The Ladybank Route is one of five recreational routes in the north east
of Fife. Mainly flat with a gentle climb through a pleasant wooded glen.
Starting from the train station in Ladybank, (though there are other equally suitable places to start from), turn right and follow the railway line northwards out of town, turn left signposted "main route," follow this road into Beech Road and all the way to the junction of the A92. Use the shared use footpath and when safe cross the road - note the National Speed limit applies at this point on the A92 so be wary of fast traffic.
Continue on the other side along the avenue of beech trees to the five way cross roads in Charlottetown, cross straight over and continue through the forest. A short while later, you come to what, on first impression looks like a T-junction, when in fact a farm road off to the left only makes it look like one, follow the road around to the right and continue around the forest. Shortly after leaving the forest the road starts to climb, at the top the route goes off to the left, onto the old A91. Go through the gate or over the style onto the old road.
A barrier of straw bales across the road has to be negotiated. The old road ends at a gate and style. This time the gate is padlocked so there is no alternative to lifting your bike over the style. On the far side of the private road to Rossie House is the last section of the old road, marked with a bicycle symbol, continue along the old road then cross the A91 very carefully.
Use the shared-use footpath on the far side, continue past the bus shelter then join the side road to the left.
The road starts to climb gently through a pleasant wooded glen, a curiosity can be seen on the left. Shortly after passing Rossie Farm and its mill pond, the field opens out to the left, at the roadside is a small square stone inscribed "March Corner" with a corner marking on the top of the stone. (March is another word for a land boundary, perhaps this was the result to an old boundary dispute or the last vestige of common land in the area.) An Ordinance Survey benchmark symbol is also on the base of the stone.
Carry on up the hill then down past Lumquhat Farm to the cross roads at Pitcairlie Toll. Turn left onto the B936, at this point you also join the Kingdom Cycle Route and National Cycle Route No. 1, follow the road down the glen into Auchtermuchty.
A cycle information point is on the left, outside the very aptly named Cycle Tavern, continue onto the crossroads.
Auchtermuchty was used as the location for the latest dramatisation of A.J. Cronins' Dr.Finlays Casebook, though do not hold it against the town.
At the cross roads, cross the A91 very carefully, (you may wish to consider the pedestrian crossing to the right).
Without doubt `muchtys' greatest son was the late Sir Jimmy Shand who died on the 23rd December 2000, aged 92. Has grave can be seen in the cemetery to the left as you leave the town. Look for a large black headstone towards the eastern boundary of the cemetery.
Back on the road, as you cross the old railway bridge, look back at the Sterling Warehouse, buried within the modern structure is the old Auchtermuchty station, complete with clock.
The Kingdom Cycle Route goes off to the right, shortly after the railway bridge, continue along the road into Dunshalt and follow the road around to the right, following the link route, which connects the Kingdom to the North Sea Cycle Route. The road at the far end of the village sports two cycle lanes a very generous gesture, (though it would have been better appreciated on the stretch of the A912 from Strathmiglo towards Falkland).
Follow the road all the way to a T-junction outside Falkland. Straight ahead is Falkland Palace, which started out as a hunting lodge for the Stuart Kings and Queens. Within the place grounds is the oldest tennis court in the world, not bad for a country that is totally rotten at tennis!
Turn left and follow the cycle lane into Falkland. I do not have space to describe this town properly, a town so steeped in history that you need waders to walk around the place! If you wish to see the town, turn first right. One thing that struck me was the lack of any cycle information point, presumably it did not fit with the conservation status of the town, though if King Jimmy the Sixth (also known as King James the VI and James I of Great Britain and Ireland) rode a bicycle there would have been no problem with a set of Sheffield Bars outside the palace!
Continue through the town and turn left just after the primary school onto the B936 heading for Freuchie.
One curiosity can be seen on the walls of the Lomond Hotel in Freuchie. A round enamel sign for the National Cycling Unions' official quarters, harks back to the halcyon (and troubled) days of cycling before the foundation of the British Cycling Federation.
Continue past the hotel, and cycle information point, turn left at the Y-junction and continue to the junction with the A92, as ever cross carefully (its only a 40 mph limit), follow the road past the garden centre, up to and under the railway bridge.
Turn left into Rumdewan Road and follow this road past the primary school to a T-junction. The most notable thing to have come out of Kingskettle is the "Singing Kettle." The children's entertainment group have a shop in the village. (If you are interested, turn left after the school and follow the road around to the right, passing the shop. At the T-junction turn left - almost straight on.) Otherwise, turn left and continue along this road all the way into Ladybank, passing under the railway bridge and turning right at the T-junction will bring you back to the starting point at the station.