Letham Glen.

 What a gorgeous morning it was, to good to be indoors so I checked over the bike and blow up its tyres. I was using my conventional bike today, it just feels right.

I headed out on the Pitscottie road but turned off for Peat Inn at the crossroads. It is a steep climb from here but I was feeling good. I don’t know why for I am keeping student hours at present, sitting up reading until all hours. At around 1 am, I switched on the television just to catch up with the news. You never know with Biden reverting to type and doing his bullhorn diplomacy towards China and Russia at the same time, we may be at war by now.

Thankfully not, the television was showing the start of a French film (with subtitles). The problem with the French they talk at 100 mph and the subtitles have to keep up at warp speed to follow the conversation and me being a slow reader……. the film did not finish until fifteen minutes before 4 in the morning, well, I thought it would get better, but it didn’t, I’m still not sure what it was all about. Anyway, to cut a long story short (too late) I did not rise until gone 9 am this morning but surprisingly I was well slept, not a cover had moved on the bed.

So, Peat Inn, Largoward, decisions, decisions, at the crossroads I decided to take the A915 for Upper Largo then on into Leven, I have not been into Leven for such a long time. And even a very much long time since I had been to Letham Glen.

Very 1920s like the architecture of ever co-op building at that time

We would come here in 1950 it was such a magical place for a young lad with a very vivid imagination.

Old King Coal reined in Fife, from as far back as the great monasteries of Fife, and Leven had coal mines on the Dura estate, including the terraces to either side of Latham Glen. (originally it was called Sillerhole Den (1854). The quality of the coal that came from the Durie estate was of such high quality that it lent its name to all high-quality coal mined in Scotland. Mostly the coal was shipped over to Holland where it was prized highly.

In the early 1920s plans were underway to extend the burgh of Leven, with housing extending to the boundaries of Durie. The landowner, Mr Christie, had no objections. In addition, the burgh was undertaking relief-works for unemployed miners, one scheme involved building an open-air swimming pool in the Glen, then known as Spinkie Den.

Mr Christie refused to sell the land so consideration was given to its compulsory purchase. By April 1925, Christie agreed to feu the land for £115, this included the timber, entrances at Scoonie Bridge and a 6ft wide path out to the Cupar road.

In the same year (1925) Mr John Letham (from Lower Largo) donated £1000 to the Town Council to allow for an investment income that could pay for the lease of Spinkie Den. And why Spinkie Den was renamed, Letham Glen.

Plans were laid out by Mr Maxwell Hart a Glasgow landscape architect, who had laid out the new Bowling Green in Leven. The work was completed in 1926. The site of the swimming pool was later converted into a sunken garden

and the side of the glen was lair out with rock-lined walks, the laying out of the pubic park was contemporary with the development of Leven’s promenade. In 1946 the

freshwater swimming pool, putting greens and a platform with railings (Leven’s open-air theatre.)

Alas all gone now, all that is left is a rather neglected wooded area running alongside the burn, a place to walk the dog.

There is a playground for kids and an outdoor gym, today there was a family using the playground and picnic tables, and a few strollers. When I remember it in my youth the banks were well managed and flowerbeds festooned the park, and the animal and birdhouse was a big attraction for us kids.

The day was wearing on so I headed into Leven, (I had thoughts of getting an estimate for a haircut). I sat awhile in the main pedestrian precinct and enjoyed a birdie and a drink from my water bottle, whilst soaking up the rays.

It is about 23 miles home from here, I’ll let the bus take the strain, so I popped the bike in the boot of the X60 for St Andrews, you can not beat a bus pass for getting you home when legs are tiring, or is it the spirit that is waning?

Keep safe.

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