Sunday, June 24, 2012


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.