Showing posts from October, 2018

Scotlandwell Wash House & Well

Perth & Kinross | Scotlandwell | Historic building | ★★

It should come as little surprise that the attractive Fife village of Scotlandwell is named after, well, a well. Springs bubbling up from the foot of Bishop Hill used to attract pilgrims from far and wide to "take the waters" and cure various ailments - with Robert the Bruce reputedly one of the patrons. A wooden Victorian shelter covers the most famous of the springs, with an adjacent building for communal washing. The latter now contains information panels and a small display of historical artefacts; access to the interior is by key from The Well Country Inn round the corner, which has an appetising range of food menus.

Location & info

📌 Scotlandwell Wash House and Well★★
Well Road, Scotlandwell village centre, G.R.: NO 185017 ///thrillers.second.appeal
Always viewable. Wash House interior: access by key from The Well Country Inn (on the main road) during opening hours | Free

Walk: A fine Fife stroll at Loch Ore

Fife | Lochore | Short walk | ★★★

Just east of the M90 in the heart of the Kingdom of Fife, Lochore Meadows Country Park was born in the 1960s on top of a post-industrial landscape scarred by 7 coal mines. Apart from the conspicuous sight of Mary Colliery's old winding engine, the area's secrets lie submerged by the tranquil waters of Loch Ore. Circumnavigating the 3 miles of shoreline makes for an excellent, easy walk with good opportunities for bird watching, excellent views north to Benarty Hill, and a newish cafe at the finish.

📌 Walk: A fine Fife stroll at Loch Ore ★★★
Start / finish at main car park in Lochore Meadows Country Park, G.R.: NT 171962 ///photo.trio.pulps

▶ 5 km / 3 mi | ▲ 10 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Easy
Features: Loch Ore; Lochore Meadows Country Park
Terrain: Good paths, mostly fairly level.

Route & map

Circuit of Loch Ore in either direction (photos generally shown clockwise). Route marked in blue on map here.

Route credit: Lochore Meadows Country Park
On our visit


Mary Colliery

Fife | Lochore | Industrial site | ★

Disused tunnels snake underneath Lochore Country Park to the southwest of Lochore village. These belong to Mary Colliery: a 2-shaft coal mine opened in 1904 which was once the deepest in Fife. The colliery closed in 1966 but the concrete winding gear from one of the shafts helps remember a large and often dangerous workplace which employed nearly 800 people at its height. There's also a steam engine (which you can go inside) once used to carry coal away from the mine.

Location & info

📌 Mary Colliery ★
Just north of the main car park, Lochore Meadows Country Park, G.R.: NT 170965 ///faced.flood.windmill
Always open (exterior only) | Free

Lochore Castle

Fife | Lochore | Castle | ★

Lochore Castle (a.k.a. Inchgall Castle) now lies on a mound a few hundred metres from the shore of Loch Ore, next to this country park's access road. When the castle was built in the 13th or 14th century, this mound was in fact an island on an enlarged loch (prior to its partial draining), with a causeway leading to the mainland. The castle itself was constructed for Adam de Vallance, replacing an older bailey castle on the same motte. Nowadays the surviving parts include a little bit of the barmkin wall, in front of 4 corners of the main building with not much in between.

Location & info

📌 Lochore Castle ★
By the access road to Loch Ore, half a mile south of Lochore village centre, G.R.: NT 175959 ///sunshine.grandest.frame
Always open | Free

Orchardton Tower

Dumfries & Galloway | Palnackie | Castle | ★★

Sited among green fields south of the village of Palnackie, Orchardton Tower is a mid 15th century tower house. What makes it unique? It's said to be the only circular one left in Scotland - probably excluding those later incorporated into larger buildings. Fortified residences in this shape used to be more popular in the 1200s, but were soon superseded by rectangular ones, offering more interior space and perhaps better protection from attacks. So for local laird John Cairns to have one constructed 200 years later is a bit strange... and we'll probably never find out why. Climb the steps for good views across the surrounding farmland.

Location & info

📌 Orchardton Tower★★
By minor road 1 mi south of Palnackie, G.R.: NX 817552 ///glory.flexibly.among
Open daily, April to September; Saturday to Wednesday, October to March | Free


Dumfries & Galloway | Town | ★

This is an area famed for its stone. Dalbeattie granite lines the streets and buildings of cities across the world, and more locally forms the features of the nearby mountain bike trails, rocky hills and the unique tower house at Palnackie. The town is no Aberdeen though - just a short, busy High Street with the necessary basics either side of the Kirkgunzeon Lane burn. There's a lovely, old-fashioned museum in the centre, while Luigi's is our pick of the places to eat: a surprisingly excellent Italian restaurant.


📌 Dalbeattie ★
Dumfries & Galloway, G.R.: NX 833613 ///ropes.blacken.banks

🚌 There are a few bus connections, primarily from Dumfries and Kirkcudbright.

See & do (<1 mi away)

>> Dalbeattie Museum★★

Nearby (1-3 mi away)

>> Bike: 7stanes Dalbeattie★★★★ (1 mi ↓)

Dalbeattie Museum

Dumfries & Galloway | Dalbeattie | Museum | ★★

More places need a messy, old-fashioned museum like this one in Dalbeattie. A truly odd assortment of thousands of items, piled to the rafters on higgledy-piggledy shelves, and hardly an information board in sight. Don't touch? Far from it - you're actively encouraged to touch the exhibits, whether they're old typewriters or a seat from the Glasgow trams. A few displays relate to local people - including the First Officer from the ill-fated Titanic - and local businesses, but many of the objects are from elsewhere in the Lowlands: an unpolished tribute to the last 100 years of the entire region.

Location & info

📌 Dalbeattie Museum★★
81 High Street, Dalbeattie town centre, G.R.: NX 835611 ///patrolled.habits.oath
Open Monday to Saturday, April to October | Free