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.