A Walk around Letham and Monimail

There is a rather pleasant and attractive walk in a relatively hidden part of Fife, which takes you from Letham over the hill to Dunbog. It is a gentle stroll in the countryside, which I did many years ago. Time for another go, so a couple of weeks past Frank and I decided to get in a little much needed exercise by retracing our steps from that previous outing. Did not quite work out as expected. Mainly to do with the heat. It was a scorchingly hot sunny day with temperatures in the high twenties – too high for us frail souls. Still we had a most interesting walk with time to loiter about and appreciate some of the hidden gems. Letham itself is a pretty little village, a planned one at that. Built to house linen weavers, it was once a fairly prosperous place. Now a residential village for the better off. There is still the odd relic from the past as in this semi ruin at the edge of the village.
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The main street is made up of workers’ cottages and goes by the simple name of The Row. Below you can see the remains of an inscription on one of the cottages informing us of who lived there and what he did.
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Opposite this cottage is the village pump which was repaired in 1977 as part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations. Doesn’t seem to have survived as well as her! This is followed by one of the beautiful garden displays to be found throughout the village and then a surviving example of a doocot. This one is apparently a pepperpot doocot. There are two other doocots in the village, but they are both hidden by trees, so no photos.
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From the village the walk goes up a slight incline and then veers west behind a wooded area. This takes you back down the hillside to the even smaller village of Monimail. Before we reached Monimail we passed this lovely work horse. Looks like a Clydesdale, but seemed a bit smaller and of a lighter build. Beautiful animal though,
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Though now much smaller, Monimail was once an important place. There is a fine church and a lovely, secluded cemetery a few yards away. This was the original cemetery and is the resting place for the older generation of villagers and their masters. Substantial mausoleums dot the cemetery, but the whole place is pretty much unattended. The only flowers were by a small and plain gravestone. Below is a view of one of the mausoleums, in need of repair, and the flower strew grave.
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Close by the cemetery is Monimail Tower, which used to be owned by Cardinal Beaton, Archbishop of St Andrews, the one who got murdered during the bloody Reformation. It is a rather squat kind of tower as you can see below.
P1040777 It is now in the hands of a community group – Monimail Tower Project. You can find out more about this group here. Though it seems to be still in existence, there was little evidence of activity when we visited earlier in the month. The Tower was open and one of the rooms half way up is a resting room for repose and meditation. From the top of the Tower you get grand views of the Fife countryside. Though not large, the stairs leading up to the top are very narrow as you can see from the following photo. Then comes a view from the top looking towards East Lomond Hill.
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The grounds include an orchard, but all was in neglect when we passed by. Below is a photo of the entrance to the orchard, followed by a sign advertising produce for sale. Not that there was any around. Still hope springs eternal.
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After Monimail the route once again goes up the hillside and then over the crest to Dunbog on the other side. However the sun was too hot and once out in the open there was no shade to be found, so we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and retraced our steps back to Letham. Not before we came across an old harvester, we think, just lying by the edge of a field to rot and rust away. Further on we got a view of a more modern technology – a single wind powered turbine. Which shows that even in this hidden part of Fife, all is not lost in the past.
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