After our stop at Falkland this morning we head towards Kinross to do our main walk around Loch Leven. Our starting point is the car park at Burleigh Sands at the north end of the Loch. It is a short wander down to the edge of the Loch, which we decide to walk around anti-clockwise.
It is a warm afternoon and initially there are a few people about, but by the time we have walked a few hundred yards we are all alone, with just the occasional walker or rider passing in the opposite direction.
We pass Mary’s Gate said to be on the route taken by Queen Mary on her way to imprisonment at Lochleven Castle on Castle Island. Apparently this gate dates from after Mary’s time so the accuracy of the tale is not clear. The path continues through interesting woodland before reaching the walls of Kinross House from where we first get views of Lochleven Castle.
It was originally a Royal castle and records show that Robert the Bruce stored part of the Royal Exchequer here in 1329. Mary Queen of Scots is known to have visited on a few occasions before being imprisoned at the Castle in 1567. She escaped in May 1598 and shortly afterwards was exiled to England.
After rounding Kinross Point we go through Kirkgate Park, a popular spot on this sunny afternoon. The café at nearby Kinross Pier it is doing a brisk trade, encouraged by the sunshine Lynnie makes for the ice cream booth whilst I wander around by the waters edge. As often happens a dog lover cannot resist coming up to pet the boys. We chat away about dogs, but as soon as Lynnie returns with an ice cream both dogs lose interest in their new friend!
The route now carries on in the open towards the Vane Farm RSPB reserve. It has become very hot and humid, not the most pleasant of afternoons to be walking so we are all relieved to get a bit of shade at East Brackley Viewpoint.
This is a great spot to enjoy a full view of the scale of the lake with the West Lomond hills high above us on the right.
Continuing on our way we reach Vane Farm RSPB centre an ideal place to stop and get some fresh water for the dogs and a longed for cool drink for Lynnie who declares she is melting. In the distance we see clouds building up and the local consensus is that there will be a storm before the afternoon is out. So we don’t dally and are soon on our way again.
We walk for a further mile before hearing the first clap of thunder. Lynnie has recently been reading about the precautions to take when out in thunder and lightening. We continue cautiously with a mind to seek some safe shelter if this develops into a full-blown storm.
With thunder rumbling in the distance we pass Levenmouth Sluice House. Built in 1830 this building spans the river and has five sluice gates controlling the flow of water from the loch.
Our walk continues alongside the River Leven Cut constructed to enable with the sluices, the water level of the loch to be lowered in the 1830’s. This work increased the farmland around the loch by almost 1,100 acres. It is a large lake to walk around now, but it must have been huge.
Crossing the cut at a bridge we follow the path through Levenmouth Wood, the relatively cool shade of the trees is very welcome after the oppressive heat of the open countryside, we have been in for much of the walk. Emerging from the trees the route goes through Carsehall Bog and from here we continue the circuit back to the car. My Suunto Traverse says we have covered almost twelve miles, I have read elsewhere that the trail is thirteen miles around, so wonder if the GPS on my watch is under reading.
Amazingly we have escaped without a drop of rain although we have been surrounded by dark threatening clouds and grumbling thunder. After driving a couple of miles the roads are absolutely soaking and it is clear that we have just missed a heavy storm. Back at Knockhill CL we take a short stroll down to the village pub, The Straithkinness Tavern. We have read good reviews and they are certainly justified, the food is outstanding, the beer spot on and the atmosphere warm and friendly. We kick ourselves for not having visited earlier in the week. There are many reasons to revisit this area and this pub is certainly one of them.
7th June 2016
[To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map 369 – Perth & Kinross]
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2016)