Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kirkcaldy

There was a lot to pack in this afternoon so we just had a dander around about the town. We walked down Salisbury Street, along Balsusney Road and emerged at Bennochy Bridge. Crossing at the roundabout, 18 of us plus babe in pram walked along Forth Avenue humming 'the Hens' March to the Middens.' Along Oriel Rd we split up, most of us taking the route through the woods while Joe and Mary walked on the path straight up Oriel Road with their great nephew, Charlie, in the pram. Meeting up again at the top of Broom Road, we all headed up Longbraes in pairs, like a nursery school outing. Folk in cars looked on in wonder.
Mary took this photo at the top of the hill; you can just see the new hospital at the right of the picture, and Rona who had commandeered the pram by that time from the other pseudo grans.
Heading downwards, Bennochy Road took us right down to Forth Park, as was, and the church was just a few minutes away. Bob and Margaret who couldn't make the walk, opened up the church for us and had glasses of ginger wine ready to warm the cockles on this bitter, but beautiful winter's day.
Now, as this was our Christmas walk, we had a daft craft to complete before we could get our refreshments. As you can see by the photos, it was more of a puzzle than a craft but we did manage to create 18 twig stars out of, yes, twigs. Some folk were not entirely convinced that these are trendy. They are certainly rustic and organic, if you like that sort of thing. Here is one in situ with fat ball attached for the little robins to feast on.
We then retired to the Methven hall where we had cinnamon scones and chocolate roulade ( thank you Janis) and a hot cup of kirk tea. Yecannywhackit.



Even baby Charlie needed refreshed. Grandad Bob was happy to oblige.


They thought it was all over............
just to finish off on a Christmas note, we had a wee quiz won by Bob, Margaret, Pat*, Margaret* and Janet.
          .. ....it is now.
(*welcome to these two new walkers. We hope you come again.)

That's all for this year folks, but already working on the first walk of 2013.


May the spirit of the season warm your hearts. Peace, love and Christmas joy to all.




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lundin Links

'Not a lot of walking but a whole lot of fun' was how we advertised today's outing to Lundin Links. A church friend passed on this good idea to our group and Mary took it on board to get organised. It was a Murder Mystery created by a company called Treasure Trails Ltd. The company is based in Cornwall and have created these trails all over the UK - there are 18 in Fife! It proved to be a good team building activity and also very suitable for families. It made a great change, especially as we didn't want to be walking too many miles in the cold today. After splitting into teams Mary allowed 2 minutes between each team before we set off on the trail to reduce the possibility of cheating. At clue number one we were all stumped so had to get a wee hint to get us off our marks. From there we caught the drift and worked our way through Lundin Links walking 2.5 miles without even noticing.
There were 24 clues on walls, windows, pub signs and telegraph poles but we managed to get all of them and discovered who committed the murder and with which weapon. Case solved Hercule!
It was amazing how competitive  the sleuths among us became and how stealthily we shared information among our team just incase a spy was eavesdropping.
We met up at Jane's coffee shop on the Main Street where we had a lovely coffee and scone and some of us did some Christmas shopping in the gift shop there.
It was indeed a whole lot of fun, so much so, Mary is already planning to purchase the Falkland Trail so that our group can have a go next summer. Thank you Mary and Joe who did the practice trail with their family TWICE before today. Belt and braces.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Monimail, Cupar

British Summer Time officially ended during last night, but there was a bonus of an extra hour snuggling up in bed this morning. So when we left church a little later at 1.05 and travelling further afield than usual, we had to keep in mind that darkness would fall swiftly at the other end.
We parked at the village hall at Letham and proceeded on a gentle incline up 'the Row' where the entire street of houses were all attached and all on the same side. We passed the Old Post Office, now a house, and Letham primary school right at the top of the hill. At that point we tucked our trousers into our socks, heeding the warning that this walk would be glaury. We walked towards Nisbetfield Farm, then a dogleg turn took us between fields back to Monimail Road. A little way along this road we came on Monimail church, a handsome building in well kept condition. Just beyond there we turned off to the right where we came across a perfectly peaceful little cemetery where one of our members stopped to remember her grandparents. We moved on, avoiding the muddy parts where possible, and enjoying the lovely countryside views and smells. At a crossroads, there was some debate about which way to turn. The practice walk had taken two of our members through a forest where the trees had been felled so required a level of fitness to negotiate, straddle and hurdle over. Not wishing to lead the group on this assault course we chose to take the safe route pointing back to Monimail. We had planned a visit to the Monimail Tower Project (scottish charity sco 01481) and surrounding grounds and orchard, the upkeep of which is undertaken by volunteers, trustees of the charity and people who simply choose to live there and live off the land and the forest.
We were met by Sam who was new to the project having only lived there since August. Currently there are only three people living at the community house but there is room for eight  plus accommodation for volunteers who come for a few days at a time. The community was working in the allotments when we arrived turning over the ground ready for onions to be planted. Sam took us to the Tower and we stood on the roof from where we had a 360° view of the walled gardens and the orchard all dating back to 15th century. Clearly, there is far too much work here for a few volunteers but it is good that their work is able to preserve the lime-washed Tower as well as provide an alternative lifestyle to those who choose. Occasionally there are open days when traditional woodcrafts and skills are on display. We saw an example of willow weaving which was really beautiful.

The orchard produces apples, pears, greengages and berries all used by those who live there and used to make jams etc to sell and barter. The apples proved irresistible to some of our group who shall remain nameless.    The latrine was a source of amusement, though very civilised with convenience of a candle, bowl and pitcher and floral display.

the kludgie
Sam very kindly made a cup of tea for us and we all sat in the 'sitooterie' to have some refreshments and pet Obi the community cat.The group gave a donation to the project and after a shot in the hammock, we left before the sun went down.
 Unfortunately we did mean to see Melville House, a magnificent stately home just through the trees from the MTP but as the sign on the gate dissuaded us from entering, only a couple of us went to have a closer look. From the 1960s to 1990s the building was a school for boys who did not cope with meanstream education. Isobel recalled her first job there as a cook when she was only 17.
 
Making haste now, we only had a mile to walk to take us back into the lovely wee hamlet of Letham. No shops, no pubs. But there is a nice playpark there for children. We all agreed that we had been fortunate once more to have had good weather, blue skies actually, and as always good company with new friendships formed and old ones cemented.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Limekilns and Charleston


 What a wonderful day this has been. 14 walkers arrived at Limekilns parking up just beyond the marina. Right away I heard comments about Goliath, the mammoth crane which is sited at Rosyth Dockyard and which dominates the skyline. It was unusual seeing the bridges from the other side too; we nearly always view them from the east side with the Forth Bridge in the foreground. The Forth was like a reservoir today with hardly a ripple between us and Blackness Castle on the other side.

The walk along the promenade was just glorious and there was a real good feeling of wellbeing as we chatted, laughed, caught up with friends. We noted this treehouse and thought what a great ganghut it would be for the children of that family. There was a wee quiet buzz around the Ship Inn, painted black and white with typical maritime décor, which had folk sitting outside with their beers enjoying the sunshine and the peaceful views of the Pentlands. Other than that, there was silence.

                                                                             
Charleston is really just an extension of Limekilns, but has its own harbour with wee boats basking in the sunshine today. We passed the old limekilns which are derelict now and from there also saw Ironmill Bay and Crombie Pier where the Royal Navy stores it’s armaments. We found a short cut taking us from the shore up to a higher level where we landed on the Craw Road. I’ve always done my best to avoid going down the Craw Road but here is proof we were all there today. From there we emerged onto West Road which had a fair amount of traffic for a country road. Along this stretch, conversations overheard ranged from the hedgerows heavy with wild berries, hips and haws and their health properties, to when would be a good time to change wardrobes from summer to winter clothing. We turned off the road at a farm which signalled that we were on the second half of our walk already. This road brought us out at the old granary at Charleston and we commented on the wee Post Office which served as a Johnny a’thing in the village. Nearby is The Scottish Lime Centre which promotes and educates in the traditional skills required for the conservation, repair and maintenance of historic buildings. We were enthralled at the long rows of wee cottages and the peace and quiet and cleanliness of this village. We nipped down a passageway between houses and  came out at the village green where children were having fun at the swingpark in safety. From there we could see the venue for our refreshments, The Elgin Hotel. On approaching the hotel, whilst appreciating the design and architecture of the building above her, poor Mary had a tumble. Thankfully, not badly injured, but she’ll have to lay off the modelling for a while till these skint knees heal over. The hotel was ready for us with 14 places set with lovely scones and a good cup of tea. Great service from the young waitress with free top up of tea and coffee. Full marks Elgin Hotel. 
 We will share the good service with others and patronise ourselves in future. Once refreshed, we were off at the toot as I had misjudged the time.  I had hoped to be able to pop into The Kilns, a wee gift shop in Limekilns before they closed at 4.00pm, and we just made it with minutes to spare. It was welcomed by the owners I think, and appreciated by our ladies who are somehow drawn to shops like these. A good few purchases were made. We took time to admire the pretty brightly painted little houses with cyclamen in hanging baskets, the sundial on the wall of the newly opened sundial café and ongoing renovation of old property. These little villages which seem to be tucked away from civilisation are very much alive. The summer Gala website demonstrates their community spirit.

We wandered back to our cars in a most contented manner having had the best of the day and the best of company.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Aberdour

Two new walkers, Ian and Sybil joined us today making 12 in the group.We left the church at 1pm and made our way to the car park overlooking the sea at Burntisland.
We started the walk by going around the headland that leads to the harbour.We had only been walking about 5 minutes when the rain came on. It was really heavy, almost horizontal. Thankfully it only lasted 10 minutes but we got quite wet.
The sun came out as we passed by the station. We carried on up to Rossend Castle and down through the houses to the coastal path. The tunnel that goes under the railway line was actually dry as was the rest of the path to Aberdour.
Everyone enjoyed the lovely views of the Forth as we walked along. The tide was in so we didn't see any seals sunning themselves on the rocks, but we were all impressed with the waterfall. Soon we were nearly at our destinations the Silver Sands and the cafe came into view. The tables and chairs were out on the terrace but we decided to sit inside in case it rained again. I think most of us had tea and scones;we all agreed that the new cafe was just what was needed at the beach.
As we walked back to Burntisland we reflected on the fact that we are really lucky to have the great facility of a coastal path on our doorstep and especially as it was voted no.5 out of the best 6 coastal walks in the UK by the Daily Mail (sat 15th September). We are truly blessed.
Back at Burntisland we walked through the town, over the links and back to the car park.
We thanked Ian and Sybil for joining the group and hoped they would come again. We finished with the walkers' prayer. It was a super afternoon out with great company. 

Janis McDonald, walk leader

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crook of Devon



We ventured out of Fife this time for a wee change travelling by minibus to the Crook of Devon, Kinross. Not Perthshire.
The first half of the walk took us past County Fabrics, and Fossoway Primary School then off into the countryside. We smelled the woodsmoke and heard the sausages sizzling long before we reached the Scout camp. The tents looked mighty drookit after the rainfall they must have had last night. The Ochils were up ahead and we compared the view favourably with our own Lomonds. We crossed a new extremely sturdy bridge across the Devon. We reckon it will be there for a good fifty years. The path took us along the riverside but it was very boggy at parts and we did have to do a triple jump over one stretch. Into the forest there was a good path and this allowed our feet to dry off a little.  The next landmark was Lendrick Muir  which is currently owned and run by the Scripture Union.

This is a fabulous resource for young people with exciting outdoor activities, sports halls, meeting room s etc. Even old folk might love the fun here - maybe Bennochy's Trustees could go on a team building weekend? Moving on.....

Now according to the map taken from the internet, there ought to have been a bridge which would take us across the Devon again. Apparently though it was washed away a couple of years ago and not replaced. So we had a wee clamber through the woods at Rumbling Bridge Gorge which was really lovely. The gorge is quite spectacular especially the waterfalls after heavy rain.When we reached the actual Rumbling Bridge, or bridges as seen in the photo below, there was a two feet step which the diminutive among us required a fireman's lift to surmount, before we could walk across to the other side.

 
Now on the south of the river we headed back to the village of Crook of Devon where the innkeeper was waiting for us with hot drinks and biscuits. And once refreshed we took a brisk walk,as it was raining by then, along the High Street back to the minibus. Fifteen walkers today - every one a trouper.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kinghorn

Most of us chose to take the train along to Kinghorn as we can travel very cheaply when we flash our MyFife cards. We didn't expect many walkers as today's route was less than three miles, a mere stretch of the legs. However 17 of us turned up and we got off to a good start from Kinghorn station, crossed at the monument and headed for the golf course. It was quite amusing when we were crossing the road; the traffic stopped to allow us across in safety like little ducklings, schoolchildren or maybe the auld and bewildered.
As we passed the clubhouse, the path began to slope upwards a tad and so we stopped halfway to take in some air as well as the coastline from Fifeness at the most westerly point of Fife down to the Salisbury Crags protecting our capital city across the Forth. The Bass rock and Berwick Law were right there on the horizon, the May Island to the north and Inchkeith and Inchcolm to the south. You would simply never tire of this magnificent panorama.
At the top, we passed the Pettycur Caravan Park where many of the caravans at the highest point are residential, for obvious reasons. On past Gallowhill plantation and Grangehill House and a downward slope which we appreciated. It was a good surface to walk and the path wide enough for 3 abreast; conducive to good conversations being struck up. Coming towards the B923 with the Binn up there to our left, we chose to go right. We gathered for a photo shoot, those pictured here seemingly happy to be incarcerated.
A very silly joke from childhood ran through my head, 
                           There were two hedgehogs standing at the side of the road.
                           One turns to the other and says, "Shall we cross the road?"
                           The other one says, "No! Look what happened to the zebra!"
However, with Bob D on crossing patrol, thankfully we managed to safely traverse the very busy 'loch road' between Kinghorn and Burntisland.
Now the incline at the start of the walk had been intimated beforehand but here was another unexpected one, with chopped down trees and lots of glaur to negotiate around. We took it at a canny pace though, just enough to raise the heart rate a little, and emerged from the woods looking down on Craigencalt and Kinghorn Loch. Craigencalt Ecology Centre has become an educational centre for sustainable ecological projects and wildlife, as well as encouraging people of all backgrounds and abilities to come and volunteer in all of the conservation work that goes on. A great asset for Kinghorn and our environment.
The loch was a bit choppy today and so the ducks and geese, dozens of them, were on dry land and approached us menacingly when we were on their territory. We had to shout, "Christmas!" so that they would scarper long enough to let us get another photo taken.
We didn't visit the Ecology Centre because there were too many of us to sneak in without paying. We walked along the road leading to Red Path Brae, or the 'kissing trees road' as known, but didn't go there as it is really too narrow and twisty to be safe for 17 walkers. So back to civilisation again via Kilcruik Road and we admired all the lovely big houses there, one of which is on sale right now for a mere half mill. Into Townhead we passed many 18th and 19th century houses which are being kept in good order by their owners. Further downhill we move further back in time in North Overgate with a variety of very old buildings with a long history. Just then, the smirr made an appearance which signalled time for refreshments. We discovered it is not easy to get a cuppa in Kinghorn at 3pm, however the Carousel obliged and we had time to rest and debrief before getting the train back to the Lang Toun.  Another good one notched up.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Springfield

We've been looking forward to this walk for some considerable time. Starting at Fluthers car park we walked along the side of the river which was running fast and very high. It had clearly flooded over onto the paths recently according to the mud we had to wade through. Along Millgate and up Millbank brought us to a nice flat road which led to Cuparmuir, a quaint little settlement of around 35 houses and a red telephone box. Hilda stopped to make a call there. NB the Urtica dioica - a jaggy nettle to you and me - being cultivated in the corner of the kiosk.
We cut through at Elmwood Farm, part of the Elmwood college campus where students are trained in equine studies, agriculture, the breeding of sheep and farm animals, and general care of pets. What a great facility for the young people of Fife. We all remarked how clean and healthy the ewes looked.
Every now and then we popped our raincoats on but in the main  we were staying dry.
We reached Stratheden Hospital where a football match was taking place and we walked through the grounds which are very well kept. The hospital buildings are typical of what you imagine a 19th century asylum to look like and yet we admired the architecture, and that of the adjacent nursing home, built to replicate the original building, but now vacant. Leaving the hospital grounds behind we walked along the edge of Springfield Woods noting to our right Uthrogle Mills where Quaker make our porridge oats.
At the end of this path just before we reached Springfield, the sun simply burst out showing off the green checkered landscape in all it's glory. Now this is the weather we planned, but as there was no guarantee, we had booked the church hall for an hour so that we could have our picnic and use their facilities. Belt and braces. The minister had very kindly agreed to this request and directed me to the house of Mrs Paul, the senior elder at Springfield Church, and the Keeper of the Keys. She was delightful and gave me the keys to allow us access to the church hall. Well, we do get around the coffee shops in Fife you know (and score them according to the quality of scone),  but they paled into insignificance when we walked into Springfield church hall. We all just ahhhed. The smell, the photos on the walls, the history it held made us all smile and remember our youth and imagine all the coffee mornings, guild concerts, session meetings and fellowship that wee building has witnessed. Long may it be preserved. When I returned the keys and a wee contribution to Mrs Paul afterwards she disclosed that she was 96 yrs old. Well, may she also be preserved; another Springfield treasure. Thank you Rev Campbell for allowing our group to experience the hall.

Onward we did wend taking the route via Elmwood Golf Course where the fairways looked lush and the greens manicured. We kept our heads low as we crossed the course to reach the path which would take us back to Cuparmuir again. Sun was scorching and the rain was drizzling through at the same time. Wacky or what.
Now this was a 7 mile one today, for most of us. But our Mary had skipped communion this morning to do the Race for Life and so she had another 5k under her belt, yet she strode out showing up some of us who were waning. There were only seven of us which is the fewest we have had for a long time. Plenty of chat as always though; what a great bunch of friends we are. Almost back at the cars, the rain came on for real this time, but we still took time to stand behind the toilet block to say a wee prayer.
We sung it today actually, to the tune  Ae fond kiss.


                                         May the God of peace go with us;

                                         as we travel from this place

                                         may the love of Jesus keep us

                                         firm in hope and full of grace.

Go on then. Sing up.








Sunday, May 27, 2012

Loch Leven

http://www.lochlevenheritagetrail.co.uk/LLHT_map.pdf

We've been planning this walk for a year knowing that we ought to avoid the height of summer as we'd be eaten alive with midges down by the loch. As it happens, today was an absolute scorcher,  so we we were very fortunate that it was too hot even for the midges. 
We began at Kinross Pier where we took in a terrific view of the loch, Lochleven Castle and the hills beyond. Good for the soul. So, laggered with our factor 50+ and donning an assortment of interesting headgear, off we toddled in twos like nursery kids.
Kirkgate Park was very busy with families playing ball games, swimming in the loch and having barbeques. The scouts were there too having a raft-building competition and it was a lovely atmosphere.This was to be a 7 mile walk so no dilly-dallying, in fact perhaps we should have stopped and stared a little more today.
However we had to get caught up with each others' lives which is always interesting. We usually like to do circular walks but it was a case of there and back today so we stopped just short of Carsewell Bog and returned by the same route, stopping at Burleigh Sands for a wee rest and some photos. And at Mary's gate we went through the woods, around the Golf course and through Kinross town just to vary the walk a little.

  Refreshments were at the Bistro back at the Pier  so we sat under huge sunshades on the wooden decking looking out over the Loch; it must have been over 22 degrees, hotter that Turkey today according to Joe.
Just glorious.
We did have to wait a good half hour to be served with our coffee and scones but we were in such good moods, we just enjoyed the company.





Sunday, May 13, 2012

Falkland Estate

We had a lovely service at church this morning. The Albany Deaf Choir visited and the congregation was enthralled with the choir's signing of the Lord's Prayer and several well known hymns. Today is also the beginning of Christian Aid week so we had an encouraging sermon from Robin followed by a soup and sweet lunch provided by the talented Bennochy cooks in aid of CA. Lots of thoughts and emotions today then; plenty to be going on with all week.
So we left much later than usual in 3 cars heading for Falkland. Parking up at the main car park we put our hoods up (!) and wandered through the historic royal burgh soaking up the passage of time.We discussed the cottages as we passed, most of which are at least 200 years old but have been renovated to a very high standard, situated in an idyllic setting, surrounded by rustic charm and overseen by the magnificent palace. I've been watching too many episodes of Location, Location, Location.  As we left the town we admired Falkland Hill up there to our left - been there. Done that.

Just into the estate we passed Falkland House which is  a residential school for boys who have additional support needs, and then we were into the trees. What a lovely walk through the woods, over wee bridges, through a tunnel and we hardly noticed that we had already begun to climb through Maspie Den. There were a few glaury and quite dangerous areas where the recent rains had made the stone steps slimy. The steps began to get steeper but there was not a suitable place to stop for a rest so we just had to pech and keep going, conscious of one of our walkers who has had a recent op but still determined to get to the top. We gathered for a photo at the Yad waterfall and the overhanging rock  then a wee short burst of energy brought us to the very top and that's where we absorbed the view of the East Lomond and beyond.

Sometimes it is just as difficult to go downhill as up, so a few were complaining about knee pain as we descended through the forest, noting all the trees still left upturned, some over paths, probably since the gales we had in January. As we emerged from the woods we came upon a house and workshop - Tom's Place - where Tom spends his days making garden furniture from wood. Thank you to Tom for showing us photos of the Temple of Decision which we didnt have time to visit today, and also of Falkland House School. Some of us were very interested in the school and plan to visit at the open day in September.Still descending we passed a dry stane dyke which had face-stones with old Scots words engraved - Bletherin', Stravaigin' etc and then into more woods before we eventually reached our watering hole for today - the Pillars of Hercules. Wacky name for this lovely organic cafe and shop where you do get an exceptional quality of coffee and home baking. Yum yum.

.
After a nice rest we retraced our path until we reached the 'Bletherin' dyke then took a short cut past the cricket pitch to get back to Falkand again.
Only 8 hail-hertit kempies braved the wind and rain today although due to the amount of blethers we had to take part in as we walked, we hardly noticed the weather at all until we returned to the cars. It's good to hear folk asking about the next walk already.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

East Wemyss to Kirkcaldy

On the way to church this morning I noted that the thunderclouds were nursing their wrath across the Forth and I prayed they would remain over the Lothians. Naughty.
Today was the return meeting of Bennochy and St Andrew's Erskine Walking groups and we had planned to do part of the coastal path. We assembled outside the kirk at 1.30 and shoogled into as few cars as possible to take us to Pathhead Village where we caught the No 13. There were so many walkers getting on the bus the driver's schedule went skew-wiff as it took a good 8 minutes to swipe all the bus passes - some of us young ones had to cough up £2.40 for the fare though. It was a bit of a mystery tour but we got to East Wemyss around 2.30 and began our walk at Macduff Castle descending very steeps stairs to the coast below. Now if I had done my homework, I would have been able to describe the Wemyss caves which do actually start below Macduff Castle. They are not open to the public any longer except for organised tours during the summer months. Apologies to Charlie for giving duff information; the caves are at East Wemyss, not West Wemyss. Must do better.

It was nice to speak to new people, discovering a little about their lives and comparing notes about churches. To start with, the sun was hitting the Forth and it glittered like glass. I recognised sandpipers at the waters edge. All very pleasing. Ah well, by the time we were approaching West Wemyss, the heavens had opened and we had to don our waterproofs pretty sharpish. This did not dampen our spirits though or halt conversations in any way. That's what becomes of hoping bad weather stays with the folk across the water.
Only about 50 feet above sea level we noted Wemyss Castle. This 12th century castle is the ancient seat of the Earls of Wemyss and their families and is currently inhabited by the clan chief Michael Wemyss and his wife Charlotte. Looks a bit like Colditz don't you think?
This next photo is of a mosaic created by children from the local primary school and adults from the community with the permission of Michael Wemyss. Swans are depicted on the Wemyss family crest and also the Primary school emblem. There is also a Sycamore bench there, created by a local craftsman though we didn't take time to rest.
We reached the village of West Wemyss passing the church which was bought by the Wemyss family from the Church of Scotland promising the upkeep of the exterior provided that it always remains a church. We should be grateful that this condition ensures that worship will continue here for the foreseeable future. This quaint little village has a lot of history still to see including the Tolbooth dating back to 1511 and again the Wemyss family has been instrumental in protecting, renovating and investing to keep the village alive. Very recently the Wemyss Arms was renovated through funding from the Lottery and is now a very attractive Bistro and Hostel called the Walk Inn. Let me recommend the onion soup with crusty bread and the ploughman's lunch.
Just outside the village is the lovely little harbour which now only has a few small pleasure boats but historically was a busy port exporting coal and bringing back wood, flax and iron from Baltic countries. 
We knew that, just as we had descended all those steps at the beginning of the walk, we would have to ascend at some stage so here we are hanging on for dear life as the steps were steep and treacherous at some parts. But the view of the Wemyss at the top was worth getting puffed for, though the photo below is a bit peely-wally and doesn't do the view justice.
 
Following the formidable red stone sea wall to the former Royal Burgh of Dysart, and now dried out considerably, we stopped for a photo shoot with Pan Ha' and St Serf's Tower in the background. Pan - from the salt pans which lay here on the Ha' - haugh meaning flat land. St Serf's Tower is the only remaining part of the church and tower and was used as a battlement in the World Wars.

Onward past the picturesque harbour at Dysart, we enjoyed reading the names of the boats. Through the tunnel and we could see Ravenscraig Park above us. At this point, I heard the words, tea... coffee...cookies... so I phoned Margaret and Bob who had offered to open the kirk up and get the kettle boiling for our return. Steps now quickening we emerged from the park onto Dysart Road and crossed to Pathhead village where we had left our cars.
As promised, the refreshments were ready waiting for us at the church (in the St Andrew's hall actually), and we were ready for them. Charlie, leader of St Andrew's group, thanked the Bennochy folk for the goodies etc and acknowledged that the groups have an affinity. We think we will meet again.
And before they left we simply had to go into the sanctuary and show off our new stained glass window to our new St Andrew's friends which received their glowing admiration.
Thank you Isobel, Charlie, Jane, Moira, Mary, Dave, Vicky, Thelma and Lorraine for your good company today. Fond thoughts.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Morning 8th April 2012

Up with the larks this morning the walkers left the church at 0730 heading for Falkland Hill. We took the minibus hoping that we might have some new people just wanting a taster on Easter morning. We did have one newbie, Lewis, who was enticed to come along by the promise of a bacon butty back at the church. We missed several of our usual walkers, some of whom had a doctor's line.
It was a lovely clear morning, though a bit parky, and even from the car park at Purin Hill we saw for miles across the Forth, north to south. We chose a nice flat spot to have a wee short time of celebration. Rona gave us the Easter message - old familiar words delivered in her own inimitable way, and Charlie prayed a lovely prayer, almost in verse. Thank you R & C. We all sang a couple of hymns - and we really belted them out - and felt content with this good start to Easter Day.
Meanwhile, in the background, Lewis was getting the tail secured onto the kite, and as we began the climb up the East Lomond, it was sent flying with the message HE IS RISEN for all to see. We had some fantoosh stunts and a couple of nose dives (the kite that is) but the wind was just strong enough to keep it flying a good long time. Other people we passed who had already been up the hill asked us for a photo of our kite, so they must have the message as well. video

We all climbed at different rates but gathered at the top to take in the terrific 360o views across Fife and the Lothians and as far as the Ochils for those with good sight. Falkland village nestled below and looked like it wasn't quite awake yet.  Now its not as easy as you'd imagine to come down a hill; you have to be careful not to overbalance and go head over heels. So we were all looking at our feet watching every step we took, not really paying much attention to where we were being led. And so a short detour was taken across the long grass, ' just for a wee change of scenery', according to the male leader. Aye, right.....
We still had wonderful views as we drove down the hill in the minibus, taking in the landscape which resembled quilting created in every shade of green and brown. It was a rather quiet return journey, all of us now anticipating the smell of bacon sizzling in the pan back at the kirk.
As expected, Janis and Hilda got their sleeves up at the cooker the moment we returned and the rest of us made preparations  for the breakfast. Sharing breakfast is a time of fellowship which always seems more meaningful than other meals, especially on a morning such as today. Janis had made a beautiful lemon cake for us as well so we were fed way beyond sufficiency.
We were looking forward to hearing Robin this morning and we were not disappointed. A contemporary slant on the Easter service lifted our spirits, but of course we had to finish with a rendering of Maccabeus that GF Handel composed in 1746 so surely something for everyone today.
Braw singing Bennochy.


                  He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! is the message for Easter Day.


And He is still rolling stones away.