The sun is shining, so there is no better place to be than walking in the hills. The nearest decent climb to Knockhill CL is the Lomond Hills. Our starting place for the walk is Falkland, we are told by Mrs Wade, the site owner, that this is a lovely village.
As we drive into the village we can see that it is an interesting place, but we need to do some serious walking before we can start exploring the village.
We leave the village by heading up hill past the now closed Smith Anderson bag factory. This closed a couple of years ago and about 200 people were relocated to the companies new premises in Kirkcaldy. According the the local news paper, Fife Today, Smith Anderson produce 50 million paper bags per week. Surely this must be a misprint? Assuming they work for 24 hours a day and seven days a week that is still nearly 5,000 bags per minute!
After the factory we reach a track in some woodland with a footpath to East Lomond, and then keep right at the fork. Soon we reach steps on our left and start to climb through the trees. This is a long and steep climb continuing up steps for most of the way until we reach a gate and then continue on the path as it climbs to a further gate. It is a hot afternoon and we stop to admire the emerging views.
Our route continues on steadily climbing until we reach another gate at the base of East Lomond then it becomes a steep ascent. The views from the top are stunning. The summit is 1,391 feet high and to the west we can see our next ascent up West Lomond Hill.
To the south west are the Ballo and Harperleas Reservoirs. and to the North West is the Tyndall Bruce Monument.
The descent is steep and we approach it with care. A young family are heading up and two of the four children are running up. There was a time I could have done that, but they are at least fifty years younger than me! The route towards West Lomond is clear and soon after passing through a kissing gate we take a slight detour to look at the East Lomond limekilns.
Back on the path we continue west until we reach a road which we cross to a car park with public toilets. Our route continues through the car park, initially on a grassy track but soon joining a stone track which heads steadily uphill towards West Lomond.
We have seen a couple of square stones along the route inscribed with WR 1818. Apparently these initials stand for William Rae. Sir William Rae was the King’s Commissioner for the act of enclosure and was responsible for laying out the boundaries almost 200 years ago. This is an amazing bit of history that we could easily have missed if we had not stopped to look.
Approaching West Lomond we see a very steep ascent in front of us, Lynnie is not keen on this so we follow the track around the back, here the climb is longer but more gradual.
Whichever way you choose it is still a good climb to the 1,712 foot summit, which is well rewarded with stunning views.
We make our descent the same way and then head back along the track towards the car park we came through earlier. Shortly before reaching the car park we take a path on the left leading down through Coalpit Burn and then on to Maspie Den, there are some significant drops into the gorge to our left.
As we head down a steep path a runner is making his way up. He is moving at a pace so no opportunity to engage him in conversation. I can see the beauty of walking up hills like this, but as mentioned running is out of the question for me, (that’s running full stop, not just running up steep hills!).
At the foot of the hill we meet a path and turn right to walk back towards Falkland with the Maspie Burn on our right. The path leads us through a tunnel created to allow walkers to explore the grounds of the nearby House of Falkland. It is at moments like this that Lynnie is grateful that I carry so much stuff in my rucksack. Out comes the torch and we can see our way safely through.
Emerging on the other side of the tunnel we continue on the path that passes the front of the House of Falkland and join a tarmac drive leading back into Falkland village. In the centre of the village there is the impressive Bruce Fountain named after Onesiphorus Tyndall-Bruce once keeper of the Palace.
Alongside the fountain is his statue this once sat on top of the Tyndall-Bruce Monument.
Close by is Falkland Palace. This is an impressive building and Lynnie suggests we return in the next few days to visit the Palace. It is more likely that she will visit the palace whilst I take the dogs for a walk up a hill!
Our walk today has covered just over nine miles. There have been some serious uphill sections and cracking views. It has been a wonderful walk on a sunny, warm day. This is a walk that I can recommend.
31st May 2016
[To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 370 – Glenrothes North, Falkland & Lomond Hills]
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2016)