The Falkland Estate in Fife was once a country retreat for the Stuart kings and queens of Scotland; today it is a country retreat for anyone and makes for a pleasant few hours of walking.
Maspie Den, to the west of the village, holds the Yad Waterfall and, above it, the imposing Tyndall Bruce Monument which offers extensive views over Fife and beyond.
This walk takes you to both of these sights. It can be muddy underfoot and some of the ground is uneven so wear boots and take warm, waterproof clothing as you are climbing up a hill.
The first thing to note is the House of Falkland, the back of which you pass. It was once home to the influential Bruce family but is now a school. After this, a wooded path leads you to an unusual tunnel, which you go through. Don't be put off, it is very short and although it bends round you can see the light at the other end after only two or three steps inside. (If you really don't like it, a path skirts the tunnel to the right.)
You then enter the narrow confines of Maspie Den, walking up it to the Yad Waterfall. This is no Niagara but you can walk into a recess behind to look through the torrent which, obviously, is larger after heavy rain.
A field currently full of sheep and lambs then needs to be crossed – take care not to disturb them and if you have a dog with you, make sure it is on a lead.
The Tyndall Bruce Monument is then reached. It honours the fantastically named Onesipherous Tyndall Bruce who is credited with developing Falkland and the surrounding estate in the 19th century.
From it you can look across Fife's rolling farmland to the mountains of Angus (straight ahead) and Perthshire (to the right).
A track then leads down to country lanes and the end of a wonderful walk in a quiet, picturesque corner of Scotland.
Distance 3 miles
Height climbed 570ft
Time 2 to 3 hours
Map OS Landranger 59 and 58
Park Head west along Falkland's High Street and about 300 yards past a violin shop go right, following a sign for a cricket club. Once through a gateway you will find a car park immediately on the right.
IN SUMMARY Keep on along the drive that led to the car park. Ignore tracks going off to either side but just before a stone bridge with a football pitch on the other side go left, following a sign for Maspie Den carved into a boulder.
Again, ignore paths going off on either side and cross the Maspie Burn by a stone bridge. Keep the burn to your left and go through a short tunnel before passing a stone bridge on the left.
A few yards later ignore a stone sign for Maspie Den pointing left – fallen trees and a landslide mean you have to take a detour – and go straight on. Cross a track and follow a path on the other side, along the edge of the burn.
The path crosses a series of bridges as it goes up Maspie Den to reach Yad Waterfall. Go up some steps to the left of this and follow a path that loops round to the right. Go right at a fork, cross a footbridge and go up to a wider path where you go right.
Look out for a small bench on the right and, just after it, go left, up a short rough track which reaches a field gate. Walk left on the other side, along the edge of a field for a couple of hundred yards.
Cross the field and go over a stile next to a metal gate. Follow a muddy/grassy path through woodland and at a junction with a track go right. Drop down to another junction and go left and after bearing left go right, along a narrow path that leads through the trees to the Tyndall Bruce Monument.
Return to the track, go left and follow it all the way down to a farm. Beyond this the track turns into a country road. Follow this to a junction and go right to walk the last 500 yards to the car park.
REFRESH For a small village, Falkland is well served by a range of eateries. Otherwise, try the Pillars of Hercules organic farm shop and caf, about a mile or so north of Falkland along the A912 Strathmiglo road.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Falkland Palace, in the centre of the village, is a wonderful Renaissance building used by the Stuart monarchs. Tel: 0844 4932186 or see www.nts.org.uk