The Lomond Hills ~ Diana’s Virtual Tour of Fife

After walking the Fife Coastal Path we decided to head for the hills. The first of such walks was The Binn above Burtisland, seen from Pettycur Harbour.

Here’s a link to my post about the day on my other blog:

Bring me Sunshine, Bring me Laughter, Bring me Love

Now I’m taking you northwards but it has taken us two attempts to reach the top of East Lomond Hill. What! I can hear you saying, ‘you soft southerners’ but in our defense the first time we attempted this walk, it was a sunny day just after we had both recovered from the flu.

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At the vanishing point of the path in this picture above there is a fork giving us two options, to head directly to the hill or to veer around it. We chose the left hand route and soon the path began to climb quite steeply. Unfortunately, only a quarter of the way to the summit I began to feel a bit tired and dizzy and so we turned back, but even from this height the views were wonderful in the dappled sunlight.

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Last week we returned, pausing briefly in Falkland for a light lunch. (I will write about Falkland on another post since it deserves at least one of its own because, although it does not feature in The Healing Paths of Fife, it is an extremely important wee town in the area for numerous reasons)

The day of this walk began sunny but by the time we set out it was beginning to look broody, so we strode upwards from the car park with determination and also vital new knowledge. ‘It is much easier to take the longer route to the right and walk around the hill until you find the path on its south easterly side,’ advised a friend, (and more suitable for you softies I could imagine him muttering under his breath.)

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It was wonderful to make out Inchkeith Island in the distance, opposite where we now live, as the Firth of Forth stretched in front of us out towards the estuary. As you can see the climb is gentler this way, at first anyway.

DSCN4644.JPGWe paused on the sheltered side of East Lomond Hill for breath, water and to admire the views.

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At the top it was clear that the wind had picked up and so we only stayed on the summit briefly for photos. I’m actually hanging on up there! You can see West Lomond, the greater challenge in the distance.

We retraced our steps only just in time, reaching the car before the rain. The forcast was for a storm that night but we felt content to snuggle at home, satisfied to have completed the walk. A fine one it was too. It was only 424 m high but onwards and upwards eh ~ just like writing!

East Lomond Hill was an early hill fort from the Iron Age. I cannot imagine living on those windy slopes though. They’re a hardy bunch, the Scots, aren’t they 🙂

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Burntisland ~ an up and coming place ~ Diana’s Virtual Tour of Fife

Burntisland, only two miles from where we live, influenced us from the very beginning of our life in Fife. One evening we drove along the coast from Dunfermline, where we were living temporarily at a Premier Inn, to buy fish and chips.  We chose the Links Bar, which is nearest to the promenade which was where we sat eating and looking out over the Forth towards the island of Inchkeith Island and Edinburgh. From there you can also see Pettycur Harbour, across the vast expanse of sands of Pettycur Bay. A beautiful area!

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Above is a painting by a local artist Douglas Gray from much the same spot where we were sitting that fine evening, enjoying the view for the first time. We bought it from their gallery above Kinghorn Station not long after we moved here permanently, as a reminder but also as a perfect, albeit unusual shape for a long bedroom wall.

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For the last two Saturdays, on our visits to Burntisland, we have been surprised by two unexpected pleasures. A week ago we were returning to the car when we looked up to see to see a steam train travelling above the Links towards Kinghorn; it was quite a site. This Saturday a young pipers band entertained us as we enjoyed a drink and an ice cream.

Burtisland is a place we visit most weekends to do our fresh veg and fish shopping. Macauley’s fruit and veg shop isn’t just an ordinary shop though. Here’s their April 2018 facebook post:

“It’s official! Macauley’s is Scotland’s Fresh Produce Provider of the Year 2018 🎉 Here’s to our awesome customers, a vibrant local High St in Burntisland and our many innovative suppliers that keep us stocked with a great range of produce – thank you!!”

Congratulations on your well deserved success!

With fresh organic fruit and veg sourced as locally as possible, paper bags to serve ourselves and a delicious soup in a bag to tempt us each week, my mouth waters; then add the thought of the first Scottish strawberries which arrived in the last few days. I can’t wait 🙂

Next door to this delightful independent trader, and Burntisland’s shops are now filling up with a wide variety of them, is C n M Seafoods. Talk about a sweet shop for adults! When we visit each week we rarely know what we are going to buy, we just gaze over the colourful display of fresh fish, straight from the sea off Fife and prepared on the premises, and we decide on the spot. (and no non recyclable plastic trays in sight)

I could talk of the florist, the new Italian cafe restaurant, the ironmongers, Potter About, Food for Thought, the Spiritualist Shop…. I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone here but the last addition to the street is Novelli’s, an ice cream shop and cafe. Now, when it opened we were going through a spell of very cold easterly wintery winds filled and I wondered about the viability of such a shop, but now that the sun is out I realise what a fantastic spot they’ve chosen. The temptation is great, on the corner just before you return to the carpark, and they’ll be packed around fair time I’m sure. To top it all this week they had coffee ice cream, my husband’s favourite!

As you can see we enjoy our regular visits to Burntisland visiting local shops we are not as yet fortunate to have in Kinghorn. Now, in days gone by, that’s another story…

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Thinking of the past, if I’d had the chance to meet Mary Somerville for a chat on my travels through Burntisland along The Fife Coastal Path in The Healing Paths of Fife, that would have been something special too, and did you know that the King James version of the Bible was written in Burntisland?

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A Trip on The Forth Belle ~ Diana’s Virtual Tour of Fife

DSCN3010.JPGDidn’t we choose a perfect day for our Three Bridges and Inchcolm Island trip along the Forth yesterday? It was magic.

Friends from down south were staying in Edinburgh and so we suggested meeting at Dalmeny Station. We have been known to walk down the cliff steps from the station to the pier on a couple occasions but, since the day before we had endured a snowy blizzard, we decided to drive and park near the quay. ~ It is the old car park, in fact, for the original car ferry crossing between South and North Queensferry before the first road bridge was opened in 1964, linking road users to the northern parts of Scotland. DSCN4541.JPG

Seals, whales, dolphins,  porpoises and even puffins can be seen at different times of the year but yesterday we were content to spot the occasional seal camouflaged on the rocks.

 

 

DSCN4538.JPGOne day we will alight at Inchcolm and explore the island and Abbey and maybe have a picnic but we’ll leave that pleasure for another time. Inchcolm Abbey is affectionately nicknamed The Iona of the East, aptly so if you compare photos of the two Abbeys. Adjacent to the quay there is Inchgnome Island! I’ll leave you to use your imagination as to how the little people got there.

As well as the beauty of a trip along the Firth of Forth you are made well aware of the oil industry and the heritage of shale mining, which dates back to the nineteenth century when Burntisland and The Binn became prosperous for its paraffin; thus saving the whale from annihilation.

We floated over a few famous protected shipwrecks including Blessing, Charles 1st’s ferry which is allegedly still full of many of his possessions; and the Cunard HMS Campania. 

DSCN4543.JPGThe view of the three bridges including the new Queensferry Crossing is awesome from below. Last time we did this trip the 21st century bridge was still under construction but yesterday the light of the sun caught its sails in all its glory.

Back on shore you have many places to chose to eat including Hawes Inn of Robert Louis Stevenson Fame, Harry Ramsden Fish and Chips, the biker’s cafe or The Railbridge Bistro, complete with model railway.

Yesterday our friends were too replete on breakfast and so we didn’t stop, but we have enjoyed all of the above places in the past and The Hawes Inn does a delicious Sunday Roast.

As we floated along we listened to the interesting commentary but we were able to add a personal touch as we shared our thoughts of the different places along the Fife Coast with our friends, all familiar scenes to us now.

 

 

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