A shortish walk starting from the village of Collessie taking in two north Fife summits: Cairnie Hill and Dunbog Hill. Cairnie Hill is a “marilyn” meaning it has at least a 150m drop between it and neighbouring hills whilst Dunbog Hill makes it into the Tump category as it has a drop of over 30m around it.
Distance: 9.5 km / 6 miles
Ascent: 300 m / 985 feet
Terrain: Some tracks, overgrown paths, rough field, quiet road at the end
Start / finish: Collessie
Facilities: limited parking in Collessie at the village hall, nearest refreshments at Fife Zoo
Other walks nearby: Glenduckie Hill and Norman’s Law
The walk starts from Collessie where a signpost beside the Den Burn points along a path to Lindores via Collessie Den. The walk through Collessie Den is very pleasant but in the later summer months it can be a bit overgrown with nettles (shorts are probably not a good idea). There are lovely views across open farmland to the nearby Lomond Hills. When a junction is reached with a signpost you want to keep right following the track that is signed for Woodmill Mains. Very soon, a path branches off left through a gate (without a fence) with waymarker arrows pointing the way.
This section of path is now somewhat overgrown with long grass but is passable. The path gains height and skirts the left hand side of Woodmill Plantation with views over to Lindores Loch opening up ahead of you. The path bears right and becomes easier underfoot. The path then turns left (north) at an obvious track junction.
Go right (east) at this point up the hill, leaving the waymarked route. A quad bike track takes you up the steepest section of the hillside through fields and trees. Keep to the main track going up the hill ignoring the tracks across the field on your left. Once out of the field, bear left on the track up a bracken covered hillside. The good track means there is no difficulty posed by the bracken. Follow this track as it turns north across rough scrub land passing over a small hillock. Soon after the hillock the summit area is reached. The actual summit is not on the track but is easily reached to your left via a trodden path made by walkers through the trees.
Return to the track and continue to follow it northwards, now downhill, until is suddenly comes to an abrupt end near to the edge of a field. Hop over the low fence into the field on your right. Follow the fenceline down hill until a barbed wire fence bars your way. Turn right keeping the barb wire fence to your left until you reach an old broken gate. At this point it is possible to climb the gate (or squeeze through it) to access the field on the other side of the barb wire. Go north east down the steep grassy slope following a bit of a path in places aiming for the corner of the field. At the corner there is easy access on to a track. Go right to reach a T junction.
At this point, turning right on to the track will take you back to Monimail without including Dunbog Hill and this is an option that you may prefer.
To include Dunbog Hill however, keep straight on, crossing over the track, into the field opposite. Depending upon the use of the field at the time you do the walk it may be prudent to keep to the edge of the field over to your right and head up the hillside that way rather than taking the direct route. If you do take the direct route, keep to the right hand side of the next fence line. From the corner of the field there is easy access into the next field from where you follow a fence on your left (not marked on the OS map) almost to the summit of the hill. Leave the fence, to reach the actual summit with its trig point.
Head downhill from the trig point in a roughly easterly direction aiming for a field corner where you bear right through a gate into yet another field. Follow the field edge to rejoin the track network at a pond. Turn right on to the track, passing trees and fenced off fields. The track will continue downhill to meet the Monimail track that you crossed earlier.
However, in 2019 a short cut was possible using a track to your left, crossing over an unfenced field. This field track also joins the Monimail Track.
Go left when you reach the obvious Monimail track and follow it roughly south to reach a Y junction. Keep left at this point passing an old quarry area where fruit trees are now being grown. The track continues downhill to reach the public road at the village of Monimail.
From Monimail you can simply turn right on to the road and walk back to Collessie, a distance of 1.5km . However, it is worth diverting to Monimail Tower via the entrance to North Lodge and Melville House opposite. The tower itself is open and you can climb the spiral steps to the very top, stopping to check out the exhibition area on the way. Also of interest is the Monimail Project in the area. After the tower you can either return to the road the way you came or go through the gate beyond the tower into the orchard. Follow a path through the orchard and through another gate into the woods. A rough path now leads through the woods to reach an old gate in the wall providing access back to the road. The gate is not particularly easy to open so the best option is to squeeze under it. If you don’t like the idea of that, just go back out to the road from the tower.
Return to Collessie along the quiet road
View / download this route from Ordnance Survey
View / download this route from Viewranger
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