KINGDOM OF FIFE CYCLE ROUTE
Markinch to Kirkcaldy (Section 10)
The Kingdom Cycle Route (KCR) forms part of the National Cycle (NCN) Route 1 and is an integral part of the North Sea Cycle route.
The North Sea Cycle route connects mainland Scotland, to Orkney, Shetland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and England. In all 5,700 km or 3,500 miles of quiet roads and cycle tracks.
The 168 km or 105 miles KCR is a circular route linking the Forth to Tay Bridges, running from North Queens- ferry to Tayport and back by way of Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy.
This section covers the 16 km or 10 miles from Markinch to Kirkcaldy.
1. The Stob Cross sits on a hillock on the outskirts of Markinch, a Historic Scotland marker plaque is on the wall to the left, opposite the cross. “Possibly marking the limit of an ancient sanctuary enclosure associated with the original early Christian church dedicated to St. Drostan who lived in the 7th or 8th century.” After passing the cross look out for a right turn shortly before a set of no entry signs. Follow this road down to the cross roads, cross over and carry straight on to a T-junction in front of the imposing brick built bonded warehouse.
Turn right into King Edward Street and follow this road until a KCR signpost on the left, turn left, cross the old railway bridge and continue all the way down to the bottom of the road.
2. There are two ways to cross the A911, the KCR uses the pedestrian footbridge, the other way is to cross the road itself. It can be done, though please remember that the traffic is at its “fastest” on this part of the road. After crossing continue along the short section of road and then use the shared use footpath to cross the small burn (stream). On the far side, the footpath climbs up the embankment to one of the oldest parts of the Glenrothes “new Town.”
The KCR now makes extensive use of shared used footpaths as it makes its way to Woodside Road. Personally I think they are more bother than they are worth. The route is difficult to describe as it wends its way through the houses, along footpaths and lanes, fortunately it is well signposted. Following the shared use footpath markings is a great help.
Eventually, the KCR emerges out onto Woosdide Road. A shared use footpath continues along Woodside Road until the brow of the hill when the way joins a road side cycle lane. My own feeling that all this is more trouble than it is worth.
3. Great care is needed at the bottom of Woodside Road, as it joins onto one of the biggest and busiest roundabouts in Glenrothes if not Fife. It is advisable to use the marked crossing points. Cross straight over the B921 and turn left on the shared use footpath, another roundabout has to be negotiated before turning right onto the B9130 Road to Thornton.
The B9130 or Blackwood Road has a shared use footpath for a mile or so, until the outskirts of Thornton. Personally, it is more trouble than it is worth, especially for proficient cyclist. Using the road makes faster progress versus relative safety — the choice is yours.
In Thornton the KCR has designated cycle lanes through the town, sometimes this is of little use due to parked vehicles. The cycle lane disappears shortly after crossing the railway line at a small bridge. The road narrows at this point forming a choke point. The cycle lane resumes on the far side of the bridge and continues all the way up the gentle hill until just short of the next roundabout.
4. The KCR designers have played safe at the next point and for good reason. The KCR turns right just before the roundabout and continues alongside the A92 dual carriageway. Crossing the B9130, is hazardous with traffic emerging off the roundabout at speed, so it may be prudent to follow the KCR road markings. Basi- cally the southbound route mounts the pavement then has a give way on the pavement enabling the cyclist to cross directly over the road rather than turning right from the middle of the road.
On the far side follow the minor road past the electrical sub station, and caravan site. The KCR then turns left and crosses the A92 by means of a footbridge. Special provision for cyclists has been made on the footbridge, sections of “U“ shaped channel has been laid over the steps, enabling cyclists to wheel their cycles up and down the steps.
On the far side turn left and continue up the narrow lane. Unfortunately this lane is another of those linear dog latrines that cyclists have to suffer. Follow the track around the water storage tanks to join with a service road. Turn right and descend to the Asda roundabout then straight on to the next roundabout with the B981.
5. Provision has been made at the Asda roundabout for a safe crossing — hardly worth it. The next roundabout is another matter, it may be prudent to use the desig- nated crossing points, though I did get the feeling that a fair portion of my back wheel was sticking out into the road at one of the islands. At times the roundabout can be crossed without too much trouble. Either way continue straight ahead, this road has designated cycle lanes along its length. The valve of this cycle lane is debatable as its width varies from approx. 2m to 0.5m at the traffic calming islands.
Eventually the road ends at a T-junction, turn right (no sign post) and follow the road underneath the railway bridge and to the left, choke points exist at this point. The traffic lights have advance stop lines, turn right and follow the cycle lane to the next set of lights, turn left and down the hill to the sea!
Just before the lights at the bottom the KCR makes a diversion to make use of the pelican crossings, for a proficient cyclist this is more trouble than it is worth, espe- cially since the traffic lights have advance stop lines. Turn right at the lights then left and right onto the esplanade.
6. The esplanade has been surfaced with paving bricks and made into a shared use foot path complete with sand, seaweed and dog excrement. A memorial plaque is mounted on the esplanade wall about half way along commemorating the building of the esplanade in 1922/3 as a means of destitution relief. Continue to the large car park with a snack bar, turn right, cross the car park and then cross the A921.
7. Continue to a T-junction, turn left and follow the road to the next T-junction. Turn left then be prepared for a right hand turning towards some houses. Follow the road up the hill and around to the left at the set of flats at the top. This leads onto a narrow lane which at the time I last used it was heavily overgrown with all manner of thorny plants — not a pleasurable experience.
The lane of thorns emerges onto a footpath, turn right, under the railway bridge and cross the B9157 continuing on the minor road on the far side.
For proficient cyclists, instead of crossing the A921 at the esplanade, continue along the esplanade until joining the A921 behind the snack bar, turn left onto the A921, past the bus garage, up to a double roundabout, continue straight on for Aberdour and the Forth Road Bridge, this involves moving to the off side lane of the first roundabout, after passing under the railway bridge turn left onto the small road.
All Material Copyright Of Wallace Shackleton