Escape the Bubble: Loch Leven

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a fourth year in St Andrews, in possession of a car, must be in want of an adventure. Sadly, the minimal class hours of an arts student does not correlate to the vast expanse of free time one might hope for.

The night was a Sunday and my mood was despairing, as I surveyed, with a grimace, my agenda for the week. Ever growing to do lists, the bank appointment I had been avoiding, last week’s class readings, the Spin class that I really did not want to go to, a laundry reminder (written twice in red so it could not be ignored any longer) …and that was just Monday. The sheer quantity of ink, made me feel blue indeed.

But Friday gleamed bright beautiful and empty. I grabbed a marker and wrote ‘Adventure’ in large letters.

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When one is in the mood to explore, you need three types of people: a local, to tell you where to go; an enthusiast, who will see beauty in anything from a brick wall to a field of weeds; and a driver, to get you from a-z. Loch Leven was the chosen destination and after an early morning run for a Morrisons picnic we headed on our way. Assisted, of course, by my friendly Australian Satnav.

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Loch Leven is most well known for its connection with Mary Queen of Scots. A castle, built dating back to the 1300s, sits on an island in the middle of the Loch. Queen Mary visited the castle in 1565, and was later imprisoned there. She escaped in the disguise of a servant and entered exile in England. The castle was ruined in the 1700s, but is still open to the public. It can by reached by boat for small fee of £5.50.img_4522-copy

Park by the café and start your visit with tea and cake. The interior is very pretty, with coastal themed décor. There is also a deck looking out on to the water, so if you are prepared to brave the elements, this scenic option is recommended. A warm beverage with keep your mind off the drizzle! img_4625-copy

On leaving the café, begin your loch-side walk by turning to your left. The trail leads you mostly through woodlands, but frequent cut outs in the foliage will give you glimpses of the water. Venture off the beaten track to go down to the water’s edge, and sit on the benches alongside the sandy shore.

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St. Andrews’ beach walks, coastal paths and Ladebraes woods are wonderful for a wander. But if you fancy new horizons and something a little different to Fife’s familiar treasures, then head to the banks of Loch Leven for a peaceful sabbatical from the the same old scenes.

Images courtesy of Alex Shaw Photography.

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