Date/TimeDate(s) - 29/03/2009
Walk DetailsPub Stop?: No O/S Map Sheet No.: 58 and 59 Grid Ref. Start: Grid Ref. Finish Walk (Miles): 10 Walk Hours: Bus Time to Walk: Bus Time from Walk: Departure time from walk:
The East and West Lomond Hills together with Bishop Hill form the largest area of high ground in the middle of Fife.
The walk commences on the A911 Milnathort/Leslie road about two miles east of Minlathort at the hamlets of either Easter or Wester Balgeldie. There is an option here – those who do not want to take in Bishop Hill can get off at Wester Balgeldie and take a right-of-way path up Glen Vale and then on to West Lomond. The main route starts at Easter Balgeldie and climbs first up on to Bishop Hill. In either case the final walking distance is around 10 miles with either 1600 or 2300 feet of climbing.
From Easter Balgeldie a path follows a burn uphill and zigzags steeply up on to the ridge of Bishop Hill turning northwards over the top (461m, 1512 ft) and then along a fence which follows the edge of the escrapment with views over Loch Leven and central Fife. Down below may be seen a crumbling rock pinnacle known as Carlin Maggie which tradition says was a witch who had an argument with the Devil and as a result was turned to stone. With prevailing westerly winds the barrier of Bishop Hill provides excellent uplift for gliders from Portmoak beside Loch Leven and some may be seen soaring here. Continue northwards over rough ground with a scattering of larch trees to overlook Glen Vale and the track coming up from Wester Balgeldie. Bend round eastwards and slope down beside a burn into the glen to a gate in a wall beside the track. This glen is also known as Covenanter’s Glen and a short way westwards on the far side may be seen a rocky outcrop known as John Knox’s Pulpit which has a cave nearby. Once through the gate follow the track eastwards for half a mile to where the Lothrie Burn comes down off West Lomond. Leave the track at a stile and climb up the hollow of the burn to reach a fence crossing the route. A stile (known as Three Marches stile) gives access to the hill and the climb continues north eastwards round the south east shoulder of the hill to pick up the main access path for the final approach to the summit cone (522m, 1713 ft). This round about approach is taken to avoid serious erosion on the direct route.
From the summit descend north first then eastwards on the access path and head across Balharvie Moss below Craigen Gaw passing on the way Wilkie’s Quarry and Miller’s Loch to reach Craigmead car park (NGR 228.062) on the hill road from Leslie to Falkland which crosses the range here. This area is the centre of Fife Regional Park and there are picnic benches, information boards, and toilets here.
From the car park a good track leads eastwards over the moor towards East Lomond passing a disused lime kiln. Just beyond there leave the track for a path which climbs up to the summit indicator. The trig point lies to the left on a lower shelf. In clear visibility there is an excellent all-round view from the summit (424m, 1390 ft) with the town of Falkland and its royal palace in the foreground.
From the summit a path leads down towards a radio station site near which there is a car park with toilets. The access road heads down east southeastwards through plantations of trees to reach the A912 Glenrothes/Falkland road at NGR 273.062. Turn left for about two hundred yards to where a path leaves the road on the right and follows a burn down into the village of Freuchie where the bus will be parked, NGR 283.068