The big thaw hit Fife in week ten of my walking challenge.
The Kingdom of Fife switched from a winter wonderland to a mushy, muddy and flooded mess in the matter of a few days but I still headed out to explore some of the rural areas of Fife.
Those of you who listen to our podcast will have heard of my efforts to track down some otters that were rumoured to have been spotted in St Margaret’s Marsh near North Queensferry.
The otters turned out to be a lively pair of mink who were enjoying the change in weather. After recording that segment I was keen to experience more of the Kingdom’s seldom seen residents so I logged in to OS Maps and started to look for similar areas that were perhaps equally rich in wildlife.
Kingdom of Wildlife
I was genuinely surprised by how many nature reserves there are to be found in the county. The craggy coastline and rolling countryside of Fife provides many different habitats for a huge variety of wildlife.
So with binoculars packed, I headed out to walk some of the walking routes that have been shared through the Walk Fife website that pass through or near some of these reserves. Before heading out I did think that perhaps my quest to see some wildlife at this time of year was likely to be disappointing but I was to be happily proved wrong.
Hitting the trails
One of the routes I chose to walk that week was one shared by regular contributor Mick Fife. The Craigtoun Bankhead Moss Circular is a 13 mile grade 3 walking route that takes in the nature reserve at Cameron Reservoir and the little protected area of Bankhead Moss.
Cameron Reservoir is known for it’s wealth bird life and especially in winter when wintering waterfowl of many different species take up residence. When I visited I was lucky enough to bump into Will Heggie who was setting up for a few hours observing this lively expanse of water. Bill is a very experienced bird watcher and was very kind to take some time out to chat with me about what was in front of me and I was soon treated to many interesting sightings.
Thanks to Will the remainder of my walk that day was really enjoyable despite the constant heavy rain and the slush I had to slop through.
Walking can sometimes be boring especially when taking on the sort of challenge I am undertaking. Spicing up each walk with something new is key to keeping on the move and I think that I can do it by developing my wildlife observation skills. By paying more attention to my natural surrounding I will also learn more about the world around us which I can share with my kids.
Week ten lessons
Week ten of my challenge has really opened my eyes to the rich and diverse wildlife of Fife. I really want to learn more about the creatures and plants with which we share this little piece of Scotland. This week’s walking has been tricky at times thanks to the rain and muddy conditions and I think I may be packing my gaiters in my day pack for the coming weeks.
Next week’s walking is going to be tough to squeeze in as I am going to have a very busy time at work which means I will be grabbing miles as and when I can get the time but I am looking forward to getting out and exploring more of Fife.
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.