Thursday, May 26, 2022

Fife Pilgrim Way


Markinch St Drostan’s

Parish of Markinch and Thornton

CHURCH AND TOWER OPEN

10.30am or earlier to 4.30pm daily

Guides to show you around

Toilets in Session House opposite church door

Should you find it closed and wish to go inside or be given a tour (or to book in advance) contact any of the following who can be with you in 5 minutes:

Bruce 07795 901366

Douglas 0778 810 3534

Ken 07740 416831

From Leslie to Markinch

Leaving Leslie, the path crosses the River Leven and continues through an attractive wooded area, keeping by the river. After the path drops down to an underpass under the main road (A911), look right just before a play area where you may reflectively walk the Labyrinth, here created by St Columba’s Parish Church at the heart of Glenrothes, and based on the 12th century example in Chartres Cathedral. (https://www.st-columbas.com). Other features of interest in this section include the 4,000 year old Balfarg Henge amidst the new housing just before crossing the A92, the Stone Circle in Balbirnie Park and the ancient Stob Cross as you leave the Park.

In Balbirnie Park, turn left at the golf shop, continue past the club house, then turn right to follow the smaller river. Exiting the Park, turn right towards the church, noting the Markinch Gateway board on your right as you go up. (The turn can easily be missed.)

St Drostan’s Church, with its early 12th century tower, is open daily in season with guides on hand [for times see above]. Although the current building was remodelled several times through the centuries, clues to its former appearance remain, while its 12th century tower remains intact. St Drostan was a follower of St Columba, who was active in Aberdeenshire, where the Macduffs of Markinch would have had land holdings. It is believed that at one time, the old church may well have housed a relic associated with the saint.

The churchyard is also one of the stops on the ‘Footsteps of Kings’ trail, where children may download an app enabling them to fire virtual arrows towards the Bow Butts below. Don’t miss some of the hundreds of masons’ marks in the tower, or the cross from the Pilgrim Way logo, which can be seen in the church balcony following recent excavations of the 12th century arch.

Nearby is the former seat of justice, at Northhall, which gives Markinch its title as the ‘ancient capital of Fife’. In town, there are cafés, stores, hotels, a chemist, and an information board about the district. The route then continues to Ceres via Brunton Road, at the foot of Glass Street at the right-angled bend into the High Street.