• Author: Walk Fife
  • Created: July 6, 2017
  • Updated: October 3, 2017
Route type: Long Distance
Difficulty grade: Grade 3

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  • Distance Instructions
Label
  • Distance 19 km
  • Duration 4 h 51 min
  • AVG speed 4 km/h
  • Min altitude 0 m
  • Peak 0 m
  • Climb 0 m
  • Descent 0 m

The countryside to the West of Kelty is a wonderful place for walkers and young explorers.

This walking route explores the forest of Blairadam and the shores of Loch Glow and the hidden Black Loch.

Walk Fife Note - Due to recent flooding on a small section of this route we have uploaded an alternative route that bypasses the worst of the problem. Thank you to Mick Fife for the update. https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/1569759/Cathys-Wildflower-Wander-Alternative

This route is approximately 20km long and can take around 5-6 hours to walk at a leisurely pace (and picnic time thrown in). I would say the route is Grade 3 due to some of the trails around the lochs being rather rocky and uneven. There is lots to see along the way and as the name suggests, plenty of wildflowers to see. I am new to wildflower spotting so forgive me for not identifying all the species on this route but as I gain more knowledge I hope to be able to write some articles for Walk Fife covering the area.

The route begins at the entrance to the Blairadam Forestry Commission plantation. There is a small car park here but if it is full you can drive further down the road to the Ranger Station where there are plenty of spaces and you can start the route from there instead.

The woody part...

Leaving the car park you follow a track down into the small glen where you will follow the Drumnagoil Burn. You will begin to see wildflowers popping their heads up from the edge of the burn including the lovely and delicate Birds-foot. Follow the burn for short distance before the trail meets the main pathway.

The main pathways are well maintained despite the heavy machinery used for forestry operations throughout the plantation. Before I carry on I must explain that the plantation is made up several woodlands which all come under the umbrella name of Blairadam Forest. Each woodland is marked on the OS map of the area and they present a interesting mix of different species of trees and plant life.

The route then follows course of the the Kelty Burn. There are opportunities to come off the route and nip down to see the burn along the way. When in full flow it makes for some excellent photographs. Back on the route you will start to see the remains of old structures hidden in the woodland. These are the remains of a once thriving mining industry and it remnants are being slowly absorbed by nature.

The hilly part...

The track eventually meets up with the minor road that connects the North and South sides of the Cleish Hills. Turn right and follow the road up the hill. Take care on this road as people tend to drive far too fast along it. After about 1km you will see a old quarry on your right (OS Grid 1012 9530). This sheltered old quarry site is home to many different flowers including some beautiful wild orchids and ferns.

The wet part...

Leaving the quarry follow the road and turn left on the track leading you to Loch Glow. The Loch is actually a man made reservoir and is a popular fishing spot. The shores of the loch are fairly marshy and are home to various different species of marsh grass and plants. Make your way around the northern most side of the loch following the path. Mid-way around the loch and if you are feeling adventurous you can head up to the smaller Black Loch. There is not much in terms of wild flowers here apart from gorse bushes and some Water Crowfoot but the loch is nice to see.

From Black Loch head back down the hill and follow the track along the southern edge of Loch Glow and head back up the track you walked in on back on to the road. Follow the road up over the hill for about 0.5 km and then turn right back into the forest.

The squirrel part...

The route then floor the forest paths passing Cowden Wood and through Horse Shoe Wood and into Blairhill Wood. This is a great place to stop for young explorers to watch out for Red Squirrels.

The route then passing an area called The Rirum where you will see more blooms. This area has been cleared of trees giving the former forrest floor plenty of light and rain to allow several different plant to thrive including some Common Vetch and Pink Sorrel. Be careful if you choose to explore this stretch of land as it is rather marshy even in dry weather so wellies are a good idea if you want to explore more deeply.

The trail then returns you to the home stretch where you can either choose to follow the glen back to the start or, as shown here, follow the road back up the hill to the start point.

This is a very enjoyable route that will fill your whole day with wonderful things to see.

Route shared with Walk Fife by Andrea C.

View route on OS Maps -
https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/1569753/Cathys-Wildflower-Wander-Walk-Fife

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