A-Z of Fife’s Hills: C

Cairnie Hill

Could this relatively unknown hill on the eastern side of Collessie Den lay claim to being the most interesting hill in Fife? For the topographer it probably could.

Of Fife’s seven Marilyns (hills with a drop of at least 150m) this is the one that is most marginal. Initially it was thought to have a drop (prominence) of only 150m and thus only just made it on to the Marilyn list. However, being so marginal, it attracted interest and was subject to a detailed survey in 2012. Subsequently it has also gained a further 10cm and nowadays its recognised height (as recorded in the Database of British and Irish Hills) is 228.9m with a drop of 150.4m.

The hill itself comprises of pleasant woodland (pheasant country) and has easy access via a track up its western slope. This track is easily reached via core paths from Collessie in the south or Dunbog in the north. The actual summit is tucked away in the trees and has limited views but the majority of the summit area is rough grassland and has clear views north, south and east.

As a Marilyn, Cairnie Hill has a number of “child ” hills, namely Dunbog, Balmeadow, Cunnoquhie West and Cunnoquhie East. These hills form a compact group to the east of the main hill and themselves are all worthy of exploration. Accessing them does entail crossing farmland/working countryside so make sure any access is in accordance with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Check out the Cairnie Hill page for details of a circular walk taking in Cairnie Hill and Dunbog Hill summits.

A-Z of Fife’s Hills: B

Benarty Hill

Could Benarty Hill claim to have the best views from a hill in Fife? Quite possibly. From near the summit there are superb views northwards across Loch Leven to the Ochils and Lomond Hills. From its southern slopes there are great views over Lochore Meadows Country Park.

At 356m and the 5th highest hill in Fife, Benarty is a distinctive landmark. When viewed from the north it is often referred to as the Sleeping Giant on account of its outline (though I have to admit I’ve never been able to see this).

There are a number of different routes to its summit, the easiest being from the entrance to Harran Hill Woods / Lochore on the Ballingry Hill Road where the ascent is aided by steps. A good day out though is to combine the hill with a walk around Lochore and Harran Hill Woodland (fantastic in May for bluebells). For the energetic walker an end to end traverse of the full ridge is highly recommended.

Check out the Benarty Hill page for details of the different routes to the summit.

A-Z of Fife’s Hills: A

Aberdour – Cullaloe Hills

A is for Aberdour, not a hill itself but there are not many hills in Fife that begin with the letter A. Airdit Hill in north east Fife is one exception.

Not far from Aberdour are the forested Cullaloe Hills which are well worth an exploration. For most people it’s not the 219m hill summit that is the main attraction though, as there are two intriguing follies hidden amongst the trees. Cullaloe Temple and Cullaloe Tower. Both the follies are easy to reach via forest road/tracks.

For the more adventurous walker rough paths / mountain bike trails can be used to reach the crest of the hills for a walk along the fence line to the summit. From the crest there are good views northwards over the industrial landscape of the nearby quarry and Mossmorran plant.

Access to the forest is most usually from the forest entrance to the east on the A909. However, there is only limited parking available here as the forestry gate needs to be left clear for access by forestry and emergency vehicles. An alternative is from a layby on the B9157 opposite Cullaloe Nature Reserve. However, a gate has recently been constructed across the access track at this point.

Check out the Cualloe Hills page for more information on walking in this area.

This is the first in a series of weekly blog posts covering an A to Z of hills in Fife. So next Monday it will be B, but what will the hill be?