The Cupar Recreational Route

GRADE Easy Road Ride
UPDATED September 2001




The Cupar Recreational Route - a circular tour of the Bow of Fife.

The Cupar Route is one of three recreational routes in the north east of Fife. This route travels through Freuchie, Ladybank, Springfield, Cupar, Ceres, giving great views of the "Bow" of Fife.

The one thing that struck me as I cycled along this route is that whilst it is well signposted, it lacks identity. The three "Green" Recreational Routes in the North East of Fife: Newburgh, Cupar and the Howe of Fife are inter linked so without the benefit of a map or a clear idea of where you are going it would be easy to stray off one route onto another without noticing.

Each of the routes has some form of identity on the cycle information points, at primary locations in villages and towns along the way (can be sometimes off the signposted route). The identity chosen for the Cupar route is a cow, perhaps a tabloid newspaper copywriter would call this route the Coo-per Route, I will leave any more puns up to you. My description starts off in the village of Freuchie, famous for winning the Village Cricket competition, beating the best of the English teams at Lords. Another curious item in the village can be found on the wall of the Lomond Hotel, a round enamel sign for the National Cycling Unions' official quarters, harking back to the halcyon (and troubled) days of cycling before the foundation of the British Cycling Federation.

Starting from the Cycle Information Point outside the Lumsden Memorial Hall which houses the village library. At the junction, turn right, the group of new houses to the right is named Christie Gate, after David Christie, who was the captain of the victorious cricket team, Lords 1985. A brass plaque on the wall gives more details. The road comes to a crossing with the A92, crossing can be fraught with danger, despite the 40 mph speed limit. Cross straight over heading for the railway line going under the bridge and turning immediate left into Rudewan Road. Follow the road into Kingskettle. Watch out for the traffic islands outside the Primary School, the left hand cycle- through is very narrow.

If you wish to visit the village shop continue straight on and turn left at the T-junction opposite the grave yard. If you wish a short cut, turn left into Main Street and follow the road around to the right, turning left at the T-junction. Continue along this road to Ladybank. Just as you enter the town and before the railway bridge, look out for a turning on the right opposite the Masonic Lodge. Turn right and follow the road past the railway buildings and workers cottages. Ladybank Junction was an important railway maintenance base, now sadly all gone. The road leaves the town and heads into the country side, passing through a forest ending at a T-junction. Turn left and approach the railway crossing, turn right just before the gates onto a farm road. This road is rough though by no means unridable even for those with narrow racing tyres - just uncomfortable!

The track follows the railway line, when after passing a trig. point the track becomes a stony path. The path is tarred briefly as it descends to go under the railway, with a sharp right hand turn on the far side. Cross the burn and follow the burn to the left, then turn right onto a grassy track. Another uncomfortable ride along to a T-junction at Springfield.

Turn left then immediate right opposite the village Post Office, continue along the road and take the left turn just before the railway station. A short sharp climb follows before the road levels out as it passes the golf course. Shortly after passing the entrance to the hospital, look for the beige buildings almost straight ahead. This the site of the Scots Porridge Oats Mine, where the rich deposits of Fife oats are brought to the surface for packaging well OK, but it is the site of the Scots Porridge Oats factory. The road takes a sharp right turn and descends into Cupar. If you wish to visit the town then follow the road all the way into the town, passing a church steeple dating back to the 15th century. Otherwise look for the Green sign on the left, which is partially obscured by trees. Turn right and down the hill to a T-junction then turn left, following the road all the way into town. At the busy T-junction, turn right then at an even busier T-junction turn right, shortly after passing the supermarket and garage, take the left hand fork at the old toll house. The route is poorly signposted at this point, follow the road past the school and golf course. The road starts a sustained climb as you leave Cupar, on the left is the large storage silo for the redundant Sugar Beet factory, once a thriving industry now consigned to an industrial estate.

Over the top of the hill and descend into Ceres, shortly after passing the RNIB house, turn right. However if you do you will miss the delightful little village of Ceres, continue to the end of the road, on the far side of the cross roads is a Toby jug like statue of a Provost, just past the statue on the left hand side is the Fife Folk Museum. If you follow the narrow cobbled path beside the museum you will come out at the pack horse bridge, a rare example of what roads were like before the industrial revolution.

Retrace your tracks and turn left at the RNIB House, and follow the road out of town. The route turns right entering the grounds of the NTS Tarvit House, (the cafe is open without paying to visit the house) as the road approaches the house it comes to a T-junction, the green route is unmarked, turn left to leave the house grounds. At the gates there is a choice of routes: If you have a light bike or a heavily loaded tourer then I would strongly advise you to miss the next stage and turn left, then pick up the Kingdom Cycle Route (KCR) at Craigrothie, turning right towards Chance Inn. The Green Route crosses straight over and heads to the Scotstarvit Tower then goes around to the left, up a hill and down a very rough road to Chance Inn. The rough road is better suited to mountain bikes than anything else.

At Chance Inn go straight on, following the route of the KCR, the route gets more hillier, though the views to the right make the effort worth while. The route comes up to a T-junction, turn right and descend to a cross roads - give way! Cross over and continue the long gradual climb past the extensive quarry workings. The best views can be made from this road.

Descend to Burnturk, still following the KCR until it enters a forest, this is where we leave the KCR by turning right at a T-junction towards Freuchie, this part of the route forms the link between the KCR from Kinross and the North Sea Cycle Route. The road climbs gently through the trees where after one last look at the scenery it descends sharply to the A914.

Special provision has been made to enable cyclists to cross this busy road safely, cross straight over onto the pavement and turn left going under the railway bridge and onto Freuchie. The route crosses the A92, again take care while crossing this busy road, we return to the starting point shortly afterwards.