Sunday, December 11, 2011


Not a lot of people would have chosen Thornton to have their Christmas Day out. And on this date, mid December, it could have been snow or terrific winds, both of which Fife suffered earlier in the week. But as always, Bennochy Walkers were blessed with perfect walking weather - dry and cool. 17 of us took to cars as far as ASDA where we parked up and then walked on to Thornton. The path was good as far as the M90 which we crossed via the bridge, stopping in the middle to watch the speed of cars and count the red ones! One red one tooted at us and the passengers waved. Quaint customs die hard. There was a parting of the ways over the bridge as 2 members decided to wade through the mud via the country walk, while the rest - the sensible ones - took the main road from Kirkcaldy to Thornton, though it wasn't at all busy with traffic today. We stopped to steal some holly from a tree, but then there is no way 15 people can steal furtively. So when we arrived at the venue almost all held a sprig of holly. The venue was the building fondly still called 'the Crown' - the old Crown Hotel. The owner, Mike Catignani,who conducts his business Solutions Developed from this building, had kindly allowed our group to use 'the Crown' for our activities and he greeted us warmly with tea/coffee and biscuits for all.
The activity we chose was wreath-making and had asked along local man George Wallace, an expert in this department, to help us to put something together which we could call a wreath.
Little did we expect the preparations which George had made before he came. He had two black bags filled with holly, every single piece wired by hand last night while he watched the TV!( We felt a wee bit daft having nicked one sprig each!) He had also made the moss rings for us and brought along a variety of decorations for us to dress the wreaths. How could we go wrong? We didnt. With George's help we all made beautiful wreaths as you can see in the picture and we were delighted with our efforts. Just to make the day perfect we had fish suppers delivered by DOM's and more tea and coffee served by Mike. An old Bing Crosby CD playing in the background and ginger wine to warm the cockles. Picture the scene.....
Relatives transported us from Thornton back to Kdy and we were feeling very Christmassy and content.
So it wasn't a bad idea then to go to Thornton for our Christmas do. Grateful thanks to Mike and George for making this happy day possible.
Wishing all our followers a warm, peaceful Advent and may the wonder of the Christmas miracle bring special love and happiness to you and your families.

PS And here is one I made earlier in situ

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kennoway Den

There was a definite air of solemnity when we gathered today. Remembrance Day is becoming more significant year by year as our country continues to lose young men and women serving with our armed forces. Robin, our minister, conducted a very moving service which left the congregation deep in thought and gratitude to those who have sacrificed all for the security of our country, protection of our people, and for justice in other lands. We prayed for all who have suffered terrible injuries, for innocent victims of war and for those who must endure the loss of loved ones always. We will remember them.
We left promptly so that we could get our walk in and have our refreshments before dusk at 1608. It was a short journey to the Leven roundabout near Windygates where we parked up in the car park there. We had our gaiters on today as a warning had been given re the probability of a glaury walk. A short distance towards Leven, we turned off onto a perfectly flat, straight tarmaced path which leads from Methil I believe, to Kennoway. This surface allowed us to stride out and get off to a favourable start. At Kennoway we crossed the road which led out to the countryside, a gradual but not stressful incline for a good mile. On a clear day the view from the top takes in Elie Bay to North Berwick, and westerly to Moss Moran. Today however, was a grey day limiting our views to Methil. The road led us passed Grange of Kingsdale farm which we only noticed at the end of the road had a 'Private Road' sign up. Now we had to get on to the road - Linkwood Road - which is fairly narrow and on which traffic travels fast despite poor visibility, so we were given fair warning by Rona who was leading today, and proceeded with care. Just before reaching the town we branched off into Kennoway Den and felt safe again. The Den must be at its best in autumn.

The winding path took us through carpets of leaves of every colour and the trees were hanging on to the last of their foliage before the onset of winter nips them away.

We couldn't have chosen a better time to see the Den in it's glory. The burn was running fast and it was so picturesque, those of us who had astonishingly never heard of this place were captured by it's beauty.

Our lungs now detoxed we emerged from the Den straight across the road into the Burns Tavern where staff had been advised of our arrival. Now, not only did we have a room of our own (nothing to do with our attire) but we were served tea and coffee and three huge plates of scones of all different species! Jams and cream in plentiful supply and excellent service. Whatsmore the price was reasonable. We all agreed that we would share our experience with others and patronise it again both as a group and with our families. Bruce Forsyth's new catchphrase jumped to mind : "Kennoway Burns, you're my favourite."
Still well before dusk we had another 15 minutes of walking back to our cars where we gathered and prayed before departing for home, grateful for fellowship shared and more memories made.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kettlebridge and Dams Cottage

Autumn in Kettlebridge

Sunday afternoon was dry but overcast as we set out for Kettlebridge. Known previously as Holekettle it developed after the building of the turnpike road around 1800. More information can be gained online at the Gazeteer for Scotland website. It is a lovely area with some very old cottages.
Parking the cars on the A914 Cupar Road we crossed over to enter the road leading to Chapel House and farm passing by a roadside lodge. Walking up the gentle incline tongues were chattering, deterring any wildlife but two curious horses came to say hello. Continuing on the road and skirting Chapel House we admired the gardens and elevated position. There was a pre-Reformation chapel neat Chapel House and it may be that the remains of the chapel have been built into one of the outbuildings at Chapel House.
Following the track around we soon heard the sound of a heavy vehicle and as good citizens in the countryside code we stood aside on the verges to allow the tractor to pass. The driver did not as we thought wish us a pleasant walk but instead stated that we were disrupting his family’s privacy and whilst he would allow us to continue our walk we were not to return. He also made it very clear that he would not enter into any discussion regarding this. This dampened our spirits a bit and was our topic of conversation for quite a while. Thankfully of all people we met on our walks, now nearing 40, a person with this type of manner is in the minority. Our next encounter was a large padlocked gate, guess who it belonged to? Well undaunted we fairly louped it, well to varying degrees we got over it. This small track led us onto Flemington Road which we followed in a southerly direction until we turned right at a T junction and followed the road, some of the time through fields and other through wooded areas until we reached Glenlia Road.

This road was mainly through wooded areas but some of the trees were magnificent colours. At one point Joe looked back the way we had walked to catch sight of two deer crossing the road.
At the end of the wood we took a small track which led onto Middleton Road and our coffee stop came into view. We were delighted to see Dianne, who made it for the coffee and cake and Margaret and Walter Simpson and their son Eric and their beautiful Dams Cottage. Margaret gave us a guided tour of the area, garden and cottage and supplied us with the history of the surrounding area. In the living room the massive log fire was burning and we were asked through to the kitchen to sit around the farmhouse table eating rich fruit cake, scones and as much tea and coffee as you could manage.
Following this we retired to the living room to partake of a game of carpet bowls. Yes, you’ve guessed, none of us are trying for our national carpet bowling team!

The hospitality we encountered with Margaret, Walter and Eric more than compensated for our earlier encounter and as a result we were very reluctant to leave. Plans are afoot to make this visit an annual outing. Bidding a fond farewell we set off down Candren Way with a spring in our steps and then taking a track which followed a wee burn we reached the A914, yards from where we had left our cars. Another beautiful walk.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”. ~Mark Twain

Saturday, September 24, 2011

North Queensferry to Aberdour

We chose to do this part of the Fife Coastal Path on a Saturday because it is a bit longer than we usually walk - 8.2 miles - and so we started earlier in the day. Given that it was a dreich morning we weren't expecting many walkers to turn up at Kirkcaldy railway station in time for the 1200 to NQ. However, ten 'hardy chiels', as Rona described us, met up and made the short train journey, the majority taking advantage of a discounted price using their special Scotrail loyalty passes. The pedometers were set at Waterloo Well at North Queensferry, right under the magnificent Forth Bridge which makes us all feel so very proud to be Scottish.
A couple who were busy in the morning met up with the first lot an hour later at Inverkeithing and so there were 12.
It is strange that when it is drizzling, the walkers go at a fair skelp, thinking I suppose that we would become less wet if we walk quickly. It didn't work today though. The Path was in excellent condition and because most of us had done the coastal Path before we were familiar with the route, another reason for making good progress. The Forth was pretty grey but we could see how the river was beginning to widen out after the narrowness of the stretch between South and North Queensferry. On the way, we passed St Bridget's Kirk just on the outskirts of Dalgety Bay. This is a 12th century ruin but is kept to a pretty good standard by Historic Scotland despite the public being able to access it without charge. On a nice day we would have had a picnic here, but onward we did wend, heading away from the coast for the next stretch.When next we had a particularly good view of the Forth,we noted that a helicopter had landed on Inchcolm Island and wondered if perhaps someone had fallen or taken ill while visiting the Abbey. Again this is a lovely spot to visit in summer months with a picnic. Ferries run from S Queensferry regularly allowing people to spend an hour or two on the island soaking up the history and beauty of the medieval monastic buildings, the seals and birdlife and interesting coastal defences from WW2. Now walking on tarmac we had Aberdour golf course on our right. The group was well spread out today as it turned out that one poor soul at the back had developed blisters! The first to arrive in Aberdour made a beeline for the Woodside Hotel and prepared them for a dozen soaking wet, tired, hungry and now blistered walkers to descend on them expecting coffee and scones to be served. We were not disappointed. We had a lovely cuppa and nice scones/ cakes although a little pricey. But we were made very welcome so that helped. A short distance left to walk to Aberdour station which was absolutely beautiful with hanging baskets and bedding plants all out in bloom. The station is always so pretty it regularly gets a prize for being the best kept station. They even have a greenhouse there, bringing on plants for next season. I hope they know how much people admire and appreciate their efforts. It only took a few minutes till we were back in the Lang Toun all ready for a hearty tea. Fish suppers seemed to be a popular choice tonight.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Birnie and Gaddon Lochs and Collessie

We've been meaning to do this walk for a good long while but were glad we made it today - all will be revealed.
As we made our way by car to the parking area at Birnie, the sky was several colours of grey and I began to think of the Dulux paint chart which always has interesting names for the tones of colours, and I wondered what they would have chosen for today's predominant shade. Battleship perhaps.
Carrying on regardless, 14 of us met up and began a circular of Birnie Loch. It is quite a nice walk but there are so many young trees surrounding the loch now that you can really only see it clearly at one or two places where there are seats. And so we missed a lot of the bird life for which the loch is famous. This picture of bullrushes was taken a few years ago but we stood at the spot where the photo was taken. It's even prettier now.
From the safety of the loch walk we made our way to the wee village of Collessie across the very busy A91. There were two new walkers today - Allan, Christine's cousin on holiday from Vancouver and Isabel whom we all know well. Approaching Collessie Isabel remarked on a wee window we could just see through the trees which she remembered from her childhood as this had been her grandparent's home and we said we would walk that way to get a better look. We passed the most picturesque cottages,especially Rose cottage, which is thatched and immaculately painted. We also passed a standing water tap in the street where Isabel remembers collecting water for her grandparents as they had no running water in their house. Further on we visited the church although it was closed today. Had we visited last week we could have seen inside as the church took part in Fife's Open Doors Day. Some of us like reading the gravestones though, so spent a wee while there and took some photos.

So it was here we followed Isabel to visit her roots. We saw the house, and as she was showing us where the dunny was, a lady in the adjoining house came out so I felt it necessary to explain why we were exploring her neighbour's property. We had noticed and admired a thatched stone building which we guessed would have been the village washhouse at some point. Now the lady I spoke to who remembered Isabel's family clearly, offered to show us inside the old washhouse as it is now her art studio. And what a revelation that was. Marianna Lines - - is an artist in Celtic and pictish designs on wallhangings, canvas, screenprinta and greetings cards. She has copied traced and rubbed actual pictish patterns from ancient stones and reproduced them in colours made from natural dyes. We had a very quick tour of her studio but will pay a visit again when there are fewer of us. We were glad to have made her acquaintance and that Isabel shared her family history with us. Moving on, out of the village and back to the main road where we walked along the verge with great care, one walk leader at the front and one at the back wearing high viz jackets - very fetching.
We reached the safety of Gaddon Loch this time and still looking to see if we could identify some wild life. The website states the following are resident - Winter wildfowl, especially Wigeon and Goosander. Breeding Redshank, Lapwing and Oystercatcher, Maiden Pink.
Mammals include Otter, Bank Vole, Pipistrelle Bat and Red Squirrel

We just can't stop blethering long enough to seek these out but we noted there is a 'hide' which would offer those keen on birdlife some peace and quiet to wait and watch.
The words 'coffee'and 'scone' were being mumbled so we made our way to the Fife Animal Park for refreshments. They had been forewarned of our arrival and a long table had been set for us. Nice cuppa and goodies and quite inexpensive. And as expected, once our walk was over, the rain started.
So like Andy Pandy and Teddy when they closed the lid of the basket, it was ' Time to go Home.' If you are singing this, I know your age.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Letham Glen Leven

This was the first walk the group (5 of us) did in 2009. There were 17 walkers today! Flushed with success at the good number we strode out in the wrong direction and added another half mile on to the 'easy' walk I'd advertised.
We were hardly started, and appreciating the lovely gardens in Letham Glen when a few of us were tempted to 'have a go' on the newly installed exercise equipment.

" You've always wanted a shot on a camel. Goan then!" was Bob's encouraging invitation to his lady wife who couldn't resist temptation.
Hilarity over, we got down to the business in hand. It is a gentle incline through the park and we needed a wee pause once we reached the open countryside again. How nice it was to hear Winnie say that she had to walk through Letham Glen to reach her school, and even more interesting that we passed Coldstream Farm Cottage where she and her family lived in her early teens.
We were blethering goodstyle and almost missed the lovely cottage and grounds called Cuffabout.The sun at this point was so warm, we shed a layer or two and donned our sunglasses. Crossing the main road into Blacketyside Estate we admired Blacketyside House painted white and situated in an idyllic setting. Field upon field of fruit bushes under polytunnels on our right indicated that this business is flourishing. And when we reached the farm shop/restaurant and noted a huge expansion being built, this emphasised the good times that the company is having. Blacketyside would have been our choice of coffee stop, however, there is a large noticeboard stating that the restaurant is closed on Sundays with a Bible text beneath.

Exodus 20:8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work,10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens,the earth,the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy."

We were all, of course, supportive of this audacious statement in these times and will continue to patronise the business during weekdays.
Safely across the very busy road into Silverburn estate we stopped for our preplanned picnic in the gardens. "Margaret? What have you done with ma piece?" We were amused at Bob's dependence on his wife for providing the scran. That was a really lovely time just looking closely at our friends and pondering on what was happening in their lives.
Some are facing difficult times, and love and prayers go with them.
Fed and watered, we moved on,but just as far as the toilets! This proved to be a drawn-out affair as there was a long queue for those who wouldn't spend their penny in the gents! We crossed the golf course, silently of course, and saw a few skelps as we pressed on. Now, right at the shore, the view was breathtaking. No wonder folk used to come to Leven for their summer holidays. We walked towards the town again with the sea on our left, breathing in the summer smells of newly mown grass, seaweed, and faintly, the burgers from the amusement arcade on the promenade.

Back through the town we reached Letham Glen in stages as 17 of us couldn't walk at the same rate. But we gathered and said our wee prayer as usual, so may the Lord hold all in the palm of his hand until we meet again.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Due to illness, holidays and other more pressing engagements there were only 7 walkers today, so we left Bennochy Church at 1.00pm in two cars. It was Janice's suggestion to walk around Auchtertool so we all followed her, parking at the newly refurbished Tiel Restaurant ( Kiwi as was) in the village.
We set off down Newbiggin Terrace which leads out into the country but we had to walk in single file for our safety all the same, as the traffic on this road for some reason travels at maximum speed. We hear that there is to be a speed limit imposed shortly; this may be frustrating but welcome if lives are to be saved.
Half a mile ouside the village we turned off to the right on to a single track road and we were able to take in some lovely country views across the fields as well as noting the indigenous flora and fungi in a large copse of trees shown on an old map as Kilnuny Plantation. There were one or two inclines to contend with, but none so steep as to make us puff. Off right again, this time on a track between two fields and it was here that we first had a glimpse of the Forth in the distance. It was a bit overcast but we could still make out the Bass Rock. To our left we discussed what we now know to be Mourn House, now derelict, and we wondered why folk don't buy these old farm cottages as they used to. The scenery is spectacular and no bothersome neighbours after all. Maybe it's something to do with most of the ruins being of historical interest though; there are a few castle remains scattered around Auchtertool - Hallyards, Camilla, and we happened upon Balmuto Castle ancestral home of the Boswells since 15th century. The grounds are private of course but we had a wee rest at the bridge over the burn at the entrance to the Castle drive; a nice spot for the photo shoot.
Further on we stopped to speak to a couple of horses at West Balbairdie Farm, and then without planning it, swapped around so that we had different folk to continue our journey with and more new conversations.
When next we came to a junction, with Kilrie Farm off to our right, we turned left back on to the 'main' road, well it was tarmacked at least,until we reached yet another derelict farm cottage which prompted a discussion about families who would have stayed there and worked the land. Just as we walked on, we noticed to our horror that an area at the road end to Lambert's Mill was covered in the dreaded Japanese knotweed. Some of us had watched a TV programme about this a couple of nights previous so were very knowlegeable on the subject. We talked as if the Triffids had arrived! One thing was obvious though, unless the plant is dealt with timeously then it will invade the adjacent fields very soon.....
Although there was no sun today, neither was there any wind so we were hot and dry by the time we reached the Tiel Restaurant where Janice had arranged some scones, shortbread and coffee for us. We were pleasantly surprised by the environment and asked the nice waitress to take our photo there.
From the head of the table > right we have Grace, Janice, Kerry, Winnie, Sandra, Irene and Dianne. Just a wee pickle of us this week, but a nice wee pickle.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer??? Trip to Dunkeld

“Is this your rainy season?” was the question asked of Mary by two lady visitors from sunnier climes at Dunkeld Cathedral. “No” replied Mary “this is our summer”. Well this should give you an idea of our summer outing – best laid plans and all that.

1pm on Sunday saw 18 of us leaving Dundee University Nursing Campus. Not before wishing Kerry a very happy birthday and giving her a fine rendition of the same. The sun was shining and we were heading north to Birnam and Dunkeld for a lovely circular walk, to culminate with high tea at the Royal Dunkeld Hotel. T in the park was well underway and we were careful to avoid being directed there, although a few members had their offspring there reveling in the mud. Little did we know that before long we would be in a similar situation? A lovely drive to Perth and then the heavens opened. Well some on the bus were certain that when we reached Dunkeld and the bus park the shower would pass, and it did.

All out and first stop the well cared for toilets. 30 pence entry fee but two vases of fresh flowers in the Ladies – I ask you where were the tourists to see such a sight! All refreshed, gathered together and ready to go a wee quiz was handed out just to give a fun element, thankfully in plastic poly pockets. Off we set up the drive towards the Hilton Dunkeld House Hotel.A small herd of deer were seen at quite close hand in Atholl Park. The grounds of the hotel are part of the Perthshire Big Tree Country and we saw some amazing tree specimens.
For those who might want to go back a map of the trees in the grounds can be downloaded from the hotel website. At the top of the drive with the hotel in sight we had the first drops of rain. Donning our jackets, plastic ponchos and assorted rainwear we turned off the drive to walk along the bank of the beautiful River Tay. As determined as we were to enjoy the walk the rain was even more determined.

One stop amongst the trees, which gave some protection we decided to make a dash for Dunkeld Cathedral. We now had to contend with flooded footpaths but we made in into the sanctuary of the Parish Church of Dunkeld. An extract from their web page states the following
“as you enter the Cathedral grounds you will be struck by the beauty of the setting and the sense of peace – a sense of the presence of God. Come as a visitor, but become a pilgrim as you walk where Christians have lived and worshipped for centuries and take some time to pray, to be still and know God”.
After spending some time exploring the treasures held within the church we took the unanimous decision to abandon the walk and head for the hotel. We walked by way of Dunkeld Square, past the Ell shop, Duchess Anne Hall, Atholl Memorial Fountain and the lovely wee houses owned by the National Trust for Scotland, hightailing it to the Royal Dunkeld Hotel. Thankfully our early arrival was anticipated by the hotel staff and they accommodated our request for an earlier tea (not before some member of our group tried drying their clothing with the hand drier in the gents toilet). You would never know by the buzz as we enjoyed our meal that some members were soaked to the skin. Thanks to all for their perseverance.
Happily fed and watered and still raining it was back to the bus for our journey back to Kirkcaldy. Guess what, Kirkcaldy had only had a few wee showers – ah well.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


On Pentecost Sunday we decided to venture to the ancient capital of Scotland ---- no, not Edinburgh or Stirling --- but Dunfermline! Three carloads travelled along to Pittencrieff car park, abandoned our cars and set off through the ‘Glen’ down to the lower gate. Our first stop was at the Andrew Carnegie birthplace museum --- which has recently been renovated and expanded and this was a very interesting visit. We learned a lot about the world’s richest man and greatest philanthropist. Apart from having access to the wee upstairs room where the whole Carnegie family lived (fascinating) we also learned about many other families and companies from elsewhere in Britain and overseas who have given away billions of pounds to the needy (eg the families Rowntree, Cadbury, Heinz and many more).

Then we moved on, up to the ancient Abbey buildings, through the Pends , past the old Royal Palace and into the Abbey Kirk. We were met by Anne Toshack who told us about the history of the Abbey site from the time of King David 1st (and before) – the story about his parents King Malcolm and Queen Margaret (and her sanctification) –then through the Reformation --- right up to the early nineteenth century when the present Abbey Kirk was constructed. We wandered around the Kirk and looked through to the Nave of the ancient Abbey --- built by the same masons who built Durham Cathedral. Of course, we heard the story of King Robert the Bruce and saw the beautiful marble and brass memorial plaque on top of his grave, which lies directly below the Pulpit.

We moved on to the Abbot House for our customary coffee and cake stop---- braw!

Finally, we walked back through the Glen to our starting point.

It was a good visit, and the weather was kind to us!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Torryburn 29th May 2011

Mary and Joe proposed this walk as they happened upon it last year. Once at Torryburn there is a nice flat walk along the shore towards Crombie Point, suitable for wheelchair users. Today it was blawin' a gale but we so enjoyed being buffeted and getting the cobwebs blown away. Then came our visit to the Southern Hemisphere Gardens which proved to be fascinating to all of us. First of all we accessed the gardens through wonderful wrought iron gates which were replicated throughout the area. These were worth discussion even before we reached the plants. The lady who has developed these beautiful gardens, Ursula McHardy, is a botanist whose passion for exotic species and longing to create her own botanic garden was realised only seven years ago. With the help and vision of her daughter and dedicated gardeners she has transformed a neglected overgrown space and woodland. It is a private garden and free to walk around and enjoy but donations are welcome to help with upkeep. There were plants, trees and vegetation from the Antipodes , South America and South Africa as well as some we actually recognised. There were little waterfalls and a pond where the lilies looked as if they were just about to burst. Mrs McHardy had planted each area with the same type of plant eg insect eating ones, rock plants and bog-loving plants. We could have listened to this lady for a long time. She believes in the evolution of plants and spoke scathingly about some new varieties. If her flowers and plants do not turn out 'the same or better than Mama then they are best to be thrown on the compost heap.' A lesson learned. We had to move on though after looking in on her vegetable plot and her chickens, but we all felt we would pay a return visit.
A cirular walk in the countryside brought us back to the cars and then the second delight of the day - fabby scones at Culross Palace! And what a variety! Have you ever fancied a corned beef and beetroot scone? Well, go sample one at Bessie 's Tearoom. Spirits raised, we headed for home.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Thanks must go to Hamish Brown again for planning the route for today's walk. It has been a glorious day in wonderful Fife countryside and our souls are all the better for soaking up the wholesomeness (is that a word?). You can tell this was a good 'un.
We parked at Kettlehill and walked in a circle through Coaltown of Burnturk, Downfield Farm,actually through ploughed fields and over fences, some of us surprised at our own agility. We encountered many heilan' coos and sheep with their wee lambs today, and a prize bull gave us the evil eye as he heard us estimating how many steaks he could provide. We kind of went astray at farm houses called Brotus, but ended up on Middleton Road, the Main Road leading back into Burnturk. We stopped a couple of times on this road to give way to drivers who were clearly not interested in taking in the views. But we also stopped at the best vantage point to enjoy the spectacular views from the Lomonds across the Howe of Fife which was at its best today. Downhill from here on in, we stopped in Burnturk at a dilapidated old house which had a breadbin in the open window. On investigation it seems that daily newspapers are deposited here for collection by the local folk. How quaint.
The pedometer showed only just over 4 miles but we all think it got it wrong again.
On to Muddy Boots for our refreshments and planning for the next couple of walks. 15 friends shared a lovely, healthy afternoon with a lorra lorra laughs. Yecannawhackit.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Woodside to Markinch

Thirteen members of Bennochy Walkers ventured out on a circular walk starting at Lomond Centre, Woodside and descending to the River Leven, crossing at West Mill Cottage. Over the A911 to join the cycle path to the Railway Station in Markinch, then onward & upward to the East Gate entrance of Balbirnie Park. A short walk in the park ensued, culminating in light refreshments at the Laurel Bank Hotel. The homeward leg was via John Dixon Park, Balbirnie Bridge and Alburne Park. Spotting a Heron, en route, was our wildlife treat. The damp conditions were made light of by cheery chat & good companionship

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snowdrop Trail, Valleyfield woods

We began today's walk at Newmills. A couple of weeks ago when we did the practice walk we noted a grand stone archway halfway through the village with a 'Private. No Entry.' sign boldly displayed. Now that's the route we wanted to take so after making some enquiries at a local newsagent, a very helpful assistant phoned the owner to obtain permission for us to access the land. The owner happens to be Lord Wemyss. He lives in Torry House apparently. We didn't stop to say hello but enjoyed the walk through his grounds emerging at the A985 and crossing over to a wooded area. Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud! Even walking in single file we struggled to avoid squelching through some pretty thick black mud. We then had to walk about a mile on country roads, Clinkum Bank and Ayr Street, again in single file, which led us to Valleyfield Woods. We popped into the Riding Centre for Disabled for a nice cuppa and to use the facilities, then onto the Snowdrop trail through the woods. We could have had a guided tour but as there were 18 of us, we thought it best to do our own thing. Mary's grandchildren were with us today and led us through the enchanted woods admiring the carpets of snowdrops and guessing how many there might be! They were just a delight, the children that is. The woods are part of Valleyfield estate and you can still see the remnants of the landscaping created by Humphry Repton a famous 18th century English landscape gardener. Part of a very high wall which surrounded the ornamental gardens, an archway, remains of the kitchen garden and ruins of the gardener's cottage can still be seen. Despite the muddy parts this was a lovely woodland walk and we filled our lungs with good country smells. My geography failed me again though when asked which river was flowing through the estate. The other entrance to/ exit from the woods is back in Newmills so we wandered through the village back to our cars. As always we said a wee prayer before going our separate ways and felt content and grateful for the fellowship our wee group had shared today.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


It started off a really cold morning, and our non-walking kirk friends were fair sorry for us. But we were raring to go today as we hadn't had a walk together since November, so 17 of us jumped in the minibus at 1.00pm and off we scooted on a jolly to Glenrothes. Accentuating the positive is the secret.
We parked up behind St Columba's church and made for Riverside Park, carefully dodging the traffic on Leslie Road. There was still a fair amount of ice in the park, but we chose our steps and avoided any misadventure. Once among the trees however, it was great to walk on leaves and pine cones and we really felt as if we were right out in the country yet we were only yards from the busy A911. The River Leven which we followed for a short stretch was flowing very fast today. Just as the incline began we had to squeeze through a wee space where a pretty big tree had fallen over. Now the trailblazers among us who had our walking poles with us were off at the toot and left the tortoises to bring up the rear. They caught up again at the Fettykil Fox just before crossing over to Whinneyknowe. As we walk, without really being conscious of it, we move position in the group and so constantly change the people we are talking to. Topics are many and varied.
Yes, we're nearly there. We climbed the stairs from Ballingall Drive, pausing only for a short blaw, and reached today's watering hole, Balgeddie House Hotel. We had given the hotel a bit of advance warning that we'd be wearing walking boots so we were directed to Spencer's bar on arrival. Little did we expect a very pleasant welcome from management and shown to tables all laid out in readiness for us. The hotel had ordered in scones especially for us with strawberry jam and cream. Whatsmore the sun was streaming in through the windows at that time and it all made for a delightful wee breather. Once refreshed, it was all downhill from there, and you could hear some sighs of relief. We did come upon a really lovely part of the walk where we had to walk under the A911 with another fast flowing river on our right. But none of us knew which river that was.

Emerging at the pond, again back in Riverside Park, we noted that the snowdrops were beginning to poke their wee green shoots through the hard ground. The first sign of spring. In a few weeks there will be carpets of snowdrops and crocuses on all of the green spaces in Glenrothes Town Centre. A sight to behold each year. Apologies, I had kept the next and last incline a secret until now. So after a few more groans and pechts we reached the housing scheme and back on the level once more. The light beginning to change now we piled into the minibus for our homeward journey. 4.2 miles in almost three hours! Now that was a dawdle.