The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

Today was a bit special, certainly the wind turbines around Fife were not earning their keep, ideally standing silently, like sleeping soldiers, awaiting the call too battle, against a wind that will surely come. I took the A915 on the most pleasant of cycling days. Climbing up out of St Andrews onto what would have been moorland when the young James, the future king of Scotland, made this journey all those years ago in a vain hope of escaping to France and out of the clutches of his uncle. Skirting Largo Law, and on into Upper Largo. Here I would part company with my young prince, he would to Lower Largo go and passage across the Forth, me to Lundin Links.

Over the years I have seen the top of the tower at Lundin Wood, I thought it was about time to pay it a visit. Like the A915 the road into the tower was newly repaired, not the smooth black-top as the A915 but the pot holes had all been expertly filled with hardcore and rolled flat.

The house, incorporating the tower had been extensively modernized and looking pristine, the lady of the house did ask why I was taking pictures.

“Travel snaps” I assure her, “Just out for a day on my bike”.

She said, “I will let you off this time”.

The area had all the trapping of what would have been once a great estate. Iron fencing along each side of the drive,

much of this was installed during the depression, giving employment to men during that time and subsidised by the government. If you go hillwalking you are sure to come across the remains of fencing installed along bounders, with no real purpose other than keeping men out of the poor house. They would live in the hills, building big fires to keep then warm throughout the night. Sounds rough but I suppose no worse than life in the city during such times.

As you approach on your right a large field contained within a wall must once have been the walled garden that served the castle and in the field above this was what appears to be a mock chapel dovecote. I have seen a similar one at Kelly Castle. I looked up Largo Tower in G.A.G.Peterkin’s book that lists Scottish dovecotes and there is one listed for Largo Tower (not Lundin Tower) that states, doocot in top storey of defence tower; conical slated roof deteriorating. clearly not Lundin doocot. However many ornamental dovecots were built in the 19th century purely for that, decoration, a garden ornament on a grand scale, a status symbol.

This certainly is the best time to visit such building, old dovecots, standing stones and ruined castles, for the harvest is in and the stubble fields still to be ploughed, so access is assured.  

Rather than retrace my wheel tracks to the A915 I followed the path that led into Lundin Wood, getting better at this off-road riding, but not much. It was only a short distance to a farm road down into Silverburn and the main road for Leven.

I wanted to visit the Motte at Kennoway, and with a good cycle path all along the main road I was soon passing the whisky bottling plant and out to the roundabout at Durie Vale, and quite by accident onto the cycle track that followed the old dismantled railway track to the foot of the Motte, Kennoway’s best-kept secrets.

Most everywhere you go in Scotland you will see signs telling you that this, that or the other was funded by the local council in conjunction with EU funding, all be it that we are content with Shallot’s, the Westminster Treasury, that takes its whack before passing on what they deem we are worthy of. The top of the mound is all but impossible to reach, it’s steep, it’s muddy and completely overgrown, I literally had to pull myself up with the low hanging branches. There is little to see on top other than, it is flat and less dense, but I am pleased to be here, another ticked off my list. I will try to find out more about in on the internet.

Homeward bound. I continued on the A916 into Kennoway and all the way to Craigrothie where I took the B939 for Ceres, down into Pitscottie and home. Without a doubt the best day’s ride this week. The highlight was coming over the top at Wester Newburn and looking down on Largo Bay, and the Forth. It sparked like quicksilver in the morning sun, the Forth never fails to impress.

The bike (and I) are still holding together but it needs a service now, cables stretching so that the changed don’t always index, or will take it upon itself to change gear, without a by your leave. Well, it possibly knows better what gear is best, than the silly old bugger riding it.

I am still amazed the endurance of the battery, even over some tough terrain and seeing the Wattage used well into three figures, it still has plenty in reserve when I return home, where it is plugged it into the mains and by morning it is ready for a new day, that’s what I need, plugged into the mains and an overnight recharge.

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