glenrothes cow bridge to kennoway
It seemed to be the right time to continue with the Fife Pilgrim Way: Neil had had a galling Summer with thwarted hopes of bashing Munros made that impossible by weather and by the harsh Black Cuillin ridge with its malevolent desire to challenge the aspiring Munroist. The Inaccesible Pin continued to be, well, Inaccessible. An expedition to knocking off a couple in Strathfarrar was a good: good weather. Amazing place with real caledonain pine… Far removed from the Pilgrim Way, which offered a pleasantish (if a little mundane) walk with some kind of purpose.
So, we decided to pick up the trail of the Pilgrim Way where we had finished, at the Cow Bridge in Glenrothes. Cow Bridge sits by the suspension bridge over the Leven which we had followed from Leslie in the previous section: old maps show a river valley lined with industry and with trees. Whilst much of the industry has gone, the FPW takes the walker through an area hooching with industrial history carefully concealed in the valley of the Leven. Glenrothes was the first of Scotland’s new towns, followed by what’s it called
Now, we had obviously had a few difficulties with waymarking and the Pilgrim Way. It is odd at times and sometimes eccentric. At other times it is totally naff. We know that when we started (February 2019), the FPW was not open: I think the anticipation was that it would open in the early summer. Hahahahahah. It will be nice when it’s finished. Waymarking seems to be either feast or famine. Our experience has been that certain stretches are excellently and extensively marked but then other stretches are poorly marked or non-existent so suddenly posts and markers festooned with the FPW logo every 200 meters suddenly stop and hide themselves. Which we believe is why we got lost shortly after starting. Because the waymarking disappeared (at least for us). The available maps on line were a brilliant advert for the maps Fife have produced because the online stuff is pretty damn useless. The OS maps have not caught up with the FPW which is not surprising given that the FPW is still a work in progress. Oh well. It doesn’t help that there is more routes than you can shake a stick at when you’re walking from Cow Bridge. There are shed loads of route markings, colour coded festooning posts and poles but as far as we were concerned, the Pilgrim’s Way marking was posted missing. We hit the first one, then lost it. Whrn we hit the road, there were markers to the nth degree. But nothing that bear any resemblance to the FPW markers. Eventually we took a guess and found th, hospital which was less than inspiring on a dreich day with as they say, many miles to go before we rest. So we took that as a reference point. but we picked up the trail and crossed a road near a school, walking over an underpass that we worked out we should have been walking under. We had been looking for the markers, but oh no, nothing visible. We know now that the actual route slides off to the right. And I purposely crossed the road to look: trhese damn things need to be visible. But using the OS map and identifying positon by the school over there and the road there, we rejoined the FPW route, checking positioning by the footpath, now waymarked, which brushed by the road past the fire station. Pitcoudie Avenue to the park and follow the waymarking. Yay.
The park has football pitches, one with the biggest centre circle that we had ever seen. Neil suspected that the instructions had read feet as yards. But at least we knew where we were. The path through the parkland and pitches is quite clear and is Waymarked as it skites off to the left through the old Balfarg village to allow a good crossing of the A92. Here the FPW does a shimmie, turning north at a wall before doing a u-turn and combing back down on the other side of that wall. The path leads past the Balbirnie Stone Circle, a well-preserved pre-historic circle, part of a wider prehistoric complex.
The parthway follows a fast-running burn through a wooded (and rhododendron-ed) area which lead eventually past the Balbirnie Golf Club where soggy golfers were leaving following a commiseratory lunch after a wettish morning. The pathway leads through the golfers car park and out into more woodland with a path that skates round Balbirnie House (behind the trees) before heading off to the east toward the metropois of Markinch. The path comes out at the East Lodge by the Stob Cross (or one of the Stob Crosses).