Dunfermline to Kelty on the Fife Pilgrim Way is approximately 8 miles. The route is an easy walk through remnants of Fife’s mining past. The route is also suitable for cyclists.
Start of the Walk
We started our Dunfermline to Kelty walk from Pittencrieff Park where we found free all day parking. The car park entrance is just off the A907. Cross the Glen Bridge, straight on at the traffic light junction and it is 200 yards on the left.
The Pilgrim Way takes you through the park which was a gift to Dunfermline from the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
From the car park follow the signs for the Pilgrim Way on the green lamp posts. You will see a play area on the right and an old steam engine on your left. The engine is a remnant from Fifes mining past and you will encounter many more on this part of the walk.
When you get to the Peacock Room take a left under the small bridge. There are public toilets on the right. This may be your only chance for a comfort break on the walk.
Follow the road toward Dunfermline Abbey and the palace.
Dunfermline Abbey and Palace
Dunfermline Abbey is a Church of Scotland parish church. The church occupies the site of an ancient Benedictine Abbey. The abbey was destroyed in 1580 during the reformation.
The Benedictine Abbey of the Holy Trinity and St Margaret was founded in 1128 by King David 1. His father Malcolm Canmore and mother Queen Margaret or St Margaret are said to be buried there. The shrine of St Margaret was an important destination of pilgrims. King Robert the Bruce was also buried there in 1329. His tomb lies within the present church.
Next to the abbey is the royal palace where Charles 1 was born in 1600. Charles was the last king to be born in Scotland and was the son of James 1 of England, V1 of Scotland and Anne of Denmark. Traditional tales tell of a bloody cloak blowing through the window and resting on the child’s cradle.
In 1633 the year of Charles coronation as king of Scotland he visited Dunfermline and stayed in the palace. Charles reign was dominated by religious strife and civil war. Captivity and defeat lead to him being executed in front of the Palace of Whitehall in London. His remains are interred in the royal vault at Windsor.
Proceed through the Town – Dunfermline to Kelty
A sign at the front of the Abbey indicates a left turn up the cobbled street (Kirkgate) to the town centre. Take a right turn with the Abbey on your right up Maygate then left on to Guildhall Street. At the top of Guildhall Street you will come to the Mercat Cross with a unicorn on the top. Take a right and proceed up the main shopping street continuing into East Port. Look out for Carnegie Hall on your right.
Carnegie Hall is an art deco theatre named after the industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. He was born in Dunfermline but made his fortune in America.
The building was officially opened in 1937 and was designated a Category B listed building in 1993.
Today it has seating for 540 people and an ideal venue for small concerts and theatre productions. It is also a popular wedding venue. The library and lecture room offer a venue for boardroom meetings of up to 20 people.
Just after Carnegie Hall you will come to a large roundabout. From the roundabout follow the road marked Townhill and Kingseat. A few yards down this road take a right turning down Leys Park Road. At the far end of Leys Park road you will see a set of flood lights and East End Park. This is the home of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club. Walk down the road with the car park on the right then vere right and follow the footpath with East End Park on the right. This was once the main railway line from Thornton Junction to Alloa.
At the end of the track take a left and proceed up the road past Queen Margaret Hospital on the left and the railway station on the right. Keep on this route towards the village of Kingseat. At the top of the road follow the cycle path at the entrance to Whitefield Farm. As you walk up the cycle path don’t forget to look back and admire the view over Dunfermline and all the way toward the Firth of Forth.
The village of Kingseat was built on coal – Dunfermline to Kelty
The first pit was sunk at Kingseat in 1863 by Henderson Wallace & Co. The last pit to be worked was Dean No 3 and Dean No 4 surface mine which closed due to flooding in 1945.
Coal production varied over the years. The three pits of Kingseat Colliery had an output of 170,000 tons of coal in 1886. By 1940 the tonnage was 100,000.
The human cost of mining lists 27 names of men lost working in Kingseat pits some as young as 11 and 14. Many more miners received horrific injuries. The last two miners to lose their lives were James Main and James Nellis who were brothers in law. They drowned when Kingseat Dean No 3 pit flooded in 1945.
Follow the road through Kingseat village and pick up the pink gravel path on the left hand side of the road. Proceed toward a wooded area on the left. Go through the gate on the left marked Hawthorn Acres and Loch Fitty House. Proceed down the tarmac road towards Loch Fitty.
Loch Fitty – Dunfermline to Kelty
In 2013 Scottish Coal applied and recieved planning permission to drain Loch Fitty in order to extract the coal reserves beneath to supply Longannet Power Station. The loch was once a renowned rainbow and trout fishing destination but closed in 2007 due to poor quality fish stocks caused by a virus Argulus Foliaceus. Scottish Coal were already extracting coal from another large open cast site at St Ninians next to the M90 motorway. Thankfully this proposal did not go ahead and Scottish Coal subsequently went into liquidation.
Today the loch is home to trout, northern pike and roach as well as Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Goosander, Swans and migrating geese. we spotted shoals of small fish from the waters edge.
The site has recently been sold by Hargreaves Mining to National Pride a community interest company. They have plans to restore the trout fishery and create an aquatic centre for rowing and sailing. They also plan to build wellness lodges, tree houses and mobility access lodges. Is this an ambitious plan to rejuvenate the area or just another pipedream? Maybe we should just be content with what nature has to offer us.
Former St Ninians Opencast Mine
Follow the path along the side of the loch heading east until you come to a large sign marked Hargreaves Land. Proceed up the old trunk road which lead to the former mining villages of Fairfield and Lassodie. The earth sculpture was created by Charles Jencks. It was part of a grand scheme to site the Eden Project on the former opencast mine. The site is now home to vast array of wild flowers. We found orchids growing by the side of the path.
Onward toward Kelty and the end of the walk
At the end of the track you will come to a large metal gate and a main road. Cross the road, take a left and follow the road to car park for Blair Adam Forest. From the car park follow the pink gravel path into the forest. The path takes you through the forest and onwards to Keltybridge with its attractive old cottages. Take a right turn and cross the old bridge and follow the road into Kelty.
You will find a bus stop halfway up the road where you can get a bus back to Dunfermline. A fitting way to end our Dunfermline to Kelty walk.
Places you might like to visit
Staying at Sandcastle Cottage Crail
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