Sunday, 20 December 2009
The BInn Ridge Traverse.Burntisland.
I was out on the 20th December but most of that Sunday was taken up dropping off some stuff at Alex`s house,Christmas shopping in Edinburgh ( just for a change) then a quick late afternoon sprint up an icy Blackford hill and snowy Braid hills.Maybe save those pics and other favourite snaps for a Christmas /New Year Photo gallery.
As I knew Alex was going to be working nights up until Christmas in the best Blue Peter tradition here's one I made earlier and saved just for today.
Although on the map (O.S.66.Edinburgh) this looks a nothing walk on a sunny day its one of the most enjoyable outings you can have in central Scotland.I can`t praise this walk highly enough. It`s got everything which is why I kept it back as a special delivery if required.
For a Friday in early December the weather was perfect.No wind,cloudless blue skies,and t-shirt warm even on the summit!
Parked in the main large free car park next to the toilets in the centre of town.
Burntisland is a funny place.It`s main shopping street has more than its fair share of empty lots and has clearly seen better times but the people are friendly,it has many interesting buildings and churches,and several good walks the best of which is this beauty described now.
From town centre walk back uphill through streets to the obvious low point of the ridge,heading west on A909 until you reach signpost past the last houses which leads up through trees.(Silverbarton on map). Public path to Standing Stanes road is the message given.
Follow this easily up to a tiny lochan then east up the ridge until you reach the summit,great views as you climb higher opening up over much of rural Fife.Although not high by mountain standards the views are exceptional.Sparkling sea and islands.
Rolling fields,farms and wooded ridges and the Fife towns looking like something plucked from the Mediterranean.I`ve never seen Kirkcaldy and Leven look so lovely.Honest!
The summit is surprisingly steep and rocky ,almost gabbro like though the path is still easy but if you go right to the edge and look down you could be on a mini skye peak with a similar feeling of vertigo.
Although admittedly none of the Skye guys have a nice seat to take your lunch.
From here you can see the way ahead leading down the ridge towards Kinghorn and the Pettycur holiday park clinging to the side of the hill.
After descending to where it flattens level take middle path along a lane between green wire fences.
This is lower but still good past a former shale oil community of 700 souls (High and Low Binn End) which had its own school and shop in the late 1800s.Hardly any trace of it exists now just trees and wild flowers and a very discrete chemical works hidden in the woods.When you come out at the minor road another signpost is visible nearby(left) which leads inland past farms(Grangehill) and a few large detached houses down through the golf course on the edge of the Holiday park still with tremendous views out to sea.
Kinghorn`s quiet streets lead down to Pettycur bay itself where at low tide a stretch of golden sand can be followed all the way back to Burntisland.At high tide as it was now its still possible to follow this beach then cut round the base of some cliffs to another beach.
It was an amazing evening,felt like a day in summer,and I followed this ever narrowing sand until I was level with a monument and the end of the holiday park.So far so brilliant.
The only fly in the soup is you have to go back to the nearest path at the cliffs (seen in first beach pic) or boulder jump for 2 kilometers with the waves crashing under your toes.. Having done it years ago in near darkness I don`t recommend the boulders.
At the roadside monument to the last Celtic king of Scotland,Alexander III, who was killed by accident at this very spot (boulder hopping maybe?) I joined the tarmac again and headed for Burntisland. .Back at the car I had my own tasty treat with a fish supper scoffed in the dark on the front seat with handy head torch.A fitting end to a very special day out.
This walk really is a little gem.One of the best kept secrets in Scotland.......until now.
When I was young I used to enjoy going into the mountains in winter with my club but as my working life has always included a fair share of jobs outside in all conditions I`ve grown less fond of this idea.
I`d gladly go into hibernation around now,curl up in a ball and wake up in spring.To live a life time of summers must be an awfully big adventure!Instead I do the next best thing,passing my evenings in a warm sunny room with the music and video images of the American deep south and southern Europe flickering on the walls.
For the past couple of years now my Wendy of choice has been Chan Marshall.I can get lost in the dark imagery of the songs she sings,lying down in a heat drenched swampy hollow,nothing but the night crawlers and water moccasins for company,drinking moonshine from a still and hearing the last of the stricken cows floating down river after the floods.That`s a landscape I can get my mental teeth into.Hibernation fodder for the mind.Praise be to Youtube for Black Snake Moan,the Black Keys ,Chan and the deepest sultry south.My late entry into the delta blues(better late than never!)Kiss my bottom snow!!! I`m a creature of honey and sunlight me.