Hill of Beath is a distinctive small hill to the north east of Dunfermline. At 240m it is the highest point in an otherwise flat landscape. As such it affords fine views of the surrounding area.
The hill is circled by core paths on all sides. This makes it easy to access the hill from most directions and there are approaches from Kingseat, Halbeath, Crossgates, Hill of Beath village, and Cowdenbeath. The path around the northern side is, however, somewhat rough in places and not always straightforward. A barb wire fence needs to be crossed at one point.
There are essentially, two paths / tracks up the hill. From the east and south.
The east route is approached from the north via a rough track (part of the core paths) that skirts the eastern shoulder of the hill. From the south and east the route is reached via a gate (that needs to be climbed) at NT 141 901. The core path from the north continues around to the south side of the hill via this gate.
The south path is accessed from the track between Halbeath and Crossgates at NT 144 895. At this point a track heads towards the hill along a field edge. After going uphill through woodland keep left (leaving the core path network) to ascend the hill on an obvious path alongside an old stone wall. The path bears right before reaching the summit.
Crossgates: from Netherbeath Road there is direct access via a track to the southern path. If you wish to ascend from the north or east you can either walk clockwise right round the hill or use the southern path through the woods and then stay on the core path around the eastern side of the hill rather than following the path alongside the wall.
Hill of Beath: from Torbeith Road there is a core path across fields bringing you to the south east side of the hill. From here you can either follow the southern path alongside the wall or turn right to circle the hill and approach from the gate on the eastern side.
Kingseat: From Cuddyhouse Road on the outskirts of the village there is a track (core path) leading to a bridge across the motorway. Once over the bridge you will be on the path around the western side of the hill.
Halbeath: From the road bridge at NT 128 892, where it is possible to park, there is access to the south western side of the hill. From here you can either use the track to reach the southern path or circle around the western side to use the track from the north and the east.
Cowdenbeath: An approach from the Dalbeath Marshes Nature Reserve on the edge of Cowdenbeath is described below as a circular walk.
Hill of Beath approach routes
Red: East path
Blue: South path
Purple: Core paths around the hill
Grey: Paths from Dalbeath Marshes
Hill of Beath and Dalbeath Marshes Circular Walk
Distance: 8.5 km / 5.3 miles
Ascent: 180 m / 590 feet
Terrain: Mostly on paths and tracks but also includes some rough ground. Gate climbing is required.
Start / finish: Dalbeath Marshes Nature Reserve off the B917 at grid ref NT152 907
Facilities: Small parking area, other facilities in Cowdenbeath
This route has the advantage of including an exploration of the lovely Dalbeath Marshes Nature Reserve and woodland, along with an ascent of the hill.
From the parking area, go through the left hand gate onto a reasonable track. Follow this track to an information board and turn right on to a smaller path for a pleasant walk alongside the lochan. The path rejoins the main track where you turn right for a short distance to reach a metal gate on your left. Go through this first gate but before you reach the next gate, look out for a metal field gate on your left. Climb over this gate and step across the small burn in front of you. Please note that when climbing gates you should aim to climb them at the hinged end as this causes least amount of damage.
Turn right to walk on a grassy path alongside the edge of the field parallel to the burn. At the field corner leave the path and climb another gate into the next field. The path now takes you across two fields before it turns left to go up hill away from the burn. Follow the path with a fence to your right until the field opens out in front of you. Keep right with the fence and a line of trees to your right. Follow the path uphill until you reach a gate on your right hand side. Climb the gate and follow the left hand (straight on) track across the grassy field to reach the summit.
To descend, continue in a westerly direction until you meet a fence. From here the grassy path turns left and starts going down hill. Keep to the path which will turn east alongside the remains of an old wall. When you reach woodlands turn right downhill through the woods until you meet an obvious field track. There are some core path markers in this area. Use the field track to continue downhill to meet a vehicle track.
Turn right on to the track and follow it for 1.6km to reach a junction close to a motorway bridge. Go right at this junction and walk northwards parallel to the motorway (trees provide some sound deadening). When the track turns left across another bridge go through the gate on your right with the purple arrow.
A rough path now circles the west side of the hill. As you approach the northern side of the hill the path leaves the motorway. A barb wire fence needs to be crossed but it is easy to squeeze through without catching the barbs. When you reach the point where the track comes down from the hill turn left towards a wooden gate. Before you reach the gate find a route across the rough ground to reach a high metal gate to your right.
After passing through the gate the ground is quite rough and the path might be difficult to follow. Turn right and walk alongside the fence until the path turns left to go up hill away from the fence. It should be possible to pick a route up the hill through the vegetation. You will know you are on the right route if you reach what looks like a bench made from old tyres. Go past this, still heading up hill on the line of least resistance which should coincide with the rough path. When you reach an obvious wide grassy path, turn right.
This is one of the main paths around the Dalbeath Marshes Nature Reserve. The path is now easy to follow along the crest of the hillside (ignore paths branching off and stay on the high ground). The path will curve right as it starts to go downhill passing a large (locked) gate on your left hand side. Continue straight on to reach the path at the bottom of the hill where you turn left back to the car park.
A final detour to the top of the hillock next to the car park is possible. Instead of walking back to the lochan keep left to reach a large grassy field. This area is the infill of an old quarry which has been reclaimed. You can either walk up the steep grassy path on the right hand side of the quarry or walk across the grass to the north side where a rough path goes up beside the scrub to reach a fence. The path then turns right to follow alongside the top of what was once the quarry rim. Whichever way you go up you will reach the electricity pole close to the summit of the hillock. To return to the car park, leave the summit in a north east direction turning right at a path junction close to a wooden gate (don’t go through the gate). The rough path will lead you through scrub vegetation and steeply down the hill directly to the car park.
View / download GPX route from Viewranger.
View / download GPX route from Ordnance Survey.
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