Happy New Year Fife


Red Arrows fly past over the Old Course at St Andrews

2017 is the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. As a Fife Ambassador I encourage you to explore the rich and diverse history and heritage of the Kingdom of Fife. You do not need to go far to discover something interesting. Go to the welcome to Fife website and take part in an exciting competition. http://www.welcometofife.com/highlight/year-of-history-heritage–archaeology-competition

So come on Fifers and visitors…explore!!!!



Bunnet Stane (Bonnet Stone) – Near Gateside


I have been out and about again exploring the Kingdom of Fife. A wee gem of a place to visit is Bonnet Stane, or Bonnet Stone. Near the base of the north facing escarpment of the West Lomond Hill in the Lomond Hills Regional Park and above the village of Gateside sits a most interesting weathered rock outcrop.

This interesting mushroom/men’s cap shaped rock is a wind sculpted feature made of “calciferous” sandstone. This feature is 6m long, 3m wide and 1m thick. At the base of this outcrop on the west side is a small cave known as the “Maiden Bower”. Folklore tells of a love affair of a local girl and the son of a rival family, who met at the cave. The girl’s father’s men killed the man and the girl lived as a hermit in the cave. However it is most likely an early 19th century bothy lived in by a shepherd. The inside walls show signs of where shelves and partitions would have been and remains of a metal fire sit in one corner.


It is an easy uphill walk, up farm tracks and grass fields to the stane. Well worth a visit. Fife is rich geologically. There are many interesting geological features to be seen in the Kingdom. I will be sharing some of them with you.


Exploring the Kingdom of Fife

WM neil_st_monans

With winter almost over and Spring on the way. What better time than to start exploring the Kingdom of Fife. I am a Fifer born and bred and fortunate to live in my ancestors’ home town, St Andrews. My maritime career spanning decades has taken me all over the world, but home  to me is St Andrews and Fife. There is plenty to discover and do in Fife and I never stop learning interesting facts and stories of the unique and diverse history of the Kingdom and of its people. As a Fife Ambassador I am going share with you through this blog my explorations, discoveries, stories and facts of the Kingdom.



WM Neil_culross_palace_feb_2016_upload

As a Fife Ambassador I would like to share some of the many interesting places that make up the wonderful Kingdom of Fife. I am standing outside Culross Palace, a late late 16th – early 17th century merchant’s house. Owned  by Sir George Bruce, a successful merchant who sucessfully traded with the Low Countries and the Baltic countries. He had interests in the local coal mining and salt production industries, and is credited with sinking the world’s first coal mine to extend under the sea.

Many of the materials used in the construction of the palace were obtained during the course of Bruce’s foreign trade such as Baltic pine, Dutch red pantiles, floor tiles and glass.

Culross is well worth a visit. Stunning buildings, architecture, and the 13th century abbey, something interesting around every corner. Culross is recently famous for being the set of some of the scenes from the popular American-British television drama series Outlander, based on the historical time travel series of novels by Diana Gabaldon.

It was cold and raining when I visited Culross but that did not deter me at the end of my wanderings and exploration a well deserved, long and lazy lunch in the Biscuit Café. Great menu and well worth a visit.