Sunday, July 26, 2015

Markinch to Leslie


For a variety of reasons, many of our group had to pull out of today's walk so there were only ten of us made the journey to Markinch Railway Station where we parked up. The route started at Carleton House, property of the local authority, but one time the world famous John Haig Whisky bottling factory.

Dimple Whisky 70cl

Some of us will remember the famous Haig's Dimple in it's distinctive pinched bottle with its gilded mesh. So if you have one of these unopened little gems from the '70s at the back of your drinks cabinet it will be worth a cool £80 now.
The route was formally the Markinch - Leslie railway line, closed in the 1960s - hardly any of the tracks still visible. So on tarmac almost all the way, we crossed the Balbirnie viaduct at which we read the Leslie Railway Line plaque which  told us that we had another 4.5 miles to go to reach Leslie.
Engrossed in conversations, we didn't note too much of the surroundings, and with the weather looking ominous, we were making progress rather than stopping and admiring the views as we usually do. At a choice of two paths, we chose the left as the right would have taken us to the sadly, former Tullis Russell Papermills which closed recently . This would have been Auchmuty Junction when the railway was in use. We emerged into Alburne Park, from there walking under the A92 towards the Lomond Centre. The path we took up is actually the cycle path through Glenrothes called Boblingen Way and so it was a good surface, easy walking. Some way into Warout Wood, we needed an energy boost so the sweetie bag was passed around with the usual instruction, "one for your mouth and one for your pocket."
Passing some industrial buildings, the familiar outline of the Lomonds came into view. We Fifers must have the contours of these hills etched on our brains - they are always strangely comforting. 
Now crossing the busy South Parks Road  we approached the 14 arch Leslie viaduct which took us over the River Leven and a herd of black cattle below.
The last stretch of the legs up the brae called Cabbagehall past the site of Fettykil, yet another of the papermills for which this part of Fife was well known and yes, now also defunct. Time for coffee and scones. Well, at the risk of being offensive Leslie, I couldn't think of a nice coffee shop ( but have since been informed of one - the Twa Hens)  so who else might make good scones? Correct. The Women's Guild at Trinity Parish Church of course.
The ladies had the tables set for our arrival and we were well impressed by the welcome we had there and the goodies on offer. Thank you Mary and friends for providing us with refreshments.
Hope you can call in at Bennochy some Thursday morning to the Olive Branch Community Café where we can reciprocate with coffee and homemade cakes. ( unashamed plug!)
Another lovely, healthy afternoon spent with good friends.
How fortunate we are.


Twenty members of the group set off by car for Falkland where we caught the bus, which we nearly filled, must have made it the busiest journey for some time on this route.  We were whisked away to Strathmiglo, deposited outside the local pub and waved away by a very bemused driver.  Made our way down through California (yes honestly) to reach the path for Falkland.  Bit of an ascent initially for a quarter of a mile, but the next stretch to woodland provided panoramic views eastward to Dunshalt and westward to Gateside.  A pleasant day, fair, overcast and warm.  Traversed the woodland path and minor road to the Pillars of Hercules with the Lomond Hills for company along our route.  More woodland followed with the Squirrel Walk before passing the cricket ground and a tented village which had been erected in conjunction with Youth Theatre and then back into Falkland.  The walk was just short of five miles, a canny dander indeed.  Next stop, the Lomond Hotel, Freuchie, for relaxation over a cuppa and the customary scone with mouth watering additions.