Looking at the dates when pages were created, it was the 7th April 2016 when I published the first page (the then home page). The first walking routes don’t appear to have been published until the following week though.
There are now over 100 routes on the website and I have recently set up a Facebook page to promote the site. I’ve also got a Twitter account although that hasn’t really taken off and you can find me on Flickr. I don’t know what I was really expecting when I set up the site as I wasn’t a social media person (in fact I did my best to avoid social media). It came about from two things. Firstly, an ongoing project to walk as much as the Fife Coastal Path as possible using circular routes rather than end to end walking. Secondly, a programme of short evening walks that I was creating for a local walking group https://www.meetup.com/fife-activity-and-social/.
I really want to say a big thank you to everyone for viewing this site and following the blog. I hope you are finding the route information interesting and that it is inspiring you to get out there and walk. Don’t forget, I want to hear your feedback, even if it is just telling me about broken links. If I don’t know they are broken I can’t fix them !
A few plans for the future, apart from expanding the number of walks particularly in the east and north of Fife. Firstly, all new routes and existing ones retrospectively, will now have a short summary at the beginning, of the distance/ascent/starting area. Secondly, I really need to do something with the right hand side bar menu which is getting rather unwieldy. Unfortunately, a collapsible menu doesn’t seem to be an option.
A little bit about myself. I’ve been a hill walker for about 25 years now. However, in 2014 I was diagnosed with and (successfully) treated for cancer. At the end of treatment I was left run down, fatigued and weakened, a shadow of my former self. Walking became my road to recovery. Initially it was just along the street, extending the distance by a lamp post each day. Soon I was walking a couple of miles, then a bit further and then it was time to start on the hills again. At one point I walked 14 miles along the coastal path as part of Bob’s Walk to raise funds for the local Maggies Cancer Centre – at the time it was a great achievement for me though it nearly killed me!!!
I should also mention Bums Off Seats, the local health walk programme run by Fife Council which was extremely beneficial to me, so much so that I have now become a walk leader so that I can encourage others to walk their way to better health. As well as Bums off Seats, I’m also involved in WalkOn with Fife Cultural Trust and Move More with Fife Sports and Leisure Trust in conjunction with Macmillan.
I’ve been a member of the Ancrum Mountaineering Club for about 15 years. This last month I have developed a new website and facebook page for them in a bid to attract new members to the club. Don’t let the word “mountaineering” put you off. We are very much hill walkers rather than technical climbers. Recently I got involved with an organisation called Mountain Aid which is a registered charity set up to help injured hill goers and promote safety in the hills.
Anyway, enough about me, and back to the website. Hopefully it will continue to grow over the coming years. At the moment I make no money out of it and apart from time, it isn’t costing me anything as I use the free WordPress web hosting service. In the future it may start costing me if I want to use my own domain name.
Because I put a lot of time into researching, walking and writing the routes but get no financial recompense I do like to encourage users to credit Fife Walking as being their source of information if they are using it as the basis for organised/group walks. Sadly I have had at least one person that I know of who copied and pasted my text without crediting it to me (plagarism). Another well known commercial website has downloaded a couple of my routes from the excellent Viewranger site, walked them (yes they made their GPS track public) and then re-wrote them and published them themselves. A bit naughty of them as they will now be making commercial gain but with me having done the hard work.
I think it is probably worth mentioning that all routes (the Michael Bruce Way is an exception) are of my own creation. I don’t take routes from other websites or out of guide books and then re-write them up as my own. There are some routes I have been walking for years and these could be considered to be “standard routes”. Others are entirely of my own creation. I look at maps (lots of them and as many different ones as I can get access to) to work out where there might be a possible walking route. I then go out and walk it. Sometimes my proposed route isn’t possible and I need to come up with an alternative. A new route can take two or even three visits. I also like to research points of interest on the route and include links to websites for more information. I hope that this helps users get more out of their walks.
The Facebook page I mentioned earlier is a new venture. Primarily it is to promote this website to new users. I’m posting notifications of new walking routes to it along with sharing posts of general interest to the walking community in Fife.
So there we have it, a potted history of Fife Walking and probably my longest blog post to date.
Wednesday 15th March comments: Its been feeling like spring, its been looking like spring and today it WAS spring (well sort of) as our Puffins are BACK! A visit to the island today revealed a handful of summer plumage Puffins in the surrounding waters of the island and it’ll be a matter of days before huge numbers are seen.
The Isle of May supports the largest population of Puffins on the east coast of the UK (some 46,200 pairs) and the timing is spot on as birds are returning from wintering grounds, readying themselves for another season. Over the next few weeks more and more will arrive and eventually towards the end of the month they’ll touch land, then we’ll be back in business.
The Island opens its doors from 1st April and its a highly recommended visit especially if you are keen to see Puffins…
An interesting report has come out from Paths for All. the Kennel Club and the Forestry Commission where they have found that only 11% of doggy walkers who themselves are less active than government guidelines have visited their local urban woodlands with their dogs.
“Paths for All is a partnership of organisations committed to promoting walking for health and the development of multi-use path networks in Scotland.
Fife Walking has a variety of woodland walking routes ranging from 2.5 to 8 miles. Indeed the forest and woodland walks section is the most viewed section of the site. If you have a dog why not try out one of these routes for a healthier you and a healthier dog.
Just 3 weeks to go until Mountain Aid’s Skills for the Hills day.
This fantastic day out is set to be Scotland’s biggest gathering of outdoor enthusiasts. Catering for hill-walkers, climbers and mountain bikers there will be something for everyone from novice to years of experience.
With 30 plus exhibitors there will be equipment displays, demos and advice from major retailers including boot fitting, rucksack fitting, tents, camping equipment, walking poles/ice-axes, mountain bikes and clothing. Mountain rescue teams and Search and Rescue dogs (yes, some 4-legged team members will be there) will be in attendance along with modern rescue equipment. In contrast Mick Tighe’s Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection will also be there. Course and activity providers will be in attendance to offer information and advice on helping you improve your hill skills. Workstations on mountain weather and navigation will be on offer. Accommodation providers, Mountain Bothies Association and John Muir Trust are just a few of the other exhibitors who will be present.
If all that is not enough, then there will also be a full day’s programme of illustrated talks and presentations from Cameron McNeish, Heather Morning (Mountaineering Scotland), Stuart Johnston and others.
Time and place? The prestigious Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on the 25th March from 10am to 4.30pm. Entry fee just £2 per adult (£1 per child) which includes a copy of the printed programme and entry to the prize draw with quality prizes donated by the exhibitors.