behind us, Wemyss castle was towering above us on the cliffs. This is the ancient seat of the Earls of Wemyss, still inhabited by the family today. The castle itself is closed to the public but the gardens are open between May and July - missed it again. It looks a bit like Colditz actually. Approaching West Wemyss we stopped off at St Aidan's, a beautiful old church and a place of perfect peace and serenity. On the move again we kept to the path alongside the sea wall which is in very good condition and looks really attractive but actually didn't manage to keep the river Forth out of the Wemyss folk's living rooms in the freak storms of March this year. The Fife coast had a real battering at that time but has made a remarkable recovery. We were really taken with the old buildings in West Wemyss although there are many empty houses. Most of the village and Coaltown of Wemyss also would have belonged to the Wemyss Estate at one time but in the last few years have been taken over by Kingdom Homes. It is such a historic picturesque town, we hope that it is brought up to date by the new owners and given a new lease of life. The wee harbour is really lovely but the best view of it and Blair point is from the top of the long and very steep stairs we are standing on in picture 1.
This is Sandra on her own - how lovely is this.
Now I must go and see the very very Last of the summer wine - back later.
Well, that was a wee bit of a let down for a last episode. Maybe it is time to bow out gracefully. I wonder, can you spot a Foggy, Compo, Pearl, Nora or even a Marina in picture 2?
We soon had the winding gear of the Frances Pit in sight meaning we were only minutes from Dysart, and we stopped as we entered the village to read the lovely memorial to the Pit and it's workers. We were still able to get a last terrific view across the water before we headed downwards towards the harbour.
For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise
We sang this hymn this morning in church and it was going through my mind as we shared with each other the feeling of gratitude for the beauty around us today. Quickening our pace now we had to make sure we got into the Harbourmaster's house for refreshments before it closed. The poor girl wasn't expecting 13 customers at the last gasp so it took some time to be served but she was pleasant and we were patient. We had not yet completed our walk so the next picture shows the group at the harbour after coffee looking wabbit but happy.

And so a daunder through Ravenscraig Park took us back to Pathhead where we gathered as always and asked God for His safe-keeping until we meet again.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cupar/ Cuparmuir

We took today's walk from a leaflet prepared by the Rambler's Association, St Andrew's Branch. There are 14 walks described simply and accurately and split into short, medium and long walks. We would recommend the leaflet to other groups and we'll definitely use it again. We parked at Fluthers Car Park in the middle of Cupar and crossed the busy A91 into Station Road then off into Waterend Road which made us feel we were on a country walk right away. The footpath bordered the river and had a good bitumen surface all the way. Clearly it is a well used track for dog walkers and we had to be vigilant lest we trod in deposits left unscooped! Under the South Bridge and a right turn took us into Millgate, a lovely street of beautiful bungalows all with gardens in full bloom. We so thoroughly enjoyed comparing and judging the flowers and giving unqualified opinions on the layout of front gardens that we hardly noticed the incline leading us into Millbank, another lovely residential street with manicured lawns and hedges.Leaving the houses behind we were now on the flat Brighton Road flanked by fields and the great views of countryside that you can only get in the Howe of Fife. A mile goes pretty quickly when you are chatting so we soon arrived in Cuparmuir, a wee settlement of about 35 houses and a phonebox. In the first photo above we are standing outside a house which used to be the village shop. The current owners have tastefully modernised the shop into a home but left the name of M & J Murray above the door, which was really very thoughtful and I'm sure of interest to people passing on foot. Further down this road, Commerce Street, we were again passing our opinions on the renovation of all the houses and the school, then under the railway bridge took us towards Damside Mill which produces animal foodstuffs. Remarkably no pong. Just past the mill we crossed the River Eden by the Simpson Bridge which was built in 1904 for the workers to reach the mill, a paper mill at that time I think. But I can't find out who Simpson was. There was a bit of an incline from there till we reached the main A914 which lead us into Cupar town once again. The first lovely house on our left, Mount PLeasant, had us hanging over the dyke gawping at all the flowers and vegetables they were growing. Apple, pear and plums trees, heavy with fruit, and in the garden below were asparagus, beetroot, cabbage, potatoes to name a few, and sunflowers which must be ten feet tall. Moving on then we left the busy main street via Cow Brae and back to the river again. We appreciated this peaceful stretch after the noise and fast traffic of the A914. You can see by the second photo how relaxed we were. Look at the green, green grass of Cupar too. What a beautiful summer's day we have enjoyed. At the rear of Fisher's laundry are some stairs which took us back to the railway line and we were soon thinking about our coffee stop which was to be at Watt's Eaterie off Station Rd. As the sun was still shining we chose to sit outside and we waited for our order to be taken. We waited patiently. A delightful chatty young waiter took our orders and we waited for them to be served. Our waiter was keeping cool but clearly under pressure and brought the biscuits and cakes first. Then we waited for our drinks. Eatables now scoffed, the tea came but the coffee drinkers waited. Then TA-DA! The coffee arrived. Phew. Because we had spent some time before our refreshments we really had to get the bill right away. Mmm.... Yip more waiting, followed by an excessive estimate by the stressed out waiter, until we finally took charge ourselves and sorted out the bill. Oh dear Watt's this was pretty disappointing. Didn't spoil our enjoyment of the good company though as we chatted and planned how to augment the membership of our wee group. We said our goodbyes at the carpark today and are already looking forward to our next walk in a fortnight.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Forth Road Bridge

As there were 14 walkers today we decided to be environmentally friendly and take one minibus rather than 4 cars to North Queensferry. The bus worked out well other than the driver taking a wrong turning before we even got there. That aside we parked at the Queensferry Hotel and made for the bridge. Only one side was open to pedestrians today; there must have been some necessary repair work going on. So we walked both ways on the north side getting great views of Rosyth Dockyard on the Fife side and Port Edgar on the Sth Queensferry side. We had only just started walking when one of us realised she had forgotten to change from shoes to walking boots but thought it didn't matter. As you can see from the first photo everyone was fresh and smiling and the sky behind blue with fluffy clouds. No matter how lovely a day however, you always get a fair skelp of the wind on the bridge, but it didn't hinder us. We actually crossed over in under half an hour. In fact we weren't even ready for the advertised coffee and sticky bun at the Brewer's Fayre and so decided to go on a little further to South Queensferry. So we toddled off underneath the carriageways this time into the wee town which was bustling with daytrippers, holidaymakers and a wedding reception at Orocco Pier. The ladies were hoping to see the bride but alas she did not make an appearance. As we felt we wouldn't really fit in having our refreshments at Orocco Pier with the guests, Mary did a quick reconnoitre at a wee cafe opposite which turned out to be very suitable. Whatsmore, the Ravenous Beastie was a bit more than your average cafe; it's actually a restaurant offering a very good menu as well as a guest house. We had pleasant service from the young waiter/tress too which our group always comment on. It had a quaint toilet (named the Burstin' Beastie) as well - no electric light, but a candle giving only just enough light to see where one should position oneself. It was less than adequate however for the walker who was wearing her shoes, without socks, and had to stick plasters on her blisters in the half dark. Anyway, the middle photo shows the advisory committee debating the score - the establishment got a 9/10 from us. We had a photo-shoot with the Forth Bridge (the real one) in the background then began our return journey, uphill this time. As always, we quite naturally vary who we walk alongside between conversations, learning a bit more about each of us with every exchange. As you can see by the third photo, it was blawin' a gale and some folk were on their knees by the time we got back to where we started. It was fascinating how the women's hairdos were skew-whiff yet the men had not a hair out of place. Makes you wonder...
Safely back at the kirk we shared our appreciation of a fine healthy walk, great weather, our wonderful bridges and each other's company, especially our four new walkers. As always we said a short Gaelic blessing before we parted. Another good one chalked up.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Blairadam Forest, Kelty

As a few of our core group were on holiday this week we decided just to do a short walk, 2.5 miles or so, just to keep things ticking over. The forecast wasn't good but we worthies donned our waterproofs and left the kirk to whispers of "daft"and "crackpots" amongst others. Some couldn't even understand what possessed us to go to Kelty! Whatever did they mean?
Today was the first walk we had done without doing a reconnoiter first, but we were armed with a map of the forest downloaded from the internet. A fine help that turned out to be. There were 3 routes on the map and we opted for the yellow route as it measured 2.5.miles. At the beginning there were sign posts with coloured stripes indicating that we were on the right track, but these were anything but regular as we moved through the conifer woods. The weather was so changeable we had waterproofs on/ off, brollies up/down, sunglasses...mmhh.. some folk just always seem to look glamorous.... and we were down to T-shirts as it was so warm.
The map was passed around everyone and each had a different opinion of which way up to hold it. You've guessed it. We came to crossroads and with each of us still having different opinions we had to admit that we had gone astray. We were just starting to use our Girl Guide training in animal tracks and the flow of a river, when as if by some miracle, a man and his dog appeared walking towards us, obviously recognising by our gestures that we were lost. How fortunate were we? He was on the committee of the Kelty Heritage trails group and actually lived in the forest. He was such a gentleman and asked to walk some of the way with us to ensure we got back on course. John and his lovely dog Kiery told us some background to the forest and the pits which once stood there. Once back to relative safety they left us to continue on our own. Thank you John, for your kindness.
Until then, we had had a real mixture of sunshine and spits of rain, then we heard the rumble in the jungle. With little or no warning the heavens opened and we found ourselves in the middle of a rainstorm. We took shelter under the trees (photo)until it became semi-torrential at which point the prevailing view was to keep moving as were were soaked by then anyway. As we emerged from the rainforest the sun came out again and the skies were blue with fluffy clouds - bizarre. Desperate for a cup of coffee we crossed over to Kathellen where we had lovely drinks, scrumptious cakes and scones and excellent service from pleasant waitresses. Now that was a lovely ending to our walk today, which according to the pedometer was 5.4 miles - more than double what we intended. We didn't actually see any of Kelty though and not a clippie in sight.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Oh my dogs are barking tonight!
We started off at the carpark at Ceres following part of a Hamish Brown walk. So the very first part was a wee climb up locally named Waterless Road which got the heart rate up. Rona remarked on the large stones under the grass we were walking on and hey, when we read Hamish's book (good old Hamish) he tells us that this used to be the main road from St Andrews to the Pettycur-Edinburgh ferry circa 1680. We passed beautiful wild flowers on this road; and the most gorgeous, enormous pink poppies you ever did see. We sheltered from the precipitation at Denhead farm to let the slow-coaches catch up, then downwards towards the B939 Ceres to Craigrothie road. Straight across that road we found ourselves in a narrow, glaury track which brought us out at a 17th century lectern doocot. We were passing a house/ farm and disused Corn Mill when 3 muckle (well one was muckle) dogs came barking and bounding out towards us, alarming one or two of us, I have to say. The wee photo above was taken on a packhorse bridge which formed a ford over Craigrothie burn. I think the photographer must have been standing in the burn to get that one. Moving on, we came across a wee wooden barn at Wemyss Hall Mains Farm and took shelter from the drizzle a while, then decided to have our picnic sitting on the bales of hay. That'll be the Hillbillies in the big photo above. Fed and watered, and scratching a bit, we were off again climbing another hilly stretch then on to the main road where we came across the entrance to Hill of Tarvit Mansion. We stood some time there actually,feeling sad that the house is no longer open to the public. Several of us recalled happy times there and the beauty of the grounds, the building inside and out and the treasures within. It was just too expensive for the National Trust for Scotland to keep open. HOWEVER, I have just read on the 'net that NTS will in fact open it up for a few dates over the summer so I for one will definitely pay a visit. Keeping up the momentum we walked along the main road then a detour to Whitehill farm having to climb another hill to get there. That wouldn't be the last challenge of the day. Now Hamish's book states that we should walk along the edge of a field, but he didn't say the gate would be locked and we'd have to loup it! Well some of us found negotiating this obstacle a little testing, but we didn't leave anyone behind so through the field we all traipsed getting our trousers soaked up to our thighs in the long grass in the process. Once out of the field though we began to sense civilisation once more and soon arived at Moor Road, Ceres. From there we walked through the village having a rare time nosing in everybody's gardens snatching ideas for our own. We couldn't have left the village without a visit to Griselda Hill, of course. And there she was in the shop actually painting two cats in the honey bee pattern while we were there. We didn't purchase, but chose our next birthday presents we would like from our families. And a wee wander along the road brought us back to where we started. 3.68 miles according to the pedometer; not a great distance but enough to make my plates of meat cry for mercy. Thanks to friends Lorraine, Hilda, Rona, Winnie, Irene, Grace, Mary, Joe, Janis and Dianne for sharing another lovely experience in the airts and pairts o' Fife.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Culross and Pittencrieff Park

We were feeling the heat when we reached Culross so were glad that a short sharp shower came on and cooled everyone down. Using the walk in Hamish Brown's book of 25 Fife Walks we took a left out of the carpark moving west towards Kincardine. At a very bad bend we turned off onto the entrance to Dunimarle Castle. We avoided the castle though as it seemed to be a private residence, so we wandered through the trees smelling the country air and identifying the campions, wood anemones and of course the bluebells which were out in force. Emerging from the trees we were admiring the view across to the Lothians when Sandra and Winnie spotted a ruin of a church and were beckoned by an elderly gentleman offering to tell the story of the West Church. We sat around on gravestones, some of which were dated 1620, listening to Paddy tell his tale of how his interest began in the church and how he wrote a book called the 'West Kirk.' Paddy, like Morse, only had one name and as his tale became longer, delusion became apparent. He was so passionate and knowledgeable about the church and graveyard however, it was nice just to listen to him and he clearly enjoyed the audience. We loved his cap which read ' Head Gardener.' Moving on, though not at great speed, we reached the town of Culross hoping to go into the church and abbey there. We were asked for tickets at the entrance to the church - aw, there was a concert on today. And the 13th century abbey, well, there wasn't a great deal left to view given that it fell into disrepair at the time of the Reformation, although it's gardens are beautifully manicured. Heading downwards now to Tanhouse Brae where we stopped to read an inscription on Snuff Cottage (1673) - 'Wha wad ha' thocht it?' being the first line of a couplet; the second, ' Noses ha' bocht it.'is to be found on a snuffmaker's premises in Edinburgh. The Mercat Cross itself dates from 1588 but withstood all of our group standing on it to have a photo taken. Very picturesque part of this ancient town. We proceeded down Back Causeway walking on the 'croon o'causeway', the large cobbled stones set in the middle of the road where gentry used to walk. The smaller cobbles were set lower down and intended for the commoners as that was where the town's sewage flowed through the streets. It was pleasant to walk through the town but we were getting a bit peckish so made our way back to the cars and on to Dunfermline Glen. What a glorious day in the park. There were many families enjoying the sunshine, playing rounders, football, children clambering over the old steam engine and picnics and ice creams in abundance. We remarked about Andrew Carnegie's generosity to the people of Dunfermline over a hundred years ago still giving so much pleasure to all who visit. We expected to be watching/ listening to an event in the Pavilion about Pentecost but we arrived at teatime so we missed out. We had brought our own picnic though, and a birthday cake denoting the very beginning of the Christian church, which suited us nicely. There were only 7 walkers today and we weren't really moving fast enough to burn off any calories but as always we enjoyed each others company and had a good few laughs.
I do hope Hamish Brown is working on his next book cause we're running out of walks.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


It was peltin' this morning when we arrived at church but you could see by our mode of dress that we weren't going to let adverse weather conditions disrupt the plan to walk around Aberdour. By the time we left the church at 1.00pm there was just enough blue in the sky to make a pair of sailor's breeks (a quaint old saying eh?) so off we jolly well went.
We began the walk at Hawkcraig Rd car park and passed by the Silver Sands where a family, even in April, was enjoying the sea breezes with their picnic table up and a wind break around them. As we progressed we soon got onto the Fife coastal walk and emerged at the wee harbour where there were many boats bobbing in the calm water - very picturesque. We paused at the shore where there was a chart of the islands and the hills we were looking at across the Forth. We identified Inchmickery, Oxcars lighthouse and only just saw Cramond island as it was very misty, but very beautiful today. How lucky are we to have these places of beauty on our doorstep. We proceeded up Shore Road stopping to window shop at the wee gift shop near the top; a nice place to go for a special present. We looked at an object in the window which looked like a toast rack but was actually a letter rack with three divisions separated by large letters. One of our group (with the initial W!) asked what T-S-O-P meant and felt a proper tumshie when she realised the rack was facing the wrong way. The second half of the walk took us along the High Street and out of Aberdour towards Hillend. We took a left at the road towards Braefoot Marine Terminal from where the products from Mossmoran are exported. We got off the beaten track are soon as we could though and had a lovely walk along an avenue of daffodils and wood anemonies. The scent of wild garlic permeated the air which signified that spring is over for another year. Still on the Coastal walk we took in the lovely views of the Forth with the golfcourse in the foreground. Many people were out walking, children cyling and joggers showing off. We emerged at Dovecot Park and retraced our steps along the High St and on then to Aberdour Castle.The Castle and its grounds were at their best today, but we were keen to get to the tearoom for refreshments. We had been so looking forward to one of their magnificent scones but alas, only there were only three left so a few of us had a dissy.We had a fine old chinwag there and planned the next few walks which will be posted soon on the church website. After our cuppas we went on to St Fillans church which is the most tranquil and serene setting imaginable. We took the time to go inside the church which stood open for visitors to enter, wonder at and worship. The church, or monastery as it probably was then, dates from before 1123. Each century additions were made and the connection with St Fillan made in 1390. In the 18th century it fell badly into disrepair and became a ruin by the beginning of the 20th century. From then, there has been a history of redevelopment, the latest renovation on the roof being completed in November 2009, only 5 months ago. This is a real treasure not only of history, but of the local people's foresight and dedication to preserve this sanctuary for the people of God.
The stained glass windows themselves are worth visiting the church for. Sandra pointed out the 'leper's squint' on the west gable. This little opening is now blocked up but in Mediaeval times, peering through it was the only way disease-ridden members of the parish could attend church services.
This website will show a little of what is in store on a visit to St Fillans. Winnie recognised that the slate on the church roof was not Scottish slate but possibly English. This may have been because before it became a Church of Scotland St Fillans was Scottish Episcopal with strong connections to the Church of England.
This was a 4 mile walk and we all felt satisfied when we returned to our cars. On days like these we are renewed by the simplicity of photographing a bee on a flower, listening to birdsong and just sharing time and conversation with like-minded people. "Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to thee."

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Falkland Hill on Easter morning

We've been watching the weather forecast for the last week wondering if we would manage up the hill today.On Tuesday there was such a fall of snow that we were on the point of cancelling our walk. However the advance party was sent out on Friday to reconnoiter. Although the roads were passable, the walk we intended to take starting from Craigmead car park had far too much snow so we made the decision on health and safety grounds to ascend the other side of the East Lomond.
Ten of us met at 07.30am at the kirk and travelled by minibus heading for Falkland. We took the narrow road off A912 which leads to a car park on what might be called Purin Hill. From there, even at 0800am we had stunning views of Largo Law and the Forth and snow capped hills away in the distance. A few of us had walking poles with us so decided to attempt the ascent up Falkland Hill. However, we only had the choice of walking through snow or on a path of sorts which was a bit clarty so we didn't go too far. We stood in a circle and had our Easter service there and it was lovely - cold, but just right. We were belting out " Jesus Christ is risen today!" when a hill runner sped by, I'm sure wondering what had possessed this group of unusuals to be singing their hearts out at such an early hour. Ah well, we could have told him that we had indeed been possessed. Possessed by the need to celebrate Jesus' resurrection by praying and praising in our own simple way in a place where we could feel at one with God.
After our wee service Lorraine and Hannah went on up the hill to the very top (fit or daft?) and a few others went half way (plucky). The rest (realistic) took plenty time and picked our way carefully back to the minibus.
Back at the church, it was all hands on deck to get the bacon & egg butties and hot drinks made and we ate together and agreed this was a good habit of old to be resurrected. I think the minibus might be full next year....

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Dundonald Den to Dothan farm

The Happy Daunderers met up at Mcdonalds car park then took a bus to Cardenden where we started our walk. Three of us set our pedometers so that we could measure the walk accurately. It was pleasant to wander through the Den and smell the country smells again, but the ground was very soft and muddy for the most part so our waterproof boots were well tested. Whatsmore, it was clear by the tracks and other evidence that the Den is used as much by horses as people and in fact we stopped to give way to a couple of beauties.
Just as we approached the A92, which we walked underneath, we noticed some graffiti;not only on the massive columns of concrete holding the road above us, but actually at the top of the bridge on the steel structure holding everything together. How on earth the graffiti artists reached there we will never know but it made us queasy to imagine. More sludge at the other side and we were getting a bit narked at the inconvenience. But the giddy limit was yet to come. Unfortunately we ended up on the road which led to the off-road motorcycle track so we were wading through deep slushy mud and I had to wonder whose idea it was to take this route today. As the road started to dry out we stopped at the plaque in the photo which shows the spot where the last duel in Scotland was fought in 1826 between David Landale, a linen merchant, and George Morgan, a bank manager, over a bank loan. Morgan was the runner -up.
Our feet were beginning to dry out as we walked back over the A92 this time towards Cardenbarns Farm, We had a nice view of the Bishop hill from there which still has a lot of snow on it but the weather with us was quite warm and sunny. Away from the traffic again and into Carden Woods, this was much more agreeable and dry underfoot. A couple of walkers had grown up in Cardenden and these woods were a playground to youngsters in those days; picnics on Blueberry Hill, man-made 'caves' out of sticks,and 'the View' which we thought was a secret place but in fact was everybody's secret. Happy memories. Mary remarked on the surface we walked on - large rounded stones into the ground which had been laid with a bit of foresight as a road a very long time ago. We moved along the edge of the woods which was a very pleasant walk. As we emerged from the woods we had a terrific view of the snow-capped lomonds and in the foreground the little hamlet of Cluny and Coalden. Back at the main road we left the Dothan Farm behind and with great care crossed the A92 for the third time today. As always, at the end of our walks we were looking forward to parking our weary bones and enjoying a cuppa which today was at the Home Farm View. Hilda, Winnie and Dianne compared the mileage on their pedometers which actually bore no similarity but settled for 4.6 miles.
Today was the last time we walked as St John's Walkers, but we were already planning the next outing so the group will most certainly be carrying on under a new name. Keep a l

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oriel Road/ Longbraes

We're still staying round about the doors as the weather can't be trusted, so today we walked down Salisbury Street again and along Balsusney Road till we reached Bennochy bridge ( there's that word again...). This time we went along Forth Avenue crossed over to Masserene Road and along Ferrard Road. Once on Oriel Road, moving north we soon reached the woods and it felt like being in the countryside again, even although we were only a few yards from very busy traffic on th A910. It was a bit muddy in parts but a pleasant walk for all that, approx one mile and on a very gradual incline - not tough enough to get pecht. There were 8 walkers today - Irene, Mary, Joe, Winnie, Hilda, Lorraine, Rona and Dianne, and boy could we all talk. So much so that we probably didn't look around as much as usual. Too busy putting the world to rights. Anyway, we emerged from the woods at the bottom of Broom Road and proceeded along Longbraes, with Rabbit Braes on our left. The view from the crest of the hill of course was, as always, breathtaking as it is never twice the same. Today we could see far across the water where there is still snow on the Pentlands. The Forth was busy with boats of various sizes and although there was a little atmospheric water vapour (we don't get rain)today, it could not spoil the pleasure we took from the panoramic overview of our town. And the new Victoria Hospital looks spectacular from up there! Always ready for a cuppa, we popped into the Steadings. It is Valentines Day today and the Steadings staff were apparently anxiously awaiting an influx of romantic celebrants to fill their many empty tables and so we were asked to sit near the door. Maybe it was the boots. We enjoyed our coffees and still found more to talk about. And as we left, the Steadings staff were still waiting for the lovies to arrive....
We walked at a fair skelp today so arrived back at the church much earlier than expected. I had been so distracted by the irritating need to keep putting my hood up and down again, I forgot my duty to take photos for the blog. Let's hope Mary's one turned out . To be added at a later date.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beveridge Park

Happy New Year to all who follow our blogsite. And welcome to our new member in the photo above. No, not the one with the beard and the hoodie! We had 2 new walkers actually - Joe and Winnie and we hope they'll walk with us again. As the weather has been a bit unreliable we decided to stay close to home for our first walk of the year. Ten walkers started at the church and walked down Salisbury Street, stopping to see the progress of the new building at Dunnikier primary school and hearing from Mary that there has been a 1914 newspaper found in the old gym hall which is being demolished. That would be fascinating to read. Along Balsusney Road and passing Bennochy Cemetery, Lorraine explained that the first railings on the cemetery wall were removed during the war and used to make artillery. These new ones were painted by none other than her husband, the ubiquitous Brian Fairful who seems to have painted in every toon in Fife! We came down past the Museum and Library and through the memorial gardens which, even in winter look lovely and well-kept and our council gardeners got a bit of praise here. Moving along Abbotshall Road we kept in twos so there were 5 conversations going on at once! At Abbots Mill, Dianne reminded us of Bennochy Mills which used to stand there, built for N Lockhart Linen Works in 1865 and closed in 1985. At Beveridge Park gates we read the plaque which tells that it was the wife of Provost Michael Beveridge of Beechwood who donated the park to Kirkcaldy. Beechwood, now a nursing home for the elderly, stood to the north of Bennochy Cemetery. It was Irene who had this piece of local knowledge. Lorraine was equipped with Kirkcaldy civic society's books about Beveridge Park and filled in any gaps in our knowledge, and it was she who took us on the wee detour to see the Wizard in our photo. We all rather took a shine to him.
Dianne took us on another, unintentional, detour but it turned out to be a nice walk through the woods where we happened upon what we thought might be Datie Mill and the Spanish house? which most of us had never seen before. Moving on, we had to cross Boglily Road to reach Raith Lake, which you might just be able to see by the photo, had been completely iced over, but today as it is very pleasant has started to thaw. There were patches of ice throughout the woods however and we did have to take care. Up on dry land we wandered through the Raith housing estate and back onto Abbotshall Road again past the gates which used to be the entrance to Raith estate and the walled garden. We were all wrapped up prepared for a cold day but as usual we were blessed with beautiful weather and so we were all overheating by the time we reached Beveridge Park Hotel where we enjoyed our cups of coffee. Conversations there ran from keeping fit to kirk business and it was good to hear different points of view.
The Union of our church with St Andrew's is drawing ever closer and it was heartening to hear and feel the acceptance of change in our wee group. We decided that as we won't be called St John's Walkers in future we should propose new suggestions and take a vote on the best of these for our new name. Anyone from St John's or St Andrew's interested in our group, whether they walk or not, can make their proposal to Hilda over the next 4 -5 weeks.
Back at the church we said our blessing once more before going our separate ways and I'm sure we felt differently today, for the change is on everyone's mind. But as I write this an old gospel chorus comes to mind.
“Yesterday, today, forever,
Jesus is the same.
All may change, but Jesus never!
Glory to His Name!

Reassurance, as aye.