The Fife Walking website / blog has been in existence for two years now so I have decided the time is right to upgrade to my own domain name rather than using a WordPress one!
The new web address is simply fifewalking.com as opposed to the previous fifewalking.wordpress.com.
The old wordpress address will continue to work as it will be redirected.
I started the website two years ago with no real idea of what I wanted to achieve or even how to go about producing a website. I just thought it would be interesting to try setting up a site for walks in my local area, especially routes and paths that were not overly well known. Fortunately, WordPress has made it all very easy for me, though I have run up against some limitations at times.
The site is a non-commercial activity. I make no money out of it, and now that I’ve upgraded the domain name it’s actually costing me a small amount of money. That’s why I do like to ask that people using the site for groups, publishing elsewhere (especially commercial purposes) simply link back to the site or provide other form of credit / acknowledgement. Sadly I have had a well known commercial site download some of my GPX routes from Viewranger, walk the routes (they uploaded their tracks to Viewranger a few days later so I know it wasn’t just a coincidence) and then published the routes as their own and no doubt made money from them. A short “route inspired by Fife Walking fifewalking.com/” would have made all the difference !!! Another commercial organisation has also taken my photographs from Facebook and copied and pasted them to their own facebook page without asking permission or crediting me. Social media sharing is fine (and encouraged) as share buttons always link back to the original source but copy and pasting without permission is not.
Anyway enough of the negatives, the weather is improving and this coming week looks very nice indeed so let’s all get out there for some good walks whilst we can.
And if anyone is looking for a recommendation for holidaying at home this year, the Outer Hebrides are hard to beat. Had a short break on the Uists last week and it was utterly amazing (walking routes to be published soon).
Scottish Natural Heritage has combined the core path plans that have been drawn up by all of Scotland’s local authorities and National Park authorities to produce an online map. The main local routes for recreation and travel, known as core paths, are usually signposted. Not all are on land, and they include some rivers or canals that are used for canoeing. View the map and find out more
Well as it’s Halloween and the season of spookiness, I thought I would have a look to see what walks I have published that could be classed as appropriate for this time of year. Actually there’s quite a few………..
Tullibole Witches’ Maze – a short walk from Crook of Devon that includes the Tullibole Witches’ Maze, a memorial to the 11 innocent witches that were executed in the Crook of Devon area. Good one for kids but take note of the barb wire if you do the full route. Do report this issue to the Perth and Kinross Access Officer firstname.lastname@example.org if it is still causing a problem. As well as the Witches’ Maze, keep an eye open for the peacocks at Tullibole.
Blairadam Forest – I’ve got 4 different Blairadam Forest routes published. The easiest is the waymarked forestry commission trails although personally I prefer the estate and forest ones. A ghost of a miner has been spotted in Blairadam and the area is also well known for reports of big cat sightings (the Beast of Blairadam). Best not to go after dark !!!!
Glenfarg Railway Tunnels – no ghosts, ghouls or witches here but these disused railway tunnels are a bit spooky, especially if like me, you like to make ghostly noises to alarm your companions. Another good one for the kids. Make sure you take a torch.
Maspie Den – if the Glenfarg tunnels are a bit too long and dark for you, check out the wee tunnel in the Maspie Den, near Falkland. Sorry, I don’t have a write up for the Maspie Den on its own as I’ve included it with East Lomond but you can easily walk up from the Stables car park on Falkland Estate. As well as the tunnel you get to walk behind a waterfall. After the walk you can head into Falkland where both the Palace and the Covenanters Hotel are reputedly haunted by Mary Queen of Scots.
Crawford Priory – this gothic ruin near Cupar is said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Mary Crawford who continues to search for her animals and pets.
St Bridget’s Kirk between Dalgety Bay and Aberdour is reputed to be haunted by the ghosts of pirates. I live near here and have visited frequently but have never yet seen a pirate ghost. Hope you have better luck. Even if you don’t spot any ghosts, the ruined church and graveyard are spooky on a dark night.
Monks Cave – is not too far from St Bridget’s. I’m not sure that it is haunted but it is certainly an eerie kind of place to visit and it’s easy to believe that you may encounter the ghost of a monk awaiting a ferry to Inchcolm Island.
In the Lomond Hills above Kinnesswood we have Carlin Maggie, the local witch who was turned to stone by the devil. Pay her a visit whilst having a walk to the summit of Bishop Hill. Prior to turning her to stone, the devil threw some rocks and boulders at her on the southern side of West Lomond. The rocks remain where they fell and are now known as the Devil’s Burdens.
If that’s whetted your appetite for Fife ghosts have a look at the Paranormal database for a comprehensive list of ghosts and hauntings in the area. Happy ghost hunting and do let me know if you spot any.
Looking at the dates when pages were created, it was the 7th April 2016 when I published the first page (the then home page). The first walking routes don’t appear to have been published until the following week though.
There are now over 100 routes on the website and I have recently set up a Facebook page to promote the site. I’ve also got a Twitter account although that hasn’t really taken off and you can find me on Flickr. I don’t know what I was really expecting when I set up the site as I wasn’t a social media person (in fact I did my best to avoid social media). It came about from two things. Firstly, an ongoing project to walk as much as the Fife Coastal Path as possible using circular routes rather than end to end walking. Secondly, a programme of short evening walks that I was creating for a local walking group https://www.meetup.com/fife-activity-and-social/.
I really want to say a big thank you to everyone for viewing this site and following the blog. I hope you are finding the route information interesting and that it is inspiring you to get out there and walk. Don’t forget, I want to hear your feedback, even if it is just telling me about broken links. If I don’t know they are broken I can’t fix them !
A few plans for the future, apart from expanding the number of walks particularly in the east and north of Fife. Firstly, all new routes and existing ones retrospectively, will now have a short summary at the beginning, of the distance/ascent/starting area. Secondly, I really need to do something with the right hand side bar menu which is getting rather unwieldy. Unfortunately, a collapsible menu doesn’t seem to be an option.
A little bit about myself. I’ve been a hill walker for about 25 years now. However, in 2014 I was diagnosed with and (successfully) treated for cancer. At the end of treatment I was left run down, fatigued and weakened, a shadow of my former self. Walking became my road to recovery. Initially it was just along the street, extending the distance by a lamp post each day. Soon I was walking a couple of miles, then a bit further and then it was time to start on the hills again. At one point I walked 14 miles along the coastal path as part of Bob’s Walk to raise funds for the local Maggies Cancer Centre – at the time it was a great achievement for me though it nearly killed me!!!
I should also mention Bums Off Seats, the local health walk programme run by Fife Council which was extremely beneficial to me, so much so that I have now become a walk leader so that I can encourage others to walk their way to better health. As well as Bums off Seats, I’m also involved in WalkOn with Fife Cultural Trust and Move More with Fife Sports and Leisure Trust in conjunction with Macmillan.
I’ve been a member of the Ancrum Mountaineering Club for about 15 years. This last month I have developed a new website and facebook page for them in a bid to attract new members to the club. Don’t let the word “mountaineering” put you off. We are very much hill walkers rather than technical climbers. Recently I got involved with an organisation called Mountain Aid which is a registered charity set up to help injured hill goers and promote safety in the hills.
Anyway, enough about me, and back to the website. Hopefully it will continue to grow over the coming years. At the moment I make no money out of it and apart from time, it isn’t costing me anything as I use the free WordPress web hosting service. In the future it may start costing me if I want to use my own domain name.
Because I put a lot of time into researching, walking and writing the routes but get no financial recompense I do like to encourage users to credit Fife Walking as being their source of information if they are using it as the basis for organised/group walks. Sadly I have had at least one person that I know of who copied and pasted my text without crediting it to me (plagarism). Another well known commercial website has downloaded a couple of my routes from the excellent Viewranger site, walked them (yes they made their GPS track public) and then re-wrote them and published them themselves. A bit naughty of them as they will now be making commercial gain but with me having done the hard work.
I think it is probably worth mentioning that all routes (the Michael Bruce Way is an exception) are of my own creation. I don’t take routes from other websites or out of guide books and then re-write them up as my own. There are some routes I have been walking for years and these could be considered to be “standard routes”. Others are entirely of my own creation. I look at maps (lots of them and as many different ones as I can get access to) to work out where there might be a possible walking route. I then go out and walk it. Sometimes my proposed route isn’t possible and I need to come up with an alternative. A new route can take two or even three visits. I also like to research points of interest on the route and include links to websites for more information. I hope that this helps users get more out of their walks.
The Facebook page I mentioned earlier is a new venture. Primarily it is to promote this website to new users. I’m posting notifications of new walking routes to it along with sharing posts of general interest to the walking community in Fife.
So there we have it, a potted history of Fife Walking and probably my longest blog post to date.