The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

The day was just about perfect for a longer trip and the one I had in mine was Norman’s Law, this is the highest hill in a range of hills that overlooks the southern shore of the River Tay, located approximately five miles northeast of Newburgh, so a fair way out.

First into Cupar but rather than my normal route out of town I decided to try the road up past the hospital, I had a bad feeling about this, as soon as I read the sign that said ‘Not Suitability for Heavy Verticals’. The road from here is very undulating yet very pleasant to travel, today, complete devoid of traffic. At the A92 I turned left and then right for Luthrie where I took a picture of the church with its crowned belfry.

On to Brunton and the road for Fliskmitlan. I came across a lay-by and an information sign for the Fife Coastal Path. I found the farm track a few yards further on and left the bike there, shanks pony would take me from here on in.

The wide hardcore road was easy to follow, upwards. At the junction was a notice pointing right but said turn left. From here a forest of mature Sikri’s Spruce, with their silver-tipped branches stretching out towards me, and slopping away to my right. The path, steeper now, but still good and today running with water so a bit soft underfoot in places. I did see the track of a mountain bike, certainly, a cyclist hoodwinked by the sign that said Coastal Path. Then again whoever had the idea to call this a Coastal Path definitely had a sense of humour, I could see them now, sitting in his little room, somewhere in the bowels of Fife Council Offices teetering away to themselves, cyclist he, he, he.

As you reach the false summit there is a style in the fence and a trodden path into a grassy field, it is only that but clear enough to follow, but beware, the skittery coos don’t differentiate between field and path. At the far end of the field another style, and a steep climb to the summit of Norman’s Law.

Boy is it beautiful up here, “I can see for miles and miles” (forgotten the name of the band).

With magnificent views in all directions, this rocky hilltop was well chosen for a defended prehistoric settlement. Even today there are clear traces of fortifications around the summit, believed to have once been a Pictish stronghold. A wall totally encircles the whole of the summit area,

with an outer line of defence the terraces to the south. There is a much smaller fortification that occupies only the summit.

I have visited many Forts, Castles and Motes on my travels all over Fife, and when you think of the number of man-hours and sheer effort it must have taken to build these structures, to defend against, not wild animals, but men, it makes you wonder as to the makeup of we humans. Since the beginning of time, we have wasted so much of our lives and precious resources fighting and defending ourselves from one another, and there seems no end to it. Although today is is more about defending the arms trade, and the vast fortunes that flows from it, than the country.

Did you know that the American taxpayer (and UK taxpayer) spend $70,000 firing a missile from a $28,000,000 drone, at a cost of $3,624 per hour to keep in the air, all to kill people in the Middle East living on less that $1 per day. Makes you think, how far we have travelled and learned nothing.

From here I dropped down to the real coastal path, the road that runs alongside the river all the way into Newburgh, then home on main roads, via Cupar. 

I could have eaten a scabby horse on my return, but alas it was Mrs Hubbard’s, cupboard today. I found an onion, and once finely chopped was fried in Olive Oil, then dumped into a bowl, added to this, leftover mash potatoes, from yesterdays meal, finally the last remaining egg. All ingredients now mixed together, it was back into the pan. Forget all those Micheline stars, choose hunger’s good kitchen every time. another good day, keep well, you hear. 

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