Auchtertool Circular

This pleasant circular walk around rolling countryside makes use of core paths in the Auchtertool area. The historic Kirk Path included in this route may have been an old coffin road. It may also have been used by monks travelling inland from Inchcolme and Inchkeith. The landscape of the area even provided the setting for Aileen Paterson’s childrens’ book The Pigs of Puddledub.

The Kirk Path improvements have been the only outdoor access project in Auchtertool for 10 years. A path group is now integrated into the community council so hopefully it won’t be the last.

Most of the route is over farmland. Please obey signs that request you to keep dogs on leads, close gates behind you (unless they are obviously supposed to be open), take care around livestock (cattle and water buffalo) and don’t trample over crops! Most of the route is on tracks and quiet roads but a few sections are on rougher ground which could be wet after heavy rain. There are some gates which need to be climbed.

Thank you to Marc Prowe for inspiring this route and providing background information.

The route as described starts from Auchtertool Kirk but could equally well be started from the village.

  • Distance:  10.5 km / 6.6 miles
  • Shorter route distance: 7 km / 4.3 miles
  • Ascent:  250 m / 800 feet
  • Shorter route ascent: 150 m / 500 feet
  • Terrain: Paths and tracks plus some quiet road. 500m of the shorter option is off-path.
  • Start / finish: Auchtertool Kirk, signed from the B925 about 3/4 mile west of the village.
  • Facilities: small car park at the kirk (avoid on Sunday mornings), portaloo at the church available when the church is open, no 18 Kelty to Kirkcaldy bus serves Auchtertool

Route Map

Auchtertool Circuit route map
Red: full route; Blue: option for shorter route (off path); Grey: other paths

From the church car park follow the signpost for the Kirk Path to Auchtertool which takes you through the  ancient kirk yard – legends of ghosts and secret tunnels here; an outstanding peace and quiet for inspiration. The kirk sits on high ground which affords panoramic views south over the rolling countryside and across the forth to Dunbar. Visitors are very welcome and there are even a couple of seats outside where you can enjoy the views before and after your walk.

The well kept grassy path then takes you downhill to join the Puddledub road where you turn right on to the road and follow it for 2km (about 30 mins). It’s a very quiet road through farm land so you shouldn’t meet much traffic.

After a sharp left turn you reach Templehall. Turn left on to the farm track opposite Templehall Farm. The track is used for field access but when you reach what appears to be its end, continues as a grassy track. After reaching a gate (which you need to climb) the track becomes rather overgrown for a while but the surface improves when it enters woodland. Once out of the woods the grounds of Balmuto are reached and the track bears round to the right. Turn left at the junction, opposite the red gates and follow the track to Gamekeepers Cottage. This is a core path don’t be intimidated by an signage that indicates otherwise.

After passing the cottage and exiting the woods there is a field gate on your left. At this point you can decide whether to return to Auchtertool or continue onward doing the full route.

Shorter option (shown in blue on route map)

Climb the gate into the field and follow rough vehicle tracks across the field to its far side (alternatively walk round by the edge of the field). Although a designated core path, there is no actual path for about 500m until you reach the Kirk Path south of Auchtertool. Climb over the metal gate in the corner by the burn to reach the rough field edge. The easiest option is now to walk along the pathless edge of the field to reach the point where a signpost points left for the Kirk Path. Follow this signpost through the gate if you are returning to the church or keep straight on if you are returning to the village.

Full route

Continue on the track through more fields until you reach a minor road. Turn left on to the road and follow it up to the main B925 road. When you reach this road take care crossing over and turn right towards Clentrie Farm. Alternatively you could turn left and follow the pavement back to Auchtertool.

Turn left up the access road for Clentrie Farm following the green footpath signpost for Dundonald. You are entering a working farm so stay alert for vehicles / machinary, keep dogs on a lead and close gates behind you. Follow the road through the farm buildings and through a gate. Once through the gate you are entering the area where water buffalo graze. Take care, keep dogs under control and give the buffalo a wide berth where possible. Also be aware that most of the fences are electrified in this area so don’t try climbing them, stick to the gates.

When you start to approach Camilla Loch take a left turn at a track junction. Pass through another gate and either continue on the track for easy walking or, if you prefer, head up the hillside to your right and walk along the crest of the hill for views of the loch.

The track joins a minor road to the north of Auchtertool where you turn left. Follow the road into the village and turn left on to the main street. When you reach the former Tiel Restaurant turn right following the green path sign for the Kirk Path. A reasonable path  (although it could be muddy after rain) takes you to a signpost at a pedestrian gate.

Both Routes

Pass through the gate following the Kirk Path sign and continue west on grassy track, down to a field gate (strong hands to open). Continue in same direction between hawthorns and bushes, then left to another field gate (open and close by unhooking a chain), and right again westwards. There is a wee overgrown pond below beautiful woodland to your right. Continue westwards till you reach quiet Puddledub road (through separate walkers gate). Young cattle belonging to award winning butchers Watsons, graze the fields in this area so keep dogs on a lead and close to you.

Turn left, walk on the country lane for 100 yards. When you reach Kirkton Farm, turn right through the walkers gate to access the grassy track up to the Kirk.

Coming close to the Kirk you continue up on the track veering left to reach the 8 steps leading to the Kirk south gate.

Thank you to Marc Powel for providing some of the above information