Walks 3 : July to August 2018

1 July 2918

On Sunday 1st July Brian led members and guests on the walk ‘Gartmorn Dam & Forest Mill’.  The route followed the north side of the Dam with its interesting industrial past to the eastern end.  Here a woodland path branches off to follow an old mill lade along the valley side high above the Black Devon River.  This is a walker and cyclist friendly link taking pedestrian and cyclist alike across to the Dunfermline to Alloa cycle route.  The cycle route follows the bed of a former railway line and here a well- established avenue of silver birch   Continuing on after lunch the group followed a track through woods and between fields to the south east corner of the Dam reservoir. A good path along the southern bank then took them back to the visitor centre and car park. Some then opted to drop in to the visitor centre tea room before making their way home while others preferred just to get on their way.

3 July 2018

On Tuesday 3rd July Ruth led the Langtoun Daunderers walk ‘Thornton to Chapel Linear’.   Owing to the collapse last winter of the bridge over the River Ore at the foot of Hurlburn Road the group took the path around the pond on the reclaimed opencast site at Balbeggie to reach Balbeggie Avenue. From the end of Balbeggie Avenue the party took the farm track that now leads across to Johnny Marshall’s Loan.    From the foot of Johnny’s Loan the party took the new path along the north side of Diageo’s Cluny Bond development, on the former opencast site at The Begg Farm.  This is a stretch of path through unexpectedly pleasant countryside with some delightful features along the way.  

14 July 2018

A great day was had by all when Liz led several members and one visitor
on a Sidlaw Circular walk last Saturday. It was a beautiful day with
good visibility and a welcoming breeze on the ridge.
 
Having left Balkello Community Car Park, a steady climb on good paths
alongside  heather as height was gained, led to the top of Auchterhouse
Hill. The summit area is crowned by larch trees and was once the site of
an iron age fort offering a wonderful 360 degree vista. This was an
ideal spot for a welcoming coffee stop where many landmarks were pointed
out.
 
The next hill was Balluderon which meant a short descent before climbing
a rougher path to the top. Here a stone cairn with a view indicator
commemorates Sydney Scroggie who lost both his sight and the lower half
of his right leg during World War 2. Despite this he continued to walk
the hills guided by friends -a gentleman of inspiration. He was at the
unveiling of the cairn in 2000 aged 80 and died in 2006.
 
The final hill on the route was Craigowl which is easily recognised by
the jumble of communication masts on its summit. To reach there, the
group had to negotiate a short tricky descent down a steep scree path
before a more strenuous climb to the top. Stops to gain breathe and
admire the views all around made it worthwhile. To our left in the
foreground was the Valley of Strathmore with the Angus Glens and
Grampians beyond. On our right were Dundee and the Tay Estuary backed by
Fife and the Lomond Hills. It was so beautiful and peaceful but the
absence of wild life and birds was noted. The group were rewarded with a
lunch stop on reaching the top and were reluctant to leave the spot to
start the straightforward last lap following paths down the hillside 
back to the cars.
 
As is custom a coffee stop is had on our return journey and the Speckled
Hen was where we headed. Here the home baking and efficient service was
most appreciated and a happy group returned home safely.
 
The next outing on Sunday 29th July is a Loch Venachar Circuit. For
further details please contact Mike Livesey on 07783201492 or visit
www.ramblers.org.uk/kirkcaldy
 

4 August 2018 

On Saturday 4th August Margaret led several members and a visitor on the walk Capelaw, Allermuir and Caerketton Hills (Pentlands).  The morning weather, cloudy with a fairly brisk westerly blowing, was ideal for a walk over open moorland and high hilltops.  With easy walking at first the route led from the Pentland Hills Walkers Car Park at Swanston Golf Club out by Swanston Cottage.  Here Robert Louis Stevenson stayed with his family during the summers of his youth.  Crossing rough pasture and walking by woodland along the foot of steep hillsides, it was easy to imagine how the area would have caught his writer’s imagination. A long gentle ascent, broken by a welcome coffee break with a superb view of Edinburgh and its landmarks took walkers onto Capelaw Hill.  The gentle elongated dome of open grassland with purple heather-clad lower slopes made an ideal first ascent of the day.  Its high point is marked by two upright iron girders which, with a slight twist in each, catch the eye as an intriguing though presumably accidental piece of modern sculpture.  It was very satisfying to reach this point and appreciate the wonderful view that opened up, north over Fife and west and east along the Forth valley, without any arduous climbing.  An easy and enjoyable ridge walk then led east directly to the upper slopes of Allermuir Hill.  These too were purple-clad with heather, in sheltered pockets its scent beginning to develop with the warmth of the day.  A short but steep climb took the party up to the trig point and the summit indicator where walkers picked out some of the distant hills to be seen on a clear day round all points of the compass.  Then it was a steep downhill-uphill-and-downhill to Windy Door Nick, a col that on the day of the walk truly lived up to its name. Climbing the stile and descending into the valley to the south the group found a relatively sheltered spot for some lunch.  Well-refreshed and rested the walkers were then ready to tackle the craggy upper slopes of Caerketton Hill.  The summit cairn here is prehistoric in origin.  From it there was a remarkable bird’s eye view of Swanston village at the foot of the precipitous north-facing slopes while far away in the south-east, rising above the nearer hills, the top of the Cheviot stood out clear.  Turning from the cairn to retrace their steps back to Windy Door Nick, walkers met head on a ferocious summer squall.  Fortunately it had only a little rain in it, the unpleasantly strong wind merely preventing any enjoyment of the view along the length of the Pentlands.  As with such squalls, the cloud rapidly blew over and down again at the col a warm sun broke through and shone in a blue sky for the remainder of the walk.  A short but steep descent down a sheltered grassy incline brought the group to the path along the Swanston Burn.  Trees and woodland along its banks make this a very attractive approach to the thatched roofs and white walls of the cottages of Swanston Village conservation area.  A short stretch of footpath through woods then took walkers back to the cars.  Before heading home, the group very much enjoyed refreshments and a comfortable chat at The Brasserie at Swanston Golf Club.

 

 Tuesday 21 August 2018

Members and visitors joined Ruth for a linear walk from North Queensferry to Dalgety Bay. Arriving at North Queensferry by train at lunchtime the weather was cloudy but bright and warm with a gentle breeze.  The Brae down to the coast path gives good views of the river and the road bridges and ever-changing views were a constant characteristic of this walk.  

Out on the coast path and by Carlingnose Point the party soon felt far away from the houses.  Here at a well-positioned seat on the cliff volunteers clipping the gorse were enjoying a lunch with an excellent view of the Forth Bridge.  Further along and out of the woods the view opened up to Inverkeithing on its hill.   In the town the colourfully-planted garden behind the fourteenth century Grey Friars Hospitium, now Inverkeithing Museum, provided good seats for a coffee break with a great view across to Arthur’s Seat and the Pentland Hills.

Walking on along the High Street members were interested to read the plaque placed by Moscow Caledonian Society at the birthplace in 1735 of Samuel Greig.  He joined the Royal Navy and went on to play an important role in the Russian Navy of Catherine the Great.  Inverkeithing is a small burgh with a number of surprising historical features. Turning down by the unicorn-topped mercat cross, the party walked on by the attractive old houses of Preston Crescent and made for Dalgety Bay.  

At the anchor marking the old harbour of St David’s, built to export coal from mines on the Fordell Estate, walkers turned inland for the final section of the route.    After a final view, this time of Burntisland Binn and Dunearn Hill, the walk finished at Meadowfield bus stop.  The journey home, however, was not made until the group had enjoyed refreshments and a chat in comfort at Dobbie’s Garden Centre coffee shop.