Sunday, 14 March 2010

Benarty Hill.Hill of Beath.

Better weather this week and an interesting and disturbingly different pair of hills.Parked at Lochore Meadows country Park near Ballingry in central Fife.I`ve been here before a couple of times and always enjoyed it.This was reclaimed land,unsightly spoil heaps and waste ground (site of the infamous smoldering Bing) until the 1970s.

Now its an attractive loch with several wooded islands,set in landscaped surroundings with a sailing club and horse and pony trekking. As it has a large catchment area of small towns and villages in this most industrial part of Fife its popular at weekends but still has a nice empty feeling to it.Just shows you what can be acheived to transform what was once an eyesore.

As you can see from the map set off from car park up Harran Hill then across a grassy meadow to the minor road where a good but steep zig zag path leads up through trees to the open summit ridge behind.

Stunning views over Loch Leven National Nature Reserve,The Lomonds,Cleish Hills and a large chunk of Central Scotland was our reward for reaching the summit..Although a mellow grassy hill on its southern slopes the northern edge boasts some impressively rugged cliffs.

Needless to say Alex had to have a scramble on the crags as soon as he noticed them.I think he must have been an African Rift Valley Baboon in a previous life as he seems to have no fear,dancing over pinnacles hundreds of feet above the ground.He`s always happiest with sheer drops below him ,safe from leopards above.
He also claims to be losing his head for heights now he`s older. Yeah, right. That's really obvious here.

Easy walking and a gentle roller coaster ridge found us on the lesser summit at 327 metres where we had another fine view over the M90 motorway.

Here Alex found another set of lesser crags to climb down onto,beating his hairy chest above the valley and roaring out a challenge to the young males of Kelty who looked up bare chested and tattooed in the streets and then roared back in return.He`d climbed here years ago with our club, fantastic views but fairly average rock routes he informed me.
Great place for a video though.Here,s King Monkey strutting his stuff in casual fashion.

If you are wondering what I was about to say at the end before that pesky cut out (damn these clumsy paws) its my promise to keep the blog going if old grey nut here toppled off his perch.
Mind you I`m writing most of it anyway these days.Lazy git.Get your finger out ya baldy slacker!
We ambled down in the warm sunshine,tee-shirts being seen for the first time in ages,back to the car.

A really enjoyable hill but one that most folk wouldn`t think of going up unless they lived in the local area.This was the hill I was wanting to watch T in the park from with the binoculars.Maybe a bit too far but a very different day out.Alas the weather that time was not in our favour,rain, mist and wind up here.
Back down at the car Alex sat and read my paper in the sun while I walked along the pit road for two kilometres past the riding stables to take this photo of the Mary Pit and Concrete frame monument with winding gear wheels.Impressive structure.A common sight once all over central Scotland.

I returned via the shoreline of the loch.Back at the car a now rested Alex was keen to bag a smaller second hill."You`ll love it" he said."This ones right up your alley.Its not that far away". He then gave directions for a magical mystery tour through deepest industrial Fife towards the trig of his choice driving back though Kelty and Kingseat until we stopped in a rubbish strewn lay by beside a locked gate."This is it."
Walking from here took us across a pedestrian bridge over the M90 motorway and up the grassy Hill of Beath for a view over Fifes very own heart of darkness.Jim Baxter was born and raised here before going on to have a great career in football with Scotland, Rangers and many other teams along the way.At the top views were unique.My kind of hill.Beauty and beast tangled up close in one tight sleeping bag.
An unknown and surprisingly overlooked (by us anyway) steep sided bing loomed above nearby Cowdenbeath.

Turning left slightly brought the chemical works and adjacent smoke chimneys to please the eye.

Turning further left gave us a vision of a wild frontier- like open cast mining operation.

Due to its modest height and ease of ascent Its obviously a favourite outlook point.
"**** me, its grim! " laughed Alex."Makes Grangemouth look like a good place to spend your holidays."
"Its probably the most industrial part of Fife ."I conceded."Better to keep it all in the one bit though eh? Keeps the rest of it clean."
Being Fife it also had fine views aplenty too up here.Excellent panoramas over Edinburgh and the Pentlands,North to the snowy wall of the Ochils and this one of Benarty just climbed.

And this of the Saline group of hills.

Just at that moment Alex noticed a bird of prey that he didn`t regognise.We took a picture.Later I looked it up on the net and one of these had been spotted in this area.

I think its a male marsh harrier.A rare sight nowadays.Good spot from Alex.
"I love wildlife." he proclaimed." It turns up in the most unexpected places".
Later I dropped him off outside his house only to find his front garden infested with wild rabbits,busy munching his prized plants just dug into the soil recently to celebrate the spring weather.
"God in heaven, its teeth city out there" our big baboon wailed,leaping out the car to give chase,cursing mightly.
"Aw,what a shame Alex.After all your hard work."
Happy days.Go on you munching bunnies! Go!

Here`s a pic of the bullfinch helping himself to my tree buds last week.


blueskyscotland said...

Aye...very funny.Still can`t fathom how you can see a resemblance in that open cast coal mine to Bryce Canyon in Utah though :o)

First the greedy thieving bullfinches strip my tree buds and now a family of rabbits living up the back of my garden.The young ones learn fast.Yesterday they were standing up on their hindlegs enjoying the last of the cotoneaster buds when they lost their balance and fell over in a heap.The look on their face was priceless.!
The weasel was back again the other day and the sheeps are out in the field across the road.It`s springtime..!


blueskyscotland said...

Shit happens when you live in the country boy! Get back to govan if you want a quiet life. bob.
PS.We will have to get a room now.We are dominating our own blog.Thats bordering on cyber incest!

The Glebe Blog said...

Hi Guys,great to see you heading back to the Kingdom.
You've been to the part of Fife that my first true love lived-well Cardenden anyway,just next door.

I wonder whatever became of the lovely Anne Russell.We were becoming a real loving item when I buggered off to England to seek my fortune.If by any chance Anne gets to read this,I just need to say sorry.(and I never found that fortune)
Great blog,and great pictures as well.Alex must have no fear,he never looked like jumping.

happywanderer said...

Climbed Benarty this morning, great views if a little obscured by cloud. Could see large swathes of industrial Fife and the growing sprawl of Kelty. Only wildlife around were a few fat sheep, a couple of birds and the dull thwack of bullets being fired from the nearby firing range, kept well away from that. Bishops Hill lookd inviting so might try that one next.

Andrew said...

I am heading to Scotland from Canada in June 2011 and thought it would always be fun to climb the hill that bears my surname. Could you be so kind to let me know where I can access the hill of beath from?

blueskyscotland said...

Andrew.Its not that easy a hill to get to and is slightly off the tourist trail.However with a Scotland road map take the Forth road bridge(near Edinburgh) then the M90 motorway to junction 3 then A92 to cowdenbeath.You can either park at hill of Beath(a housing estate/ex Mining village I think) below the hill or if it doesn,t look that safe to leave a car there take the B917 then minor road to kingseat.(a village) From the hotel a minor road leads east(yellow on OS map) then first right.Park here.Its where we parked. A very small layby. A tarmac covered but very minor road leads from here,goes over the M90 motorway to reach hill of beath.Its not that special and is in one of the most industrial parts of Fife.There are far better hills and places nearby however.Falkland and the lomond hills are excellent.Very old and filled with history.Mary Queen of Scots used to watch the kings play Royal tennis in Falkland palace.Culross is also worth a visit and the Elie chain walk round the sea cliffs is reached from nearby Earlsferry which is easy but spectacular at low tide.Most useful maps to buy for fife are OS 59 St Andrews and OS 58 Perth and Alloa.(hill of beath is just on this at very bottom of map) Several other interesting walks on these two maps are posted on this blog.
best of luck. The Maple leaf forever!

Anonymous said...

Your pics are very good. Me, my dad and my brother were planning on doing this walk but due to very bad weather we could not do it. We will do it soon and let you now what we saw.

blueskyscotland said...

To anon.
Best of luck with your walk.