New Year Challenge
Are you looking for a walking challenge for the start of a new year? Did you know that Fife has 114 hills listed on the Database of British and Irish Hills? Whilst most people are probably familiar with the likes of the Lomonds, Benarty Hill, Knock Hill etc, there are many many more hills out there waiting to be explored.
We don’t have munros but we do have relative hills in Fife and are able to boast seven marilyns. Relative hills are maybe a slightly unusual concept at first, as it’s not the height that is important. Rather it is the drop (prominence) between it and it neighbouring hills. Thus a marilyn doesn’t need to be particularly high, just so long as it has got a 150m drop all around it. In fact some of our highest munros don’t qualify as marilyns!
Challenge Number 1 – Fife’s Seven Marilyns
The good thing about these hills is that they all have straightforward, pathed routes up them, and in most cases the routes are short. If that sounds too easy, then how about completing them all in the same day? It can be done.
Challenge Number 2 – Fife’s 14 Humps
Moving down the scale of relativity, we move from Marilyns to Humps. Yes, really! Hump being an abbreviation for Hundred Metre and Upward Prominence. These are all hills that have an all round drop of at least 100m. In addition to the seven marilyns already mentioned there are a further seven hills that make it into the Hump category.
The challenge is starting now as not all of these hills have paths right to the summit. Lumbennie Hill and Black Hill have their summits in forestry, so it’s necessary to make your way up the final section of the hill through the trees. And beware if you decide to walk between Knock Hill and Saline Hill, the bit in between is boggy! Except for the ones with their summits in trees, they’ve all got pretty decent views.
Challenge Number 3 – Fife’s nine hills over 300m
Okay, so perhaps this idea of prominence isn’t really your thing and it’s actual height that appeals to you. Although Fife’s hills are not the highest, nine of them are over 300m and form the basis for challenge number 3.
Completing this list is a wee bit more challenging as you will need to venture into the Cleish Hills and walk over rough moorland to reach the summits. However, it’s worth doing in order to be able to say that you’ve visited all the high ground in Fife.
So which challenge will you choose?
Routes to the summit of all these hills (and many more) are provided in the Uplands of Fife section of Fife Walking. For many hills, multiple routes are described so you can choose either the easy route or challenge yourself with a longer or steeper route. And remember, in most cases you don’t have to come back down the same way, mix and match routes to create your own circular walk.
All hill data taken from the Database of British and Irish Hills.