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Walk: Alva Glen - Smuggler's Cave delivers the goods

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The southern wall of the Ochil Hills is riven by a series of exciting rocky gorges, in stark contrast to the neighbouring plains of the Forth valley. Alva Glen is as dramatic and scenic as its counterparts, filled with a series of at least five waterfalls in its forested lower reaches. Small reservoirs and dams are testament to the Hillfoots Villages' once thriving textile industry; at one point the path also lies on top of the pipe which used to supply Alva with water. Smuggler's Cave is the glen's other unique feature: a yawning chasm of bare rock with a hidden waterfall at the top of it as the burn squeezes into the upper cavern. If you're as sure-footed as the sheep wandering the hillsides then you can get right down to the cave, and also return to the start on Pate's Road: a narrow trod high above the gorge. There's a lot of steep and dangerous ground around here, so it's probably inadvisable to venture off the paths.


Name: Walk: Smuggler's Cave de…

Kingsbarns Distillery

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The story of Kingsbarns Distillery is closely linked to golf - unsurprising given its proximity to St Andrews. Local golf caddie Douglas Clement noticed the curious dearth of distilleries in eastern Fife, despite a wealth of potential clients who flocked to the region to play the links game in its purest form. Poor in money but rich in contacts, he gathered capital from wealthy golfers to set up his own distillery. Money ran out but the venture was sold to the Wemyss family and construction started in 2013. Kingsbarns is therefore one of Scotland's youngest distilleries; production only began in 2015, meaning whisky can't be legally bottled until 2018. In the meantime you can taste a varied selection of Wemyss Malts - blends from elsewhere in Scotland - at the end of your guided visit. Tours also take in an excellent film and exhibition area, as well as the production area which is housed in a single room. We wouldn't recommend Kingsbarns as our favourite whisky tour: whi…

Dunino Den

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Dunino Den fits comfortably into the "unusual" category of places to visit across Scotland. Here in a strip of natural woodland - rare in eastern Fife - a pre-Christian ritual site is found alongside a deep section of the Kinaldy Burn. The nearby church graveyard contains an ancient sculptured stone and part of a Neolithic stone circle, so it's tempting to suggest that the location has had significance since at least Pictish times. The den itself, accessed by a woodland path, is on two levels. On the upper level is a rock-cut well and nearby carved footprint. Some sources claim this spot was used for human sacrifice by druids. Unsettling enough, but uneven stone steps descend to a natural, burnside amphitheatre with Celtic knotwork and crosses carved into the rock walls, and hundreds of coins wedged into nearby cracks. Offerings of ribbons, buttons and other craftwork have been left hanging from trees, though there were fewer of these on our visit than appear in some ph…

Cellardyke

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Today, Cellardyke tends to be overshadowed by larger Anstruther. The boundaries of the two villages merged a long time ago and it's Anstruther that's hoovered up most of the shops and services. But Cellardyke is actually the older settlement and was a busy port during the 18th century herring era, only superseded by Anstruther after the harbour (also called Skinfast Haven) suffered storm damage in 1898. The quays now lie mostly empty save for the odd washing line or wandering seagull. Few tourists make the trip here, leaving quaint cottages with exterior staircases and house cats peering from the windows for those in the know to enjoy. By the way, Cellardyke is a corruption of silver dyke: a reference to the glimmering herring scales caught in the nets that were once hung out to dry on the harbour walls.


Name: Cellardyke ★★☆☆☆
Location: G.R.: NO 577039 ///boasted.available.builder


Within walking distance

>> see separate post for Walk: This little piggy went to Crail★★★☆☆



St Fillan's Cave

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Think for a minute about where the village of Pittenweem got its name from and you might realise that "weem" is an adaptation of the Gaelic "uamh", meaning cave. Pittenweem actually means place of the cave, and indeed there's a sizeable subterranean chamber under the hillside off Cove Wynd, the alley connecting the village harbour to its High Street. This chamber is St Fillan's Cave, a natural cavern probably carved by an underground river thousands of years ago. The miracle-working Saint Fillan is believed to have lived in the cave in the 7th century, reading and writing in the gloom with the help of a luminous left arm. Inside, you can visit the stone altar, explore a dead-end passage and see the steep steps creating a former entrance to the cave from above. The cave is still a minor pilgrimage site, with Christian services occasionally held under the rock roof.

Name: St Fillan's Cave ★★☆☆☆
Location: Cove Wynd, Pittenweem village centre, G.R.: NO 55002…