Wee Hills with Big Views

“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude”, Henry David Thoreau.

It has taken me some time to post this page but I have done so with a heavy heart. One of my number one followers is no longer with us physically and I didn’t like the thought of not hearing from her about my adventures or simply just not hearing from her…I always looked forward to this. However one of my last responses from her told me to “keep it up my dear”….so this one is dedicated to her….and I know she will continue to follow me on my adventures!

New Year….still in lockdown….still adhering to restrictions….still staying local….still staying positive or at least trying to!

January and February has saw local walking spots increasingly getting busier and busier and it’s hard to lose oneself! As an individual who uses the natural world for therapy I’m beginning to feel exhausted by lockdowns, more so the travel restrictions and I now dream of a future escape to solitude….I need this time to recharge and regain energy.

Personally, I enjoy times spent alone and prefer at times to interact with the natural world than with people. I don’t need to be around people all of the time. I take great pleasure in a lot of things that involve spending time by myself, but lockdown seems to be continuing to push me into more social situations than social isolation!

I guess that’s why I embrace solitude as I have a work lifestyle that requires me to be around a lot of people a lot of the time.

I have found myself walking later in the afternoon and into the evening, at times in the dark. Two reasons, work commitments and quieter walks. I always try to find new walks, or new routes and would always choose the path less chosen if given the choice.

This has benefited me greatly and I rarely now meet a soul which is uplifting. I have found empty hills and have been treated on most occasions to a front row seat and first class show delivered by Mother Nature herself.

So January and February has saw us continually exploring Fife’s many wee local hills, rewarded with many big views. We have been blessed with some amazing winter suns and very low temperatures which has resulted in some spectacular sunsets….and I love a good old sunset…I am forever that girl that gets excited when the sky turns such beautiful colours!

We have been up and down these hills numerous times now!!!

The Lomands in lockdown have been pretty busy so on this occasion we decided to undertake it from the west side, a much steeper approach but a quieter one.

West Lomand is the highest point in Fife and the highest peak in the Lomand Hills. It’s cone-shaped summit, a volcanic plug is visible for many miles around.

Just look at those colours….and those clouds!

On this walk up we paid a visit to the Bunnet Stane (or bonnet stone) a very stunning rock formation.

The Bunnet Stane

We also checked out the cave, which is known as ‘The Maiden Bower’.

It’s tale is a sad and romantic one. A local girl loved the son of a rival family. These rocks were their meeting place but one evening whilst she waited she saw him being ambushed as he drew near. Her father’s men sprang from hiding and slew him. She refused to return to the family home and lived a hermit life in the cave. She became known locally as a saint and people came to her with their sorrows. It is said she is buried under the “Stane” and that if you are pure in heart any wish you make in the cave will be granted within the year – I visited the cave – let’s hope my wish is granted!!!

From here we started our very steep climb straight up the hill, which got a little icy as we went higher.

The sun was beginning to set and conditions were beautiful, the cloud formations were awe-inspiring.

The terrain started to level off and we were on to snowy ground. I love walking in the snow and I am always mesmerised as to how it turns the landscape into something quite magical.

Views from the summit were spectacular. We stayed and admired the views for quite some time, enjoying the sunset, enjoying the peace, enjoying the quiet.

Eventually we made our way off the hill as darkness crept in.

We chased another sunset with a hike up The Bishop again leaving late after work. The walk up was quiet, with no-one around.

Time was against us as the sun was falling from the sky quickly so we had to be quicker in order to reach the summit on time.

As we almost approached the summit we got the most amazing 360° view. To our left the sky was on fire showcasing some of the most amazing colours as the sun was disappearing.

To our right the moon was rising up through a pink sky…it was tranquil and looked like a painting.

On top it was freezing but we waited it out, every second worth it.

We have undertook many other sunset hikes from hiking up Bandrum Hill, Dumglow, ‘Hill’ of Beath, Benarty, Knockhill, the Saline Hills and have been more than pleasantly surprised by our finds….I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

View from Dumglow with Knockhill in the background
View from ‘Hill’ of Beath looking over Dunfermline and the Firth of Forth across to Edinburgh
Hike to Knockhill
Hike to Knockhill
Sunset from Knockhill
Saline Hills – I will never tire of a sunset
Simply sitting watching the sunset on the Saline Hills but one of my favourite things to do 💙

Another trek took us high above Cowstrandburn to a tower which was built in 1842 on Bandrum Hill by Henry Laurance and Lewis Mercer of Saline .

Bandrum Tower

It was commisioned by an Archibold Hogg, a sea captain who owned the Bandrum Estate.

It provided us with an amazing panoramic view of the Forth Valley.

Can you spot the headless figure!!

I have been convinced that wee hills really do have some big views…with some interesting finds….I hope I have convinced you too! Check out some more of our photos below from our local walks!

Benarty Hill overlooking Loch Leven, with The Bishop Hill in the background
Can you see the ‘rock face’ on Benarty?
View of Benarty Hill from Dowhill Castle
Dowhill Castle -drone shot
Dowhill Castle
Dowhill Castle
The Standing Stone, Bandrum
Benarty Hill – New Years Day hike
Benarty Hill

I guess I don’t need to travel too far to escape….I just have to be clever on choosing the right path at the right time!

“I often find the night is more alive than the day”, Vincent Van Gogh.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Absolutely gorgeous photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 🙏

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  2. Stunning photos and beautiful sunsets Mary. A feast for the eyes. Thanks for sharing. Love Auntie Lenaxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Auntie Lena….thankyou….and nice to hear from you as always…we sometimes take for granted what is on our doorstep so I guess this lockdown is making us appreciate more of the simple things in life x

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  3. Phillip Reid says:

    Mary, what a lovely post and stunning photographs. Mum loved hearing your tales of derring do and seeing those parts of the world she hadn’t made it to through your eyes, especially when she became housebound later on. I can just imagine Mum telling you to ‘keep it up, my dear’ and you’d better otherwise you’ll have her to answer to! Phillip xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Phillip and how nice it is to hear from you on this….pleasant surprise and it certainly made me smile. Yes, your mum held me accountable 😉and kept me on my toes 🤣…I truly did look forward to her comments or questions which would end up with me having to do a little bit more research in order to reply 😂..or she would hit me with the details….I also enjoyed her sense of humour. She also liked to set up some ideas for us like Switzerland which resulted in us undertaking The Tour Du Mont Blanc only last year. Early January this year after reading a post about us being down in Lower Largo she said one of our next challenges should be either The Pilgrims Way or the whole of the Fife’s Coastal Path….so this weekend Andy and myself plan to walk from Kincardine Bridge to Newport (The whole of The Fife Coastal Path)….only 120 miles 😳🤣 to impress your mum!! I’m sure we entertained her in more ways than one. I’ll let you know how we get on!! X

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  4. Theresa Skelhorn says:

    Hi Mary, The pictures are amazing can’t believe how lovely to skies are. I love the romantic story connected to the cave. I had my first walk by the sea today since last year, we managed thirteen and half miles. The weather was a bit chilly and we had a bit of snow on the way back but it didn’t last long.

    Tomorrow the shops and the gyms open down here so a bit more freedom. Fingers crossed people will be mindful that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and keep to the rules..

    Love Theresa x

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