Markinch to Kennoway – Fife Pilgrim Way

Markinch to Kennoway is an easy 5 mile walk through open countryside along good tracks and farm roads. This is part of the Fife Pilgrim Way from Culross to St Andrews. The route is also suitable for cycling.

How to get there:

I travelled from my home in Edinburgh catching the train to Markinch and bus from Kennoway back to Edinburgh. From Crail Stagecoach buses run regular bus services throughout Fife click here for bus times. Scotrail run trains to Markinch from Leuchars. Click here for train timetable.

Markinch Railway Station
Markinch Railway Station

Markinch to Kennoway Start:

I started my walk by picking up the waymarkers at Markinch and Thornton Parish Church. I had often passed this church on the train. It’s a prominent building and dominates the town. I wanted to find out more about it and its origins.

Markinch and Thornton Parish Church

The large tower dates back to the 12th Century however the church has been altered over the years, Firstly by Prior Hepburn in the early 1500’s and again in the 17th and 19th centuries. The church was originally known as St Drostan’s and is believed to have been built by MacDuff Earls of Fife. The tower was a display of power and wealth at the heart of Strathleven. Ninety per cent of the stones have mason’s markings.

Markinch and Thornton Parish church
Markinch and Thornton Parish Church

There are many old gravestones in the churchyard mostly dating from the 19th Century. I found occupations such as feuars, farmers, fleshers, auctioneers and those who served in the military. One stone caught my eye with the inscription “Erected by Andrew Bauist Feuar in Markinch and his spouse Christian Martin in memory of their daughter Janet died 20th May 1777 in the 19th year of her life”

Gravestone in Markinch Churchyard
Gravestone in the Churchyard caught my eye
Markinch High Street
View down Markinch High Street from the Churchyard

John Haig’s Whisky

Markinch is also known in recent years for John Haig’s whisky. The large red brick building still stands next to Markinch railway station. Haig’s operated until 1983 when the company part of Diageo moved to more modern premises at Banbeath Leven. Haigs are best remembered for the Dimple brand which was exported widely throughout the world.

Markinch to Kennoway Walk

From the church I made my way back to the High Street to find Brunton Road. The route takes you under the railway line and out into open farmland. The path is well maintained and suitable for cycling. The route is only 5 miles along mainly farm tracks at the side of fields. It is surprisingly very quiet and peaceful only interrupted by the occasional passing train. I spotted a number of birds in the hedgerows such as wrens, wheatears, reed bunting, corn bunting, and lots of swallows flying overhead.

Markinch to kennoway path
Well trodden path toward Kennoway
Markinch to kennoway distance marker
Markinch to Kennoway 5 miles
Well Trodden Path
Well Trodden path across open farmland

Windygates and Cameron Bridge

The route is well sign posted unlike other parts of the walk. The first town you come to after Markinch is Windygates. Look out for Cameron Bridge Maltings on the right. Follow the signs into Windygates. The path passes along the western edge of the town past some attractive new build houses. Continue down the road until you reach the main road. Turn left and walk towards Kennoway. You will find a sign at the foot of the road for a nature walk to Kennoway Den. This is not part of the Pilgrim Way but may offer the walker an attractive detour.

Cameron Bridge maltings
Cameron Bridge Maltings
Windygates Markinch to Kennoway
The path skirts the western edge of Windygates

Arrive at Kennoway

The road then climbs up toward the centre of Kennoway probably the steepest part of the walk known as Sandy Brae. When I first came to Kennoway in the 1960’s and 70’s I considered the best part of Kennoway was the road out. As I trudged up Sandy Brae I was pleasantly surprised at the number of little houses with gardens and attractive flower beds.

Markinch to Kennoway along the Pilgrim Way
Left into Causewayhead leading to Swan Avenue

At the top of Sandy Brae take a left into Causeway leading to Swan Avenue. Here you will find a mixture of old and new buildings. Some of the older cottages have been recently renovated. This street leads you to the town centre and the end of the walk.

What I remembered about Kennoway when I was walking the next part of the Pilgrim Way Kennoway to Ceres there was a particularly good baker in the main street. I was disappointed to find it had closed down. However there is a sandwich takeaway and Coop supermarket where you can buy food and picnic tables if you are looking for somewhere to sit.

St Kenneth’s Parish Church Kennoway

Buses leave from the town centre for Leven, Kirkcaldy, Edinburgh and St Andrews. See Stagecoach bus timetable.

Markinch to Kennoway Walk – Verdict.

If I had limited time and could only walk part of the Pilgrim Way would I

  1. Walk the route
  2. Consider walking the route
  3. Leave it

Markinch and Kennoway are not the most attractive places in Fife to visit whilst on holiday. The route is an easy walk or cycle but in comparison to other parts of the Pilgrim Way there is not a lot to see. If you are looking for a nice easy walk I would consider walking this route. If you are looking for something more challenging with more to see I would leave it.

Recommended Walks on our Walks Pages

Walking the Fife Pilgrim Way

Walking the Fife Coastal Path Our Guide

Sandy and Susan’s Walks from Crail

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