A-Z of Fife’s Hills: S

S for St Ninians


The artificial hillocks of St Ninians may seem a strange inclusion in a listing of Fife Hills. However, in 2020 two out of the three hillocks gained Tump status (hill with 30m and upward prominence) and thus earned themselves a place in the Database of British and Irish Hills.

The hillocks of St Ninians are a landart form designed by Charles Jenks, created on the site of a former open cast mine. Locally controversial, as the original plans were never completed, it is still an obvious landmark when viewed from the M90 near Kelty. The highest of the hillocks is St Ninians East at 181m. This is the hill that attracts the most attention as its summit is adorned with three sculpture features and an avenue of machinery. Access to the summit is via spiral paths often referred to as the walnut whip.

Whilst it is the modern open cast heritage which most people will associate with the area, it is also worth bearing in mind that this is the site of the lost mining village of Lassodie. Once, a thriving community was located here.

The long distance path, the Fife Pilgrim Way, skirts alongside the hills, and walkers on this route can easily make a diversion up St Ninians East.

The area can be approached from the north, east or south. The southern approach from Kingseat along the route of the Fife Pilgrim Way is probably the most scenic. When using this approach, the walker crosses the causeway at Loch Fitty with the hills and sculptures on the skyline providing a tantalising glimpse of what lies ahead.

More information on walking in the St Ninians area is available from Fife Walking.