Kemback and Blebocraigs is a hidden gem. There are lots of interesting features on this walk and a few stories to tell so read on.
How to Get There:
From Crail take the B940 towards Peat Inn, Pitscottie and Cupar. From St Andrews take the B939 to Pitscottie. When you reach Pitscottie take the road for Dairsie through Dura Den. Approximately a mile along this road you will find a large car park and a waterfall on the opposite side of the road.
Kemback and Blebocraigs – Start of the Walk
From the car park walk along the pavement on the left hand side of the road until you find a sign directing you up the hill on the right towards Kemback. This part of the walk is steep and there is a seat half way up if you find you need a rest.
At the top of the hill you will see Kemback Church facing you. Continue up the road past the church and Hillside Cottage. Just past the cottage on the left hand side you will find a sign and another steep path up Jenny’s Steps (236 steps in total). However there is another seat half way if you are in need of a rest.
Jenny’s Steps was the route for parishioners from Blebocraigs to Kemback Church on Sundays.
Blebocraigs and attractive rural setting
At the top of the steps continue up the single track road toward Blebocraigs. There are a small number of attractive houses and cottages with well kept gardens to admire on the way. One resident we spoke to said “Its a bit like Brigadoon you might get lost and never come back”. Its certainly a very attractive rural setting with little or no traffic.
As you continue down the road toward Blebocraigs look out for the village hall on your right. In the centre of the village there is still a red telephone box which now acts as an information board. The post box dates back to Victorian times with VR on its front.
Clatto Hill – The View was the Spectacular
We walked further into the village as we wanted to take in the view from Clatto Hill which is on the public footpath from Blebocraigs to Strathkinness.
From the telephone box follow the road straight ahead until you come to the walled garden around Clatto House on your right. On your left you will find a rusty metal gate and a path leading up a very slight incline to the top of the hill. The views are spectacular and for us, the highlight of the walk.
From Clatto Hill follow the road back the way you came to the centre of the village and the red telephone box. There is a seat there and an ideal place to stop for lunch and reflect on the walk so far.
Kemback and Blebocraigs – The family connection
At this point I should share with you some of the motivations for doing this walk. I had been doing a bit of research into an ancestor of mine who lived in Blebocraigs.
Rachel Webster was an Aunt of my mother and my grandmothers older sister. She was always referred to in the family as Auntie Rach. I should say at this point that I never met Auntie Rach as she died before I was born.
I am told she had a reputation in the family for plain speaking and was well known within the village of Blebocraigs.
Rachel Mitchell was married at the age of 35 to Alex Webster five years her junior. They were married for only 8 years before Alex was involved in a tragic accident at Balrymonth Farm. He was taken to St Andrews Cottage Hospital where he later died.
During there eight years of marriage Rachel and Alex had a son Archie who later became a member of St Andrews Burn’s Club and was very much in demand for his excellent recitations on Burn’s night.
Archie married Nancy who was again a plain speaker and unfortunately did not get on with her mother in law.
Auntie Rach and the China
When Auntie Rach got married to Alex it was tradition for the bridesmaid to gift a set of china. Now Auntie Rach had a set of china which was kept for display purposes only.
She was determined that Nancy should not inherit her china.
The china set was instead, offered to my mother (her niece) on the condition that she too never used it. My mother was reluctant to take the china set however one day Auntie Rach issued an ultimatum. If my mother didn’t take the china that day she would take it outside and break it all on side of the dyke (wall).
What happened to the china?
My mother took the china and kept it in a safe place until we moved to Clatto Place in St Andrews. Bill Myer a local joiner and cabinet maker was given the task of building a display cabinet for the china and it had pride of place in our sitting room.
When my mother passed away in 1998 the china set went to my sister (on the instructions of Auntie Rach) where it remains in Aberdeen to this day.
When I enquired about the china set my sister told me she still has it but it was for display purposes only. Was this the fear of incurring the wrath of Auntie Rach or because it is not suitable for going in a dishwasher?
I met Archie and Nancy a few years ago. They were a nice couple. He did not ask about his mothers china.
As I walked round Blebocraigs I thought about this story and the “ticking off” I would have got from Auntie Rach for giving her celebrity status and including the story in one of my blog posts.
If she had been alive today what would she have thought about our politicians? Well she would certainly have had an opinion.
The way back to Kemback and maybe a detour
Follow the road back to the top of Jenny’s steps.
At this point you have a choice you can continue down the steps toward Kemback church. Or you can take a detour to the left for an attractive woodland walk.
Proceed on the path through the trees until you reach another path on your right. There are a couple of seats on this path leading back down from the wood toward Kemback. Stop for a few minutes and amire the view towards Cupar and the Lomond Hills. It is worth taking that detour.
Before we continued back down the hill we stopped for a while on Donny’s Seat just above Kemback Church. The is a truly beautiful part of Fife, quiet, unspoilt and a place I would return to again.
Kemback and Blebocraigs Walk – Public Transport
From Crail take the 95 Stagecoach bus to St Andrews Bus station. Walk from the Bus Station to Madras College South Street. The 64 Moffat and Williamson Bus will take you to Pitscottie. You will then have to walk from Pitscottie to Dura Den for the start of the walk.
Kemback and Blebocraigs – Walk
The walk is approximately 5 miles which should take you around 3 hours. This depends on how long you spend taking in the views or in the village itself. Walking is mainly on narrow tarmac roads. The woodland walk was muddy in places. I always recommend a good pair of walking boots or stout shoes. However trainers would also be suitable.
Despite the steep climb and the steps this walk is not a hill climb.
Please remember to take food with you as there are no shops in Blebocraigs.
The nearest food outlet is the White Chimneys in Pitscottie which will provide takeaway food.
The nearest public toilets are in the village of Ceres which is a 5/10 minute drive from the car park at Dura Den.
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