Dunfermline to Charlestown-Limekilns route 12 mile / 19 km is one of
three routes off the West Fife Cycle Way. Most of this route is very enjoyable,
especially in the Charlestown area, unfortunately this route has a premature
ending at Rosyth, leaving you with a three mile cycle along an unpleasant
road back to Dunfermline.
The starting point for this route is the beginning of the West Fife Cycle
way (WFC), in Dunfermline. This 13 mile route was created from the ashes
of the disused Dunfermline to Alloa railway line, and forms with the Clackmannan
extension part of the National Cycle Route to Stirling. Leaving Dunfermline,
you travel along the track to turn right shortly after passing under the
second bridge, cycle up the embankment to the road, turn right and head
As you enter Crossford, the road narrows at the crest of a hill forming
a "choke point", the amount of car debris testifies to the danger
here. Turn first left into Kirkwood Crescent and follow the road around
to the right, then descend to the traffic lights.
At the lights cross straight over and continue along Wagon Road, sometimes
traffic can be unpleasant on this road. At the bottom of Wagon Road there
is a facility for riders to safely turn right and cross the busy A985.
On the verge to the left is a refuge, entering the refuge will enable
you to cross Wagon Road (rather than turning right from the middle of
the road), onto the shared use footpath. The footpath runs for a short
distance alongside the A985 then crosses the road directly. The usefulness
of this facility is offset by a road signpost, which partially obscures
your view of the oncoming traffic...nice try.
On the far side of the road, follow the footpath to the Charlestown Road
junction, turn left and then immediate left to follow the road around
the back of the farm. Cross the redundant railway line, which was built
to transport munitions to the nearby naval depot. Climb the bumpy road
to the gates of the landfill site then follow the road around to the left
to a T-junction. Turn right then follow the road down into Charlestown.
Look out for a set of gates on the left, through which is an orange coloured
Experimental Lime Kiln called ELK, is a joint venture between the University
of Paisley, Heriot Watt University, the Scottish Lime Centre and other
building concerns, it is unfortunately not open to the public. Go straight
on at the bottom of the road, the road surfaces changes to cobbles as
you go down the hill, (quite a rare sight in Fife) which does not change
the fact that they are a pain...
At the bottom of the road, make a small diversion, turn right into Saltpans
Road follow this road for a short distance to Charlestown harbour and
lime kilns. Great quantities of coal and lime were exported here from
this extensive harbour. Retrace your tracks, to the right on the other
side of the Forth is Blackness castle which was used as a location for
a recent version of Hamlet, back to the junction at the bottom of the
hill and turn right.
Continue through Limekilns, turning right at the end of the sea front,
and follow the shoreline into Bruce Haven. Just before the harbour breakwater,
turn left then right, then at the end of the road turn right following
the shore line again, straight ahead of you is the Rosyth Dockyard and
the Forth Bridges.
The track is barred by a gate, go around and continue along the shore,
the Rosyth Old Parish Church and church yard is just around the point
to the left, the churchyard has headstones dating back to the 18th century.
A notice here states that cyclists must give way to pedestrians. The path
finally moves away from the Forth, climbing as it passes the fields, the
final climb is especially hard, at the top, take in the scenery and have
a rest while your at it!
The path descends to a farmhouse to meet the A985 again. Cross-straight
over, the next turn is not signposted at this point, turn left to Pattiesmuir,
follow the road until nearly the end of the village and turn left onto
a reasonably surfaced farm track. Continue on this track going straight
on at a cross roads heading towards Rosyth. The track emerges at a cross
roads with the busy Grange Road. A sign states that this is the end of
the cycle route, which will come as a surprise as the route board at the
start of the WFC states that this is a circular route. The route board
also states that Grange Road is "very busy, please take care on this
interim standard route" what that means is that until the road can
be closed to through traffic, which seems unlikely, anyone that wishes
to use this a circular route has to share this narrow road with seemingly
indifferent drivers, cycling on Grange road is not a pleasurable experience
- believe me.
There are no more signposts on this route until you return to the start
of the WFC another comforting thought. The Charlestown route seems to
take the following route: continue all the way along Grange Road to the
traffic lights, turn left then enter Pittencrieff Park and make your way
northwards (I cannot be more specific) to emerge, a set of gates onto
the A994 Road. Cross straight over and continue up Maitland Street, at
the top turn right, then left and second left to pick up the urban "blue"
route back to the start of the cycle way.
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