Week six of my challenge saw me following some of my favourite Fife walking routes.
I have walked many of the Kingdom’s routes and trails and I thought I would head out on some that I have really enjoyed.
Unlike in previous weeks, this week I was accompanied by a few Walk Fife friends which was a nice change. Walking with friends really makes a big difference when taking on a challenge like this. The miles disappear in a cloud of chat and laughter and this raises the spirit especially after walking many miles alone.
The Sleeping Giant Pathway
One of the routes we walked this week was the impressive Sleeping Giant Pathway. This grade 3 trail passes over Benarty Hill and links Lochore Meadows Country Park with RSPB Loch Leven. The route measures 7.25 km each way and offers some spectacular views to the North into Perthshire and over Fife to the South.
This is a good route to walk with friends especially as there is a cafe at each end (one of the prime concerns of many walking groups) where you can catch your breath and refuel before tackling the return leg. You can view the route on the Walk Fife website at – http://www.walkfife.com/maps-routes/two-lochs-wander-the-sleeping-giant-pathway/
Mud and rain
The weather was a mix of sleet and rain when we walked the trail and mud was quickly becoming a feature of our day beginning with the very muddy path from Loch Ore over Harran Hill.
This stretch of the route is great walking in the warmer months but in winter it is prone to becoming very boggy and slippery under foot. As we approached the steps that lead you up the initial stage of Benarty Hill we realised that there was going to be no escaping the mud for the remainder of the trail.
Walking over muddy and boggy ground requires the walker to be aware of their footing at all times to avoid falling and, as when walking in snowy conditions, this can slow progress significantly. A walking pole is ideal for conditions like this and, as I was the only person equipped with one, I became the support for the others of our small group as we made our way tentatively through the muddiest sections of the route.
The views from the trail were, despite the rain, absolutely superb. There are several points along the walk where you just have to stop and admire the scenery that is laid out in front of you. If you do decide to walk the trail make sure you take a good camera along with you as a smartphone just won’t do the views justice.
Week six lessons
While walking with friends this week was great fun, I think the most important lesson I learned was that I really should of checked that everyone was adequately equipped for the conditions. I think we all would have had a much better time if everyone had brought a walking pole with them to help tackle the muddy trails with more ease.
Checking everyone has sufficient equipment is something I often do before taking friends into the hills and mountains but this time I neglected to do so as I fell into to the trap of thinking “it’s ok we are staying in Fife so we won’t need too much kit”. This is something I will be more aware of in future.
This week has been a real morale builder. Being accompanied by good friends has been refreshing and has made me more determined to complete the challenge. If you have any questions about this challenge or anything Walk Fife related, then please drop me a email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message me through my twitter account @SDMakin.
Catch up with you again next week.