Walk: Boozy Beinn Bhuidhe

A Munro with a brewery at the bottom? Sounds like a dream come true. Fyne Ales Brewery is perfectly positioned at the head of Loch Fyne for a sneaky tour (check in advance) or pint at the start or end of this circuit taking in Beinn Bhuidhe, a remote Munro just outside the western boundary of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. A long, flat walk along Glen Fyne followed by a well-worn hill path has probably been the most popular route for decades; there are wonderful views alongside Allt na Faing and on the final summit ridge, but it's slow, steep going with rocky ground to negotiate further down. More recently a hydro track has appeared, snaking its way to about the 600 metre mark. It makes an easy alternative route (which we suggest using in descent, when legs are weary) at the expense of scenery: it's a truly hideous scar on the landscape, "designed" with seemingly no regard for the hillside it's been carved out of. Things improve temporarily before …

Fife Folk Museum

Farming is everywhere in Fife, so perhaps it's not surprising that the county has an excellent museum dedicated to the region's rural history, housed in a former tolbooth and 19th century weaving cottages in the middle of Ceres. Er, where? Ceres is a village not far from Cupar - it's an attractive place but not really on Fife's main road network, which could explain why the Fife Folk Museum isn't better known. A colourful collection of gardening and agricultural equipment strung along Craighall Burn welcomes you to the museum, with a fascinating assortment of objects spread across several (small) levels and buildings. Upon entry we were each given a woven tag emblazoned with the name of one of Ceres' former residents, with displays at regular intervals allowing us to follow the life of our chosen citizen as we moved around the building - a nice, innovative touch.

Name: Fife Folk Museum★★☆☆
Location: High Street, Ceres, G.R.: NO 400115 / swaps exploring civic


Cupar is Fife's former capital, an important crossroads and former market town set on the River Eden. This is no garden of paradise though. The town has a firmly down-to-earth feel - probably a useful hub for local residents, but tourists are probably better off heading to nearby St Andrews or Falkland. Meanwhile, Cupar just about scrapes its way onto this blog by virtue of a pleasantly bustling main street (Crossgate), striking yellow council buildings and a handful of more interesting attractions in the wider area.

Name: Cupar ★☆☆☆
Location (Crossgate): G.R.: NO 375146 / defend noisy storybook


>> see separate post for Hill of Tarvit★★☆☆ (2 miles away)
>> see separate post for Fife Folk Museum★★☆☆ (3 miles away)
>> see separate post for Scotstarvit Tower★☆☆☆ (3 miles away)

Walk: East Lomond - fun for Fife!

Sorry if you disagree, but walking among the flatlands of Fife is often a bit boring unless you're on the coast. East Lomond is a notable exception: a bare domed summit looming large above Falkland village from which you can see most of the county. The steep, forested sides are quickly defeated by dozens of steps on the way up, but returning through Maspie Den takes the fun factor to another level. This glen, hidden on approach, has a real Highland feel with rocky sides, a tumbling burn with waterfalls (including one you can walk behind)... even a tunnel cut out of the valley side by wealthy estate owners in bygone decades. The fact that the walk starts and finishes in one of Scotland's prettiest villages is a convenient bonus.

Name: Walk: East Lomond - fun for Fife! ★★★☆
Length: 7 km / 4 miles
Ascent: 380 metres
Main summits: East Lomond (434 metres, sub-2000')
Points of interest: Falkland & village sights; Maspie Den & waterfall
Start / finish: Street parking on Cross…

Falkland Palace

Falkland Palace is the crowning glory of the attractive village of Falkland. Backing onto extensive gardens containing Britain's oldest Real Tennis court, it's well worth adding to the history shortlist. The palace was built in the early 1500's by King James IV and V as a "pleasure palace" and soon became a favourite country retreat for the Stuart kings. The Marquess of Bute restored parts of the buildings in the late 1800's following decades of disrepair, resulting in an interesting mix of grandeur and ruin.

Name: Falkland Palace★★★☆
Location: East Port, Falkland village centre, G.R.: NO 254075 / focal ballroom spectacle
Open (2017): Daily, March to October
Cost (2017): £12.50 (adults), £9 (children), free for National Trust for Scotland members


Falkland is one of the most picturesque inland villages in Scotland, designated the first conservation village in the country and even featuring as a rural WWII settlement in TV drama Outlander. Narrow cobbled streets wind away from the main street, with a number of independent shops clustered around the central fountain and village square. The historic highlight is Falkland Palace, a former country home to the Stuart monarchs with interesting gardens. The village sits beneath the shady northern slopes of the Lomond Hills in central Fife, with excellent walks starting right from the centre.

Name: Falkland ★★☆☆
Location: G.R.: NO 253074 / thinker oath adventure

Within walking distance

>> see separate post for Falkland Palace★★★☆
>> see separate post for Walk: East Lomond - fun for Fife!★★★☆

>> Little bit like this: Culross


Tucked into the folds of surrounding hills at the confluence of two rivers, Innerleithen has a pleasant setting but doesn't look particularly interesting from the main road. The settlement was once an important textile town as well as a health spa destination, but nearby Peebles has more recently taken the lion's share of shops and services. Fortunately for Innerleithen, its former importance and the local landscape have bestowed it with a decent range of visitor attractions. Top of the list now has to be the fabulous mountain biking (with a local trailhead as well as 7stanes Glentress a few miles up the road)... ah, so that explains the number of cyclists hanging around. Opportunities for walks in the the surrounding hills and glens are excellent, with wonderful views from the tops. Rainy day? There's the old spa-turned-museum, a Victorian printworks and even Scotland's oldest inhabited house to explore. And we couldn't omit to mention Caldwell's - the fabulo…