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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?

LSCC Talk – 16th March

Have been advised that the planned talk on the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club taking place in Newport-on-Tay on Monday evening has been postponed. Don’t know when it will be rescheduled for, but will let you know once I do. In the meantime if you have any queries contact Yoga-on-Tay who are hosting the talk.

Free Navigation Training

Registered charity Mountain Aid (SC040294) have announced the dates of their 1-day introductory navigation courses for Spring 2020.

Nearest one to Fife is Saturday 11th April in the Pentland Hills (just outside Edinburgh). Although free to attend these courses are delivered by a qualified (WMCI) and insured instructor.

You can book a place via the Mountain Aid website at https://www.mountainaid.org.uk/navigation.html.

The full Spring Navigation courses programme is

Wednesday 8th April 2020                                 Ochil Hills
Saturday 11th April 2020                                      Pentland Hills
Wednesday 22nd April 2020                             Touch Moor, Stirling   
​Saturday 2nd May 2020                                      Clyde Muirshiel Park     
Sunday 24th May 2020                                       Aberfoyle

More information and booking via Mountain Aid.

Mountain Aid  is a volunteer-run Scottish Charity with the objective of promoting mountain safety.

W: https://www.mountainaid.org.uk/

F: https://www.facebook.com/MountainAidUK/

The River Leven Programme

Received this information about the proposed path upgrades along the River Leven. It’s a drop-in session so just pop along if you want to find out more or have your say.

“We thought your group might be interested in a drop-in event run by The River Leven Programme.  There will be an opportunity to speak to the project team to learn about the first major project in the Programme. This aims to create a network of paths and cycle ways along a 5km stretch of the river from Cameron Bridge to Levenmouth, as well as creating around a further 20km stretch of paths which will weave through and between the local communities of Buckhaven, Methil, Methilhill, Leven and Windygates. Down the line, there will be opportunities to expand this network to better connect communities in Markinch, Glenrothes and Leslie with the River Leven and also the Back Burn which runs to the north of Glenrothes. Would your group use a path or cycle network to Levenmouth? Do you make any journeys to this location at present? What motivates these journeys? The River Leven Programme would be interested to hear from you. “

Monday 2 March (10am-4pm) – Senior Citizens Centre, Main Street, Methill, KY8 2DP

History of the LSCC – Free Talk

I’ve received information on a free talk being held in Newport-on-Tay on the history of the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club.

Date/time: Monday 16th March 7.30 pm

Venue: Yoga-on-Tay, 24 High Street, Newport-on-Tay, DD6 8AZ

Speaker: Alison Higham

For anyone wondering, allegedly they didn’t climb in those heavy tweed skirts, they changed into them for photos as they couldn’t be seen wearing breeches!

Contact Yoga on Tay via their own website at https://www.yogaontay.com/.

More information on the LSCC on their website at https://www.ladiesscottishclimbingclub.org/.

Mountain Mind Quiz 2020

The Ancrum Mountaineering Club  is delighted to be hosting the 2020 Mountain Mind Quiz.

When: Wednesday 18th March 7 pm for 7.30 pm start

Where: Queens Hotel, Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4DU

Who: teams of 2 – 3 representing clubs and like minded organisations from across Tayside and Fife (and further afield)

Entry fee: £3 per head – proceeds to Tayside Mountain Rescue Team

Get together with your friends to enter a team or come along and spectate. All welcome.

  • Trophy for the winning team
  • Boot for the lowest scoring team
  • Fun for all

Contact Liz for more information

Inner Forth Wanderings and Windings Project

Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited by Inner Forth Futures to join them for a preview of their new Wanderings and Windings walking and cycling routes.

After a lovely sunny walk around Gartmorn Dam accompannied by a Clackmannanshire Council ranger we retreated to the cafe/visitor centre for coffee and scones and a look at the route plans.

Gartmorn Dam and the Ochils
Gartmorn Dam and the Ochils – a section from Route 3

Wanderings and Windings is a project financed primarily by a National Heritage Lottery Fund grant to create 8 walking and cycling routes around the Inner Forth area. With input from community groups and the public the draft plans for these routes are now in place. It’s not too late to get involved and help finalise these routes by joining the Wanderings and Windings Facebook Group.

Although making use of existing paths and tracks, the new routes will all be waymarked and be accompanied by an information leaflet. Check out the draft proposals on the Inner Forth website. Please remember though that routes are still subject to change!

The routes are scheduled for launch in October 2019. Watch this space for further updates.

Fife Pilgrim Way

Published today, a write up of the newly opened Fife Pilgrim Way.

My description tackles the 64 mile route in 7 bite-sized chunks (between 8 and 11 miles). Start and finish points are linked by a single bus service making it easy to return to your start point if doing a one-way walk.

  • Culross to Dunfermline
  • North Queensferry to Dunfermline
  • Dunfermline to Crosshill
  • Crosshill to Glenrothes
  • Glenrothes to Kennoway
  • Kennoway to Ceres
  • Ceres to St Andrews

See https://fifewalking.com/fife-walks/fife-pilgrim-way/ for the complete route.

Here is a selection of photographs from along the route.