Balbirnie Estate, Fife

The weather has been so bad recently that we hadn’t been able to get out for our usual walks, so when a bit of dry weather came along we grabbed it although we knew it would be muddy underfoot. The weather never seems to bother the deer that live around here although they have been ranging further than normal and I know that because twice recently they’ve walked across roads as we’ve been driving along, thankfully not going very fast.

Deer, Balbirnie, Fife

The wee burn below is new, there’s normally a trickle in this area which just disappears into the ground but it’s actually flowing now but was easy just to step over.
new burn

Balbirnie path, Fife

It’s squelchy underfoot though and walking down the very steep muddy path below is nasty at the best of times. I wished I had armed myself with a stout stick, but with some nifty footwork I managed not to skite on my bahoukie!

Balbirnie path, Fife

Balbirnie snowdrops,Fife

Once at exactly this spot a fox rushed past us, coming from behind and just about brushing past me, I thought it was a dog at first, then a horribly aggressive pit bull terrier with no collar on and no owner in sight ran past me too. Those dogs must have quite a poor sense of smell because it didn’t realise that the fox had gone off the path and into bushes nearby, where I’m sure they have a den.

Balbirnie, snowdrops , Fife

Balbirnie,snowdrops, Fife

The ‘back’ burn as it is called locally is much fuller and faster than normal, as you would expect with all the rain and sleet we’ve had. Not that I’m complaining having seen on the news what other people are having to put up with.
back burn, Balbirnie, Fife

We’ve been living in this area for almost six years now and we’ve never seen it flooded like this, walking into town for the Guardian in the morning has been interesting, dodging the mini lochs and rivers that at times have reached across the road.
Balbirnie Floods, Fife

No scooting across the golf course as a bit of a short cut, as you can see it has been fairly cold too with ice on top of the floodwater.
Balbirnie floods, Fife

The flagpoles outside the Balbirnie House Hotel, which was originally the ‘big hoose’ in this area, have recently had new flags run up them. I don’t think they last too long in our windy weather. I’m just so glad to see that they are continuing to fly the Europan flag.

Balbirnie House Hotel , Fife

You’ve had quite a few virtual walks around here recently and looking at my bathroom scales it seems like I’ve been having virtual walks too. I hope you’re having more success than I am!

Balbirnie Wood Walk

If you fancy stretching your virtual legs a bit and getting some good fresh air, come along on a walk through the Balbirnie Woods again.

I’ve heard some people, mainly on the radio, complaining that they are being bothered by their allergies already but it’s hardly surprisng because the blossom trees have been in flower for a couple of weeks, and of course the willows are full of pollen around now. I think this rather spindly specimen is an almond tree.

blossom

We’ve lived on the edge of the woodland for nearly two years, I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone. To be fair, we still miss the Beveridge Park and esplanade walks we took when we lived in Kirkcaldy as woodland isn’t always the best place to walk through, it’s best avoided when it’s really windy, just in case a tree or part of one decides to bop you on the head!

landscape near Markinch
A couple of days ago we tried to ring the changes by going a different way through the woods thinking we would still end up where we always walk eventually, but we ended up in an area we had never been in before, which was a nice surprise, after a while one group of trees tends to look like another so it was a bonus to reach an area which had some good views of the surrounding countryside, as you can see from the photo above. The photo below is of the wee town of Markinch in the distance. The church spire belongs to the 12th century church, St Drostans.

landscape - Markinch in Fife

On the way back home and close to our house a buzzard swooped into one of the pines ahead of us. It’s still a thrill whenever I see a buzzard or any bird like that, even although it seems that there is now a very healthy population of them. Just about every time we go for a drive anywhere now we see buzzards sitting on fence posts and streetlights. I suppose it means there is plenty around for them to eat. So far I haven’t been able to get a decent photo of any though.
Balbirnie burn

The snowdrops are reaching perfection now, you can’t see them all that well in the photo above though. Last year a commenter informed me that these snowdrops had been grown commercially 70 years or so ago, at a time when the Balbirnie Woods were part of the Balbirnie House estate, he had been employed as a young lad to pick them. Most of the land is now owned by the council and the big mansion house is now a popular venue for stylish weddings. Below is a photo of it from the woods just above, as you can see they’re keen on flying saltires/St Andrews flags. There can’t have been a wedding on as they don’t have the red carpet out.

Balbirnie House

The walk was quite a bit longer than we had planned and I was glad to get back home for a coffee and sit down before I had to start cooking the dinner.

I hope you enjoyed the walk.

Balbirnie House