If you’re planning a trip to up or down to Fife and want to explore the area and get-off-the-beaten-track then here’re a few ideas from Scaramanga. We guarantee that you’re likely to be the only ones in these five places. They’re no more than a 20 minute drive from Scaramanga HQ. There are no sign posts to any of them and most locals don’t know they exist. So getting to them is going to be part of the fun!
1. Dunino Den
Many people say the area holds a magical and mysterious aura and that it’s haunted by fairies and other creatures of Celtic legend. The well was said to have been used for human sacrifice by druids, but there’s no record of druids taking part in human sacrifices. A church was built on the remains of an ancient stone circle. A set of steep steps have been carved from the rock down to the bottom of the den. You’ll find Celtic crosses, symbols and marks etched into the stone by visitors and worshippers. Look out for the face of a man, it can be a little hard to find. Coin offerings are pressed into crack and holes in the rocks. Surrounding trees have been decorated with dream catchers and beads. We saw a small doll swinging from a tree.
There most likely will have been a circle marked out around this central tree, druids worshipped, and also chanted, prayed and danced within this circle, which has ‘no beginning and no end’, the four quarter-points symbolising the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water. The forest floor is backed on two sides by two huge moss-covered rock faces, like a semi circle, looking onto the stream. It feels secluded and magical. Pagans still visit Dunino Den.
To get there go to Dunino church, KY16 8LU (lovely sight in it’s own right ) then walk down the left hand side of the church following a worn path between the graveyards towards the woods.
2. Lunardi Memorial
Take a trip to the Lunardi memorial in Balinnie, near Ceres. Vincenzo Lunardi aka ‘the Daredevil Areonaught’ became the first person to fly an aircraft in 1784 in England. Lunardi was a flamboyant young Italian whose balloon ascents in Scotland were very successful and totally eclipsed those of James Tytler, Scotland’s first aeronaut. On October 5, 1785 he flew from George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh for 46 miles, most of it over water landing in Coaltown of Callange, near Ceres. This plaque was erected in 1986 to commemorate the bicentenary of this remarkable achievement. Lunardi wasn’t the first to attempt balloon flight in Scotland, but none had travelled much distance, and Lunardi’s trip to Fife is regarded as the first aerial voyage in Scotland. Lunardi was a popular character of the time, and the Lunardi bonnet, a balloon shaped hat about 2 feet high, and Lunardi skirts, which were decorated with balloon motifs, were the vogue fashion accessories of the time.
See details of how to walk from Ceres here
If you’re driving to the memorial take care as there is no parking except for a muddy farm track on a sharp bend in the B940 and the memorial is not visible from the road. B940, KY15 5TU.
3. Visit to the ruins of the former Orwell Kirk (church) on the banks of Loch Leven. Explore the 16th and 17th century graveyard and spot the tombs with skull and cross bones. Can you find the oldest grave? We spotted one dated 1665. The chapel of “Urwell” was granted to the Abbey of Dunfermline by a charter of Robert I, dated at Cambuskenneth, 14th November, 1315. The remains of the manse (vicarage) can also be explored. Getting there: park at Loch Leven’s Larder and walk down to the Loch, turn right once you reach the Loch Leven Heritage Trail and walk anti-clockwise. After 10 minutes on the trail you’ll see the graveyard in a group of trees 100m to the right. Walk back to Loch Leven’s Larder for a coffee and cakes.
Loch Leven’s Larder/Channel Farm, Kinross KY13 9HD, 01592 841000.
4. Deserted sandy beaches of the East Neuk – Elie, KY9 1BS. The beaches of the East Nuek don’t really get that busy, but if you want a beach to yourself then head towards Elie and enjoy a a long sandy beach north of the village. Follow signs for Elie. Drive east from the village green along the A917 (stop at the Deli to buy a picnic) turn south / left into Wadeslea and continue for 500m, then turn left into Admiralty Lane continue or 750m until you get to Ruby Bay carpark. Once parked follow footpath signs for Fife Coastal Path for 300m until you get to an unnamed beautiful white sand beach that stretches for almost 2 miles north east. Lots of rock pools to explore. If youve not brought a picnic stop for lunch at the Ship Inn on The Toft on the way to the harbour or the excellent Anstruther Fish Bar 15min drive north.
5. Dundee Secret Bunker – This three level bunker is hidden 10 metres below the houses in a residential area of Dundee. Over the last 15 years a team of volunteers have been painstakingly restoring it. It was abandoned in 1991 after the collaspse of the Soviet Union. Until 26 years ago, the bunker would have been on the front line in the event of a nuclear attack on the UK, providing a place for 80 men and women ROC volunteers to measure nuclear blast waves and radioactive fallout. They would have been literally sealed into an air-tight underground complex.
The Dundee nuclear bunker is not open to the public. But if you contact 28th Observer Group via Facebook. They may be able to organise private tours: www.facebook.com/28group