Newburgh To Balmerino (Section 5)



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 Queensferry to Tayport and back by way of Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy.

This section covers the 14 km or 9 miles from the Newburgh to Balmerino.


This stretch of the KCR could well be described as the most uneventful portion of the entire route. Certainly it passes through no towns or villages nor does it pass through any really interesting places before Balmerino. It does however have good views to the Carse of Gorwie on the north bank of the Tay and of the Sidlaw hills beyond. Enjoy the peace and quiet. The climbing; not much though it does wear you down after a while. Enjoy it as it is as near to revenge as you are going to get!

a - Continue all the way through Newburgh on the A913, then turn left as you leave the town. The KCR sign is poorly sited and easily missed. Basically, if you pass the cemetery, turn back and take the next right! The road after passing the abbey starts to climb hard at first then settles out to a gentle climb. The KCR passes a ruined castle near Ballinbreich and the derelict church at Flisk, neither of which are open to the public.

b - A mile or so after the castle is a small school at the side of the road, have a look at the south wall of the building. A war memorial plaque is set into the stone, mainly commemorating the dead of the parish of the First World war, amazing to think of so many men from such a small place as this: one parish, in one county, in one country, in one kingdom in one empire, no wonder the death toll was staggering. After passing the church, the gradient starts to increase, time to grit ones teeth and get on with the climb. A cross roads
c - at the top provides relief, turn left and follow the road as it undulates towards Gauldry. Do not descend too fast, the left turn
d - towards Balmerino is not too well sign posted, could have done with a marker farther up the hill. The road to Balmerino descends sharply as it passes through the trees, take care on the descent. The KCR does not pass through Balmerino, but it is worth detouring off the beaten track to visit the ruins of the old abbey. The next section to the Tay Bridge is better than the last section, though it is possible to bypass Balmerino by heading for Gauldry and Wormit. Note: Going south, the hill into Balmerino is a hard and unrelenting climb, better going south on the St. Andrews - Glenrothes section of the KCR.

All Material Copyright Of Wallace Shackleton [2001]