A country walk in Fife – part 2

I hope you’ve had a nice wee rest after that last walk in Fife. It’s time to get back to the last third of it which will bring us back to the small town of Markinch in Fife.

We’re going gently downhill now and on the right hand side of the path there’s a wooded area with piles of large stones, all moss covered now but it seems that this used to be a mill which has been overtaken by nature since it became disused years and years ago.

mossy stones
The mill stream is still running though, although I would call it a burn as we’re in Scotland. I love running water and can’t resist stopping and having a good look for any wildlife there might be around in it.

a burn in Fife
As we walked around in a big loop I suppose the farmland in the background must be the other side of the fields that we saw earlier, or not that far from them anyway.
a burn in Fife

But it seems that wherever you are in Scotland you’re never very far from a flock of sheep! Apparently years ago there was a large house in this area but it was demolished and only the smaller buildings have been left standing.
sheep

If you look carefully you’ll be able to see the walled garden which belonged to the large house though. In the photo they don’t look that tall but they must be at least ten feet high I think. I’m now wondering if it has also been totally abandoned or if a nearby small house has taken it over. It’s all so Secret Garden-ish and I’d love a look around inside those walls.
Braes Loan, walled garden

As you can see we’re now nearly back at Markinch where we began this walk, you can see the spire of the 12th century church (St Drostan’s) in the distance.
Braes Loan, Markinch
By the time we reached the town I was glad that we had parked the car there as the long walk back on what was for us a hot day would have been too much to contemplate. That was a very gentle walk, just 2.5 miles and no doubt we’ll be taking longer ones this summer – weather permitting.
Markinch, Braes Loan

I hope you enjoyed stretching your legs a wee bit!

A country walk in Fife, Scotland

Come on, it’s time to get some fresh air and go on our first springtime walk of the year. This place is called Braes Loan and it’s a walk we hadn’t done before. Just 2.5 miles long I think – so easy peasy! It begins in Markinch and loops up and around part of the town ending very close to where the walk began.

Braes Loan, Markinch

The narrow lane above is quite steep as you would expect from a place called ‘brae’ – it’s Scots for hill, and it isn’t long before you get to farmland with views of the much higher Lomond Hills in the background.

Farmland and Lomond Hills in Fife

I took these photos on Saturday the 23rd of April, it was probably the warmest day we’ve had this year, not that it got any warmer than about 60 F, but it was still a very pleasant change from our long cold winter weather. How do you feel about wind turbines? Some people hate them, including a certain POTUS who is miffed that some are going to be visible from one of his Scottish golf courses, but I like them, in the distance anyway. It’s the golf courses that blight the landscape in my opinion, certainly in Fife (the home of golf) where we have just far too many of them!

Fife farmland

The view on the left hand side of the path is of woodland, and I like these old stone steps that lead to another path through the woods, we’ll take that path another day.

Braes loan in Fife

Onwards and upwards, the trees will not be quite so bare now, nearly three weeks since I took these photos.

Braes Loan path

But the celandines were happily showing their cheery wee faces in the sunshine.
celandines

There’s some kind of crop beginning to grow in this field, I’ll have to go back later in the year to find out what it is. In the distance you can see the small and historic town of Markinch.
Markinch in Fife

As you can see we’re still walking uphill, although it does even out from time to time so it’s not a relentless hike up. It seems to me that no matter what the month is in Scotland you’ll be able to find gorse or ‘whins’ as it’s called in Scotland in bloom, it fairly brightens the place.

Braes Loan, Fife, whins

I think the photo below was taken more or less at the highest point of the walk. It’s a bit hazy but in the distance you can see the River Forth which is several miles away. Surprisingly there are a few lonely scattered houses in this area and they obviously want electricity, hence the annoying wires in the photo – how very dare they!

Fife, River Forth, Scotland

Suddenly we reached a road and more or less flat land where there were a few horses looking for some human company. The small village in the distance goes by the poetic name of Star of Markinch and at one point the author Annie S. Swan lived here with her husband.

Star of Markinch

I don’t speak ‘horse’ and when they amble up to me it seems to me they always have something in mind, I find it a bit alarming. I just end up stroking their noses tentatively, while looking out for flashing teeth getting too close for my comfort!
horses

I’ve got a fair idea though that as I backed away from them they were saying – Oi! Come back, what – no apples? What was that all about then! There’s no doubt about it, horses find me disappointing.
horses , Fife

We’re about two thirds of the way through the walk now but we’ll take a break now and finish it off another day. If this is your first country walk for a while you’ll be needing a break. I hope you enjoyed this breath of fresh Fife air as much as I did!

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

Another Balbirnie Walk

Woodland path

Right folks it’s time for another walk. We’ve been exploring the Balbirnie Estate, it’s a good place to walk, even for wee ones and some people cycle around too. There are bluebells in the photo above but they aren’t very easy to see.

Balbirnie burn

Then we headed for Balbirnie Burn, sadly I’ve never seen any kids playing in the burn. Playing in my local burn/stream/creek – call it what you will, was always my favourite pastime during the summer when I was wee.

burn

Balbirnie Burn looks very clear but I’ve never seen anything resembling a fish in it, it seems only to be alive with midges, clouds of them.

Balbirnie burn

There are several wee bridges of various designs, this one is close to the golf club. Some are rustic wooden ones and they are perfect for playing poohsticks – I was tempted.

Balbirnie burn

More bluebells which are also in shades of pink, lilac and white. These flowers are pretty enough but they’re nothing compared with the ones I remember from my childhood which were in dark woods and an amazingly bright blue, I wonder if any of those ones still exist.
bluebells at Balbirnie

More Rhododendrons, if you go deeper into the estate there are even more specimens to see and they almost all have name tags, it’s just like being in a botanic gardens. I’ll have photos of those ones soonish.
Balbirnie rhoddies