A-Z of Fife’s Hills: O

O: Ormiston Hill (Black Cairn Hill)

Ormiston Hill (also known as Black Cairn Hill)


Continuing with the A to Z of Fife hills this week’s hill is Ormiston Hill in the north of Fife, a grand viewpoint over the Tay.

Ormiston Hill lies at the back of Newburgh on the north Fife coast. It’s primarily rough grazing land although its north eastern slopes have been eaten away by the large Clatchard Quarry. The walker ascending the hill from Newburgh will mostly be blissfully unaware of the quarry’s presence (unless blasting is taking place). It’s 236m summit is the 20th highest hill in Fife (as per the Database of British and Irish Hills).

It’s a straightforward walk up to the summit from Newburgh and it’s well worth stopping from time to time to look back, as the views north over the Tay are excellent. The summit itself is well defended by gorse bushes. However, there is a path through the gorse accessed via a stile. Approaching the summit from any direction other than the stile is unlikely to be much fun.

In days gone by the summit had defences in the form of a hill fort and there was a nearby fort on Clatchard Craig which has now been completely lost to the quarry. At the south western foot of the hill close to a minor road are the remains of MacDuff’s Cross, also worth a visit.

More information on Ormiston Hill is available from Fife Walking.

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