Thursday, 17 June 2010

Loch Leven circuit

Just a short distance from Edinburgh lies Loch Leven, near the small town of Kinross in Fife. In recent years a cycle path has been created around the loch, though currently it falls short of a full circuit, starting at Kinross on the western shore and stopping at the RSPB reserve of Vane Farm on the southern shore. There is however an inviting coffee shop both at the start and the end, and I looked forward to the reward of a cappuccino at Vane Farm.

Pauline and I met up with her dad Mike, having first travelled by train to Lochgelly, to cycle the route around the loch. After meeting up, in all, we would cycle 15 miles to the end of the cycle path. The first section goes past Rachel House, an 18th century mansion house, which is a hospice owned by CHAS, the childrens charity. Not long after this a view opens up across the loch to a castle on a small island.

It was here in 1567, literally to the day, that Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned for a year. This was the saddest time for Mary, as it was while being held here that she was forced to abdicate in favour of her son James VI. Mary had been crowned Queen when less than 1 year-old, and by age 45 she would face the executioner for her involvement in three plots to assassinate Elizabeth I.

At the start of the cycle we were rewarded with good weather, though on the return leg there was a cold head-wind. The route around the loch is very easy and fast and we completed it in less than 2 hours, stopping near the end, on the lochside, for lunch. Most of the time the path follows the shore line and numerous birds, from crested grebes to mute swans, were spotted all the way along. By early afternoon we had reached the end of the path and with skies threatening to rain, we turned onto the back-roads that would take us to the rail station for the train home.

Despite the allure of the promised coffee shop, it was not to be, and I returned to Lochgelly feeling somewhat teased having not had my caffeine fix.

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