370: Lomond Hills

OS Explorer map 370, Glenrothes North, Falkland & Lomond Hills: Auchtermuchty & Cupar – I own this map, and had visited the area before starting this blog. Visited again for this post 24th September 2021.

Google Maps location links: Bunnet Stone, East Lomond

I came to this map area with my parents, as a stop on the way back southwards from a visit to their holiday cottage on the Isle of Harris. We left the cottage on this Friday morning on the early-morning ferry (usually 7:20am, but on this occasion it was delayed by an hour), arriving at Uig on Skye at 10am, leaving us with about six hours of driving to do to the hotel near Peebles where we’d be staying the next two nights. (On this trip, we’d decided to travel to Harris by to Harris by driving all the way from my parents’ Northamptonshire home, rather than taking a flight or train to Inverness and hiring a car there. This means there’s about 11h of driving to do, so taking at least one night on the way is required.)

Now, as regular readers will well know, I like to find interesting places to stop at on car journeys, and I managed to convince my parents to make one such on this trip: we took a small detour from the A9 in Fife, and made our way to a small lay-by parking area on a single-track road near Strathmiglo, sitting under the imposing mass of West Lomond. In the typical understated (or, to some people, perhaps underwhelming) fashion of my “interesting stops”, we were here to see an interestingly-shaped rock, namely the Bunnet Stone.

After a pleasant 20-minute walk through a few fields, with the Stone in sight the whole time, we reached it. The Bunnet Stone is a sort of mushroom-shaped rock, i.e. with a big “head” sitting atop a thin “stalk”, about ten feet tall, and itself sitting on a big rocky outcrop on the gentle lower slopes of West Lomond. It’s a strange sight, and I enjoyed clambering up to stand under it!

The outcrop under the Bunnet Stone is also of note for containing a smallish man-made cave, known as the Maiden’s Bower, which has some tragic local legend attached to it that you can read about on the Wikipedia page. It contained some fun old graffiti, of the “Angus Wilson, 1904” kind.

The Maiden’s Bower

After our brief explore of the Stone and Bower, the Progenitors and I walked back to the car and continued our journey. It was a great little stop!

Previous visits

A couple of weeks ago, in my post about Hawick in the Scottish Borders, I told you of a brief lunch stop that I and my school friends Joystick and Cabbage made in summer 2015, on our way back to England following a few days staying visiting our friend Geochunderer to celebrate his 21st birthday. During that trip, we were staying at his parents’ home in Fife, which was in this map area!

The birthday celebration itself was planned for a Friday evening, when several of his other friends would be joining us, but the three of us coming from England arrived on the Wednesday evening, and wouldn’t be leaving until the Sunday. This meant that we had several days, which Geochunderer was glad to spend showing us around the local area – a couple of such trips were outside this map area, but one was definitely within it, when we went for a walk up East Lomond!

The birthday celebration itself was very pleasant, consisting of twelve or so people sitting around, chatting, and playing silly games late into the night – including the excellend television-based party game “Drawful“. A “vodka watermelon” was featured, which is exactly what it sounds like! Despite not having met Geochunderer’s other friends before, the few days some of us spent together turned out to be plenty of time to develop enough in-jokes to make the classic paper-based game “The Hat Game” – where people write things on little slips of paper, which are put into a hat, and drawn out for various rounds such as a Taboo round, charades round, and various more arcane possibilities – work very well. Overall, a very enjoyable weekend!

[1] The soup was provided by Geochunderer’s mother, whose reputation as a wonderful cook among our friendship group was forever cemented by the time she made a cola-glazed gammon, which Cabbage has been raving about ever since.

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