Category Archives: Walks over 60 miles away

The Fife Coastal Path: Elie to Crail

This very well-known stretch of the Fife Coastal Path is justly popular. In addition to the villages of Elie, St Monance, Pittenweem, Anstruther and Crail, each with their picturesque harbours, you will pass the remains of a number of castles, a fine dovecot, a windmill and numerous churches and caves. The views out to sea include the Bass Rock, North Berwick Law and May Island from all directions.  Both sections of the walk are  ‘easy’ although the section from Elie to Anstruther is longer. There are some stone steps up and down and some slippery rocky sections but nothing difficult or steep. At St Monansyou might like to take the ‘tidal route’ mainly because it is delightfully pastoral and makes a short change from the rocky shore. The section from Anstruther is shorter and flatter and you can actually look at the views rather than your feet!

To do this walk you need to plan your day around the No 95 Bus which runs around the coast. Unless you use the bus both ways, it is probably best to park in Crail (where there is ample free parking along Marketgate) and take the bus to Elie. The No. 95 is every hour (check the latest timetables) but there is a café by the bus stop in the High Street. It is a half hour journey to Elie.

Your walk begins in the High Street where you can pick up the Fife Coastal Path signs and almost any road will take you down top the sea and around the harbour to Ruby Bay car-park. There are toilets hear and you step out along the Way and on to a good track.

On the south of Shepherd’s Knowe is the Lady’s Chapel now in ruins. This Tower was built for Lady Jane Anstruther in the later part of the 18th century and was used by her as a bathing house.  She was a naturist and from this point she was able to enter the bay below without being seen by the local residents of Elie.

Regaining the path adjacent to the shore, (if you went to see the tower) the walk heads towards St Monans. On the way, the path passes two ruins, the first being very limited in height and is Ardross Castle, a 14th century building. This now has farm buildings next to the ruins and the path passes directly through some arches of the castle. The next ruin is Newark Castle, a significantly more visible and imposing ruin sitting above the cliff face. The path leaves the shoreline and climbs up to the ruin and the adjacent round tower. This castle was built in the 15th century for the Sandilands Family.

Just opposite the castle, there is a signpost offering an inland path if the tide is in. Obviously, you should take this if necessary. However, the inland route is very attractive, not much further, and offers a pastoral view for a change. It also gives a fine view of St Monans’ Church. If you take this route don’t go down to where the shore track comes up (you’ll only have to climb back up again) but stick to the village road above Partan Craig and the Harbour. St Monans is thought to be one of the more traditional fishing villages of Fife.  It is easy to get lost at the end of the harbour. Turn left (there is a sign on a metal post) and then right along Rose Street (again, there is a sign on a metal post.) There are toilets in St Monans further up the hill but come back to Rose Street to continue.

The way takes you past St Monans Windmill: this was used in the past to pump seawater into the salt pans which are very obvious along the shore line.

The next community on the route is Pittenweem, only a mile further along the coast. If you feel you are making progress you might stop to look at the 17th century home of Captain James Cook, known as the Gyles, and/or St Fillan’s Cave with its earlier Christian connections. This can be found up a narrow alley directly opposite the harbour. There are toilets on the way in to Pittenweem.

From Pittenweem the path has a further two miles before it enters Anstruther. This section starts at a slightly higher level along the edge of fields before dropping down to the shore. It then runs parallel to the Anstruther Golf Course entering from the west close to the club house. The route reaches the main road. The road to the right beside the church looks tempting but you can’t get across the river. You have to follow the main road through Anstruther. When you hit St Andrews Road  turn down right to the harbour area which, although one of the more commercially active ports, is still very picturesque. There are many pleasure craft in the marina and a number of shops. The toilets are down in the harbour. If you are stopping here, you have time to get the traditional fish ‘n chips, or a snack before exploring Anstruther (lighthouse, life-boat museum (free), the well-known Scottish Fisheries Museum (charge) or the few shops. If the weather happened to dry up it would be very pleasant simply to sit at the harbour or explore Cellardyke, with its quaint houses and streets. Anstruther is made up of three communities, Anstruther Wester, Anstruther Easter and Cellardyke, all at one time having their own active harbours. You can stop here and get the bus back to Elie or on to Crail.

CONTINUING TO CRAIL

To continue on the Coastal Path, leave by the side of the Museum and take the road to a “T” junction. Instead of following the road to the left we continue on the narrow road straight ahead passing a lot of interesting traditional terraced fishing houses on either side. This shortly opens out at Cellardyke harbour. Straight ahead is a caravan park, Kilrenny Mill, on the left. The good track goes straight across between the caravans and the sea. There are wonderful views across to the Isle of May. The route is now by a mixture of track, path and open field as it heads for over three miles towards Crail. The way is obvious and easy to walk. About half way there are the Caiplie Caves. These were formed in post-glacial times but the importance are the carvings that Monks and pilgrims made on the caves as they travelled towards St Andrews. The path climbs up beside the harbour to the main road. Don’t follow the path back down to the cliffs but make your way along the main road to The Golf Hotel (recommended for a meal), past the library and straight along Marketgate where you should find your car.

Dunkeld Circular

For this walk you will need to catch the 10.10 train from Glasgow Queen Street to Dunkeld There’s a return train at 19.18. The ‘Dunkeld Path Network Map’, obtainable from the Tourist Office in Dunkeld, or downloadable from the website, would be useful on this walk.

Begin your walk by crossing the railway line by the bridge and then turning left (with your backs to the station) going to the end of the platform and down the steps. You come to a road where you turn left, taking the off-road path above the road.  Go straight on following the ORANGE, INCHEWAN path alongside the Inchewan Burn which is on your right. This part is absolutely beautiful.

All too soon, you reach the junction with a path to the left, but go a little further on and, on your right and just in sight, is a rustic bridge across the Inchewan Burn itself. Once across, you leave the Orange Inchewan Path, which goes off to the left, and take a forestry route, marked with purple dashes on the Dunkeld Path Network map, across the Ladywell Plantation.

You come to the GREEN BRAAN path at a curious junction where you turn right. It’s sign-posted to the Hermitage which you’re making for. The Braan path goes down to cross a country road, past a car park on your left, then underneath the railway line, then over the River Braan and into Inver. You then emerge on to a fenced off-road path alongside the A9 but quickly reach The Heritage car park. If you’re lucky there will be a kiosk selling cakes, crisps, hot drinks and ice-creams (but no sandwiches or hot food).

Hug the River Braan for a beautiful walk along the river bank to the spectacular waterfalls and Ossian’s Hall at The Hermitage. This justly famous and exceedingly picturesque spot is good for lunch.

After visiting The Folly, (both doors will be open –  push hard) continue on up to Ossian’s Cave, but here leave the Green Braan path for the PALE PURPLE INVER route. After the beauty of the deciduous woods, this stretch along a LRT is less attractive but there are good views across the river to the hills beyond. The Inver Route winds down to the river where you should  ignore the path along a stream and under the road and railway, but turn right to emerge on a noisy, horrible bit along the A9. There is a very wide, safe, pavement, and the views up the river to Pitlochry are good. Fortunately, you soon reach the cycle track on your left which curves down and back under the bridge to continue on the other side of the river on the PALE GREEN FIDLER’S path.

You now have an easy walk along the River Tay, initially above the river, but just beside it as you begin to get nearer to Dunkeld. The last stretch is lovely as the cathedral comes into view. Keep to the river until you are guided past the cathedral (now on your right) to turn suddenly sharp right. Now you walk along the far side of the cathedral, go through the Heritage Scotland entrance (free) to the front of the cathedral where you’ll want to stop to take photographs and explore a little.  Then  turn left through the main gates and into the little town. If you don’t know Dunkeld, the white-washed houses, Mercat Cross and triangle are exceedingly picturesque. At the main road,  turn right to cross the magnificent Thomas Telford bridge.

Once across the bridge  continue for a couple of hundred yards to Little Dunkeld. A sign-post points left across a grassy triangle to the road to Birnam and you follow this to the Birnam and Dunkeld Hotel.

Now take the Orange Inchewan Burn path, opposite the Hotel and on the right of the Beatrix Potter Garden and the left of the Inchewan Burn. This brings you back to the steps going up to the platform and the train for Glasgow.

The John Muir Way Link

This section is the the ‘Link; between The John Muir Way, which finishes/starts at Dunbar and the Southern Upland Way, which finishes/starts at Cockburnspath.  Even if you are not embarking on either of these great ways, this is a wonderful walk in itself. You will need to use local transport or a taxi – or walk it over two days beginning at each end and going half way. Note that you are following the final, unofficial section, of the John Muir Way (JMW). At the time of printing, you won’t find this section in any of the current Guidebooks to, or maps of, The John Muir Way which officially ends/starts at his birthplace in Dunbar. However, very recently it was decided to extend the route to Cockburnspath to join up with The Southern Upland Way (SUW) which wanders through the Borders to Portpatrick. Even the official end of the JMW Link ends in a layby on the A1.! So you follow a local route to Cockburnspath and then the SUW down to Cove. The JMW Link is well sign-posted as such. The SUW short section is the denoted by the traditional Scottish logo for a National Trail – thistle within a hexagon.

 Start either in the Shore Road car-park or at the Leisure Pool (although you’ll miss one of the best bits if you skip the first mile or so! Both car-parks have toilets.

 

Center map

To get to the Shore Road car park go through Dunbar on the A1087 to West Barns (pub on the left) then signs to the Bellhaven Bay Caravan Park.. Turn left down Shore Road and drive to the very end. There is an Information Board, and magnificent views of the John Muir Country Park, Berwick Law and the Bass Rock.

To get to the Leisure Pool continue along the A1087 to Dunbar Leisure Pool, Castle Park, Dunbar EH42 1EU

 Section 1: 1.41 miles.

Your walk begins immediately on a good path just above the shore line and weaves beside the sea between the golf course and the rocky beach below. At the end you step through an archway to a stunning view of the castle. Turn right for the Leisure Pool where there are toilets. and the coach will be waiting.

 Section 2: 5.65 miles. This is a very easy section. It begins just beyond the entrance to the Leisure Pool where a ‘John Muir way Link signpost directs you left, round the castle and down to the picturesque old harbour. The Link (sign-posted) winds its way through the back streets of Dunbar and then out on a path between the seashore and a golf course. You are (continuously) asked to wait until golfers have played their shots, and to speak quietly. Your path follows red posts and you should keep as close to the shore as possible, only joining the golf course road as directed.) At the end of the Links go through Catcraig picnic site and on to Barns Ness picnic site where there are toilets. Then make for the lighthouse, by-passing it eventually by turning right, before following a lovely track, just inland to Skateraw Farm. There are more toilets here.

Section 3: 1.68 miles. Without transport you will have to continue round Skateraw Cove turning left behind the toilets and then climb up a little to by-pass the rocky headland. The path winds down again to the northern side of the Power Station where an obvious promenade, named the Coastal Walk and next to steel gates not through them, goes right around the outside of the Power Station. It emerges at the car-park where a clear John Muir sign-post points left and left again along a metalled road to emerge at Thorntonloch. You are right beside the sea but the concrete is hard going.

Sections 4 and 5: 4.67 miles including the 0.66 miles down to Cove Harbour and back to the coach. This is the most attractive section in that you have a variety of low cliff top, seashore, wooded valleys, farm fields, a picturesque village and eventually drop down to the Smugglers’ Tunnel to Cove harbour.

Start from Thortonloch car-park (toilets) and make your way down to and along the sandy beach to a hidden post taking you a few yards inland and very gently back up on to the low cliffs. (The official route avoids the ‘locals’ path straight up on to the low cliff.) From here you can see ahead to the much grander cliffs of St Abbs’ Head. Now follows a wonderful walk along the tops to Bilsdean Glen. A thickly wooded path takes you right down to the sea. This is the only awkward bit where you have a ⅓ mile walk along a cobbled beach. You may find it easier to walk on the smaller stones by the sea. Then take to the woods again up Dungeness Glen (sign-posted from the beach). At a junction at the top of the glen there is a signpost directing you left to Cove but it follows the road down to the harbour.

Much nicer and safer is to continue up the glen, under the road and rail viaducts, to a country road where you dogleg left and right, up beside some fields, to a signpost pointing you left to the village of Cockburnspath. There’s a Mercat Cross and a Post Office for ice-creams/water and, as you turn left for the last lap, more toilets. At the War Memorial turn left, then first right on a track on what is now the Southern Upland Way. The track leads down under the road and rail viaducts again, straight ahead in front of some cottages, crosses a country road to dogleg along a track through fields and on to the coastal path. Turn left here or you’ll end up in Portpatrick on the Southern Upland Way!!

At the end of this path is a gate with the car-park on the left. Turn right to go through another kissing gate and down a little track to the Smugglers’ Tunnel and out into the little harbour.

Picturesque Pitlochry

 

This is a lovely varied walk taking in a loch, several rivers, a golf course, a forest track under the hills, winding paths, The Soldier’s Leap at the NT Visitors’ Centre at Killiecrankie, an interesting train journey and a picturesque town! All the paths are good and most of the sign-posting is very clear.

You can either drive to Pitlochry or use the train. The most convenient trains are the 10.01 from Glasgow (Queen Street) to Pitlochry and the 19.06 return

Center map

Begin your walk from the platform you arrive on, walking to the far end of platform and down left on to a track which joins the metalled road (Armoury Road) leading down to the dam and the Salmon Ladder.). You can walk down to the dam to see the river and Ladder and pick up the path on the right going along, but slightly above, Loch Faskally. However, if you’ve done these before, locals have created a short cut from a layby on the right which is slightly easier, quicker and just as pleasant. It soon joins the path along the loch. This is a beautiful stretch.

All too soon, this winding path is blocked by The Green Hotel, and comes up to the road. Go straight across the road (the A924) and immediately turn left and then right over the railway. Use a metalled road to climb a little, past individual houses on either side. At the top, a path is sign-posted to the left going right behind the last house and then through a gate and on to a golf course. Cross to the sign-post in the middle of the gold course, as directed, and then turn right and then left following several Public Rights of Way, usually sign-posted ‘To Craigower’, and always climbing gently, to the house with the red roof (Upper Drumchorry). All this is to avoid the usual (advertised) route which takes a road out of Pitlochry and isn’t so attractive.

At Upper Drumchorry, the path goes left below (south of) the cottage on the and eventually comes out on The Old North Road (with Little Blue Men!). Turn left towards Killiecrankie on a wide, easy LRT which is nearly all downhill. (An optional path to Craigower, which climbs steeply to the viewpoint, goes off to the right.) Further on, at a junction, with a track coming in from the left, go straight on: the sign is hidden on the right in some undergrowth. There are wonderful views where the trees are clear along this road.

The only awkward bit is getting down off this track, but it is very clearly signposted. Turn steeply downhill on the left, under the A9 towering above you, and emerge on the B8079. Here turn right and there is under a mile of pavement walking to bring you to the Visitors’ Centre. There are toilets here, and a small Visitors’ Centre, but the café has closed.

To continue the walk, go along the decking outside the Visitors’ Centre, and follow the wooden steps steeply down towards the River Garry. There is a short path to the right which leads to The Soldier’s Leap, but is also worth taking for the view of railway line! Returning to the main path go right down to the River and follow it (and Little Green Men!) all the way back to Faskally Woods. It is easy to get lost here you should turn right and then left to follow either the Little Green Men or the white posts to the Clunie Footbridge. Don’t cross the river here, but go up the road to The Green Hotel and take the A924 back into Pitlochry.

If you don’t want to do the whole walk, there are ample walks in Pitlochry, all sign-posted with Little Men of varying colours! There’s a leaflet available from the Tourist Centre and many shops.

 

Kelso to Jedburgh

The total length of your walk is about 13 miles so you might have to organise a taxi, bus or lift! You could also stay overnight in Kelso or Jedburgh and do half of the walk each day. Note that you are following the Border(s) Abbeys Way whose logo is a W with a line underneath. Note the symbol for the St Cuthbert’s Way whose path you share at Dere Street. If you follow this you’ll end up in Lindisfarne! The BAW is circular so make sure you’re going in the direction of Jedburgh or you’ll end up back at Melrose! This is particularly important at the River Tweed in Kelso which you leave for the River Teviot and Jedburgh.

Park in Kelso There is plenty of free parking in Kelso. The handiest car park is The Knowes Car Park, The Butts, Kelso Satnav Postcode: TD5 7BA. The journey is mainly on motorways and dual carriageways with a country road at the end. 

Center map

Section 1: Kelso to Roxburgh 3.68 miles

The first section, starting at the Abbey, is the shortest but involves some road walking out of Kelso along the River Tweed to Junction Pool and down to the River Teviot. There are fine views of Floors Castle and the Abbey on the way. Once beside the river, the walk is easy and pleasant. If you feel you can’t walk too far, this is the section for you. From Kelso Abbey, follow the signs out to the main road, to cross Rennie’s fine bridge over the River Tweed, which has stood here since 1803. Turn right on the A699, pausing to admire the grand classic archway ahead, designed by James Gillespie Graham in 1822 and once the main entrance to the long-demolished Springwood Park House.

Follow the road as it swings left at the point where Teviot and Tweed meet. This is one of the most favoured (and expensive) salmon fishing beats on the Tweed, and is much in demand. Go right with the road, to cross the Teviot by another lovely old bridge, dating from 1795. In a further 250 yards, cross the wall on the left by a stile and go down steps to the riverside path. As the path swings left with the river, the ruins of Roxburgh Castle are seen on the steep slope to the right. This fortress once dominated Roxburgh town, of which no trace now remains. Continue along the riverside path for nearly 1½ miles. You may see mallard, moorhen, mute swan, oystercatcher and heron along this stretch of the river. The path eventually leaves the river to climb a bank and continue along a field edge, giving a good view of Heiton Mill across the river. A stile leads us on to a minor road. Turn left through Roxburgh Mill Farm and continue towards Roxburgh village, with the imposing former railway viaduct an unmistakable marker ahead of you.

 Section 2: Roxburgh to Nisbet 4.47 miles

The second section is very easy walking initially along the River Teviot and then through open countryside along a disused railway line. This flat section, with lovely open views of the countryside, is less varied and a little longer than the first section.

The path goes left, down a lane past a furniture workshop, and back to the river to turn right under a viaduct. Continue along the river bank for about 2 miles. Across the river is Roxburghe Hotel; in its extensive grounds is the championship-standard Roxburghe Golf Course. There are also five sizeable caves in the river bank. One is called the Horse Cave. Legend has it that it was used as a hiding place for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s horses in 1745 while he and his Jacobite army were marching from Kelso to Jedburgh. As you draw level with an island in the river, turn right at the dyke, following the edge of the field uphill to a stile and steps which give access to the old railway line. Turn left and follow the line for just over ½ mile, leaving it down steps to a minor road.

Turn left for a few yards, cross the road and continue up the track as signed. This track soon rejoins the old railway line, which is followed for more than 1½ miles, a flat and easy path, to Nisbet, with the river swinging through a series of broad curves away to your left.

 Section 3: Nisbet to Jedburgh 5 miles

This is the most interesting section although it is slightly longer and involves the only slight incline of the day – walking up the Roman Road of Dere Street. This is a wide, well-made path and doubles with the St Cuthbert’s Way. The final section into Jedburgh has been laid out through pleasant gardens and ends at the Abbey. On reaching the road at Nisbet, you turn left and cross the river. Once across, turn immediately right down some steps to follow the flood bank and then take the riverside for about 800 yards. At a track turn left, then turn right and left, as way-marked, to re-join the old railway line for a final section to Jedfoot, where the Jed Water joins the Teviot. From this stretch there is a fine view across the river to the Waterloo Monument on Penniel Heugh, a noted Borders landmark which can be also reached by a signposted route from the Harestanes Visitor Centre.

A stile leads you out to the A698 road. Cross the road with great care and follow the signs (also now showing St Cuthbert’s Way) to the start of Dere Street, a clear track leading straight uphill. The track is followed for about 800 yards, before you leave it to turn right (St Cuthbert’s Way goes straight on). Go down a path which leads to the access road at Mount Ulston. Follow this road downhill to join another road. Turn left and follow this road down to the A68 (take care again!) to take the riverside path which starts opposite. Follow the path which becomes a road. Where two bridges cross the river, cross the first bridge. Continue keeping left and joining a path that passes through a subway under the road continuing to follow the riverside path. You’ll have a good view of the abbey ahead here. Pass under a subway to the roadside opposite the end of this section, at Jedburgh Abbey.