Lomond Circuit

By Ian
1st May 2022

“Elton joins the Masons”

The second of our walks with Derek and Neil took us back to the Lomonds, otherwise known as The Paps of Fife. We were a four man team with Steve and I completing the group. This time a larger circular walk was planned, taking in 3 hills.

The tops of East and West Lomond were obscured by cloud as we left the car park.

East Lomond

By the time we had ascended East Lomond some 15 minutes later the cloud ceiling was lifting and we enjoyed fairly good views in all directions.

Walkers always acknowledge each other with a hello, a wave or sometimes a conversation. We met a talkative octogenarian as we posed for photos at the cairn. Some five minutes later he was still regaling us with the history of the cairn, his walking and we feared his whole life story.

Somehow without overt rudeness we managed to ply ourselves free from his storytelling and headed west down a steep slope and on towards West Lomond.

West Lomond and the ritual of “Kissing the Nipple”

The track was fairly busy all the way with walkers and cyclists. There are toilets and a car park mid-way between East and West but in their wisdom on a Bank Holiday Sunday the authorities had left them closed.

A rest stop at the foot of West Lomond for coffee and cake gave us the energy for the ascent .

We summited at midday stopping long enough for the traditional ceremony of Kissing the Nipple. Every hiker who reaches the top of West Lomond goes through the ceremony to ensure safe passage on the descent.

The descent toward Bishop hill was steep and uneven and Del required careful monitoring on the way.

Bishop Hill

We then headed southeast towards a stile. A quick consultation of my OS app showed I had chosen the wrong track from the top and we needed to be further west than we were. Deciding against trekking off path we eventually rejoined our original route before we stopped for lunch.

Most of us found a perch on a wall but Elton went all Little Miss Muffett on us and sat on a tuffet while eating his ……..

(Ed: There wasn’t any cake left.)

We continued on path en route to the summit of Bishop Hill. The route we were following continued to another hilltop. In the distance the three towers of the Queensferry Crossing marched across the Firth of Forth. From here the route back to the car was by a circuitous path. We decided we would strike out more directly.

(Ed: We? We? Who’s this “we”?)

In theory this shortened the distance but risked us getting into bogs and also having to climb walls and fences to reach our destination. Walking off path also meant reduced pace to avoid falling down holes or turning ankles and knees on uneven ground.

We managed to encounter all these anticipated hazards as we continued our line of sight navigation.

The hazards of hiking

Elton hyper-extended his knee when he stepped into a hole while crossing a bog. We then risked electrocution climbing over an electric fence via some loose stones piled against it. Elton required to apply embrocation to relieve the discomfort in his knee and looked like an enrolee to the Masons as he stood with one trouser leg rolled up above the knee.

Our final trial was to cross a bog full of holes and streams which was populated with wild flowers and some fallen trees. The crossing was achieved with Steve the only one overtopping his boots.

After these struggles we rejoined our original route and trouble-free walking for the remainder of the day.

The final stop was at Harperleas reservoir where we sat for 15 minutes rehydrating and enjoying an energy bar.

At 16:45 after some 12 miles we were back at the car and looking forward to a home cooked Sunday roast.