Taking a walk on the wild (life) side in Kinghorn

Craigencalt Trust Walking Festival 2015. Walk on the Binn Hill, Burntisland.

Craigencalt Trust Walking Festival 2015. Walk on the Binn Hill, Burntisland.

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The coming year is going to be an extremely busy one for the volunteers who make up the Craigencalt Rural Community Trust in Kinghorn.

With a hectic schedule of path building, raft and nesting platform building, information board creating and history writing planned as well as the usual annual events of walks, talks, social gatherings and fundraising, the trust’s 100 or so members are preparing themselves for a lot of hard graft.

Craigencalt Trust workday on the Loch

Craigencalt Trust workday on the Loch

The Trust was formed in 2011 by members of the Kinghorn Loch Users Group to provide an ongoing stewardship programme for the loch and its natural environs. It operates in the countryside around Kinghorn from Whinnyhall to the North Mire, taking in the historical lands of Craigencalt, Kinghorn Loch and Whinnyhall. It always works in co-operation with the landowners.

Its big project for the coming years will involve creating a user friendly path to allow families with buggies and people with disabilities to travel easily all the way from the lochside to the top of Rodanbraes, taking in the scenic views over the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh.

This final piece of the jigsaw will link up to the Rodanbraes path, and work has already begun, with the help of Alcan Aluminium UK which owns the loch and chunks of land around it, to create a new car park at the side of the loch for members of the many groups which use it, and to dig out the route the new path will take through the woods.

Coupled with the work being done by Craigencalt Farm to create toilets and a cafe for loch users, CRCT is looking forward to many more people being able to enjoy the stunning countryside.

Radio controlled boats on Kinghorn Loch. Just one of the user groups which makes use of the facility

Radio controlled boats on Kinghorn Loch. Just one of the user groups which makes use of the facility

Volunteers are also being tasked to help replace the old rafts of barley straw which were installed around 1998 to combat the blue algae which kills off wildlife in the loch, to cut back weeds and to build two nesting platforms to encourage more swans to make the loch their home.

Marilyn Edwards, secretary of the Trust, has spent some time investigating the history of the Craigencalt area, and is planning to publish a historical booklet.

Three interpretation panels, one on the history of Kinghorn Loch, one on the pollution of the loch and the clean-up operation to restore it and the third on Craigencalt Mill will also be created and installed in the lochside area to let the public know more about the area.

Kinghorn Loch has become an important venue for the many groups which use it regularly, and whose numbers grow every year.

Members of the Craigencalt Trust work on making the barley straw rafts to keep algae at bay

Members of the Craigencalt Trust work on making the barley straw rafts to keep algae at bay

These include Kirkcaldy Canoe Club, Kinghorn Sailing Club, Kinghorn Radio Sailing Club, East of Scotland Open Air Swimmers as well as lots of friends of CRCT – bird watchers, anglers, walkers and nature lovers.

Ron Edwards, chairman of the trust, said: “All of these groups and their members allow us to succeed in making Craigencalt what it is and to keep our wonderful countryside well used and appreciated by the public.

“We had a busy year in 2013 then last year we had a bit of a rest, but the coming year is going to be pretty full on.

“This year has been a good one, starting with the thrill of having kingfishers back on the loch and in such close proximity that every detail and habit could be studied. Visitors came from far and wide to see them and there were photographs of them circulated around Scotland.

“They have been back a few times since and we are hopeful that they may return to the loch this winter.”

Another big, successful event staged by the trust was the second annual Walking Festival which attracted more than 100 people for 16 walks over nine days, stretching from Dysart to beyond Aberdour.

Marilyn Edwards, secretary, who helped organise the event, said: “It grew much bigger in size this year and was a huge success. We don’t plan on making it any bigger next year as we were operating at almost full capacity, and we want to keep it within the local area.”

Anyone who would like to become involved in the work of the Craigencalt Rural Community Trust can contact Ron or Marilyn on (01592) 891330.