New path is ‘missing link’ in Fife’s network

MSP Alex Rowley cuts the ribbon to open the path watched by, from left - Councillor Willie Robertson, George Lawrie of Living Lomonds and Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland.
MSP Alex Rowley cuts the ribbon to open the path watched by, from left - Councillor Willie Robertson, George Lawrie of Living Lomonds and Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland.

More people than ever before will be able to get close to nature thanks to the official opening of the ‘missing link’ in Fife’s path network.

The new path links the Loch Leven Heritage Trail with the Fife Core Path network by by crossing Benarty Hill, known locally as ‘the sleeping giant.’

The project was carried out by TRACKS – The Rural Access Committee of Kinross-shire – on behalf of the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership, which is administered by the Fife Coast & Countryside Trust.

It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, communities fund SITA and SportScotland’s Legacy 2014 Commonwealth Games fund.

“We knew that it was vital to create a link between Falkland Palace, Lochore Meadows, Loch Leven and the Lomond and Benarty Hills and to help people get back out on the hills and closer to nature,” said project manager George Lawrie, director of the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership.

“This path has filled that missing link and offers something for everyone, whether it’s exercising, the archaeological interest of the lime workings, the views or the wildlife.”

The official opening took place at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven and was carried out by Alex Rowley MSP, Scottish Labour deputy leader. Members of the Perth and Kinross Council and Benarty and Portmoak Community Councils also attended along with local landowners, project partners and representatives from SEPA, Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland.

Councillor Willie Robertson, chairman of TRACKS, said: “I am delighted to see the creation of this important link in the Kinross-shire and Fife path network. It is as a result of excellent partnership working between the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership, RSPB Scotland, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and TRACKS.

“We live in a beautiful part of Scotland and this new path will allow more people to enjoy it whilst at the same time improving their health and their understanding and appreciation of our environment.

“TRACKS are now looking forward to assisting with the creation of a new underpass under the B9097 which will give much better access from the trail to RSPB Scotland Loch Leven and the path to Lochore Meadows.”

The new path is around a mile-and-a-half long and, as part of the project, a new, shorter trail has been created on the reserve.