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Fife Hills A to Z : F

Fleecefaulds Hill (210m) and Flagstaff Hill (214m)


Two lesser known hills this week. Both these hills are high points in the flat landscape of the East Neuk of Fife.

Fleecefaulds Hill, on the Teasses Estate near Ceres, can be accessed from the attractive Fleecefaulds Meadow Nature Reserve and combined with a walk around the nature reserve. The hill summit itself is scrubland but it is surrounded by working countryside, gardens and residential property so ensure you are adhering to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and respect the rights of the people who live and work there. Keep dogs under close control.

Flagstaff Hill can be accessed via the Balcarres Estate near Colinsburgh which is itself a popular destination for walkers. Although the hill itself is nothing special (though it does have good views over to Largo Law) the nearby Balcarres Craig with its folly / tower is worth a visit, as is Balcarres Den and the old mill. Even though there are core paths in the area, this is still a working estate so respect it as such and obey any signs regarding dogs on leads.

More information on these hills is available from Fife Walking .

A to Z of Fife’s Hills : E

East Lomond (Falkland Hill)


This is possibly the most well known hill in Fife and as such attracts many visitors to its summit viewpoint. At 448m it has the distinction of being the second highest hill in the Kingdom.

There are numerous routes by which the walker can reach the summit. For the walker who “doesn’t do hills” it is possible to drive up to the high car park on its eastern slopes from where it is a straightforward walk with less than 100m of ascent (climbing) to reach the summit. Other popular and busy routes start from Craigmead and Falkland. Much quieter are the approaches from the south starting from the Pitcairn / Formonthills area of north Glenrothes.

The summit was the site of an iron age fort and there have been recent excavations on the site. The Living Lomonds Partnership has produced an artist’s impression of what the site may once have looked like.

A well preserved lime kiln sits at the foot of the hill on its south western flank. A wander around this site makes a worthwhile addition to an ascent of the hill.

Check out Fife Walking’s East Lomond page for more information on routes up this hill.

A to Z of Fife’s Hills : D

Drumcarrow Craig


At 218m Dumcarrow Craig is a craggy wee hill in the east of Fife (close to St Andrews) that can easily be incorporated into a walk along the Fife Pilgrim Way route. Access is easy via a signposted track directly from a minor road near Craigton.

The main summit area is adorned with the obvious communications masts that can be seen for some distance, along with a cairn and an Ordnance Survey trig point. Of an older vintage though, are the remains of an iron age broch close to the summit. The hill is a lumpy hillock and as such sports a second west summit as well as the main summit.

North of the summit is the site of the Denork Craig hill fort. Reaching it from Drumcarrow is not straightforward but is certainly possible if you don’t mind a bit of rough off-path walking.

A suggested walk to Drumcarrow is described on the Cameron Reservoir and Drumcarrow page.

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