A traffic-free path around a loch with views of hills and the opportunity to take a boat trip to a castle on an island. Surely, the perfect day out?
The Loch Leven Heritage Trail is a 13 mile path around the loch. It is a gravel surface and mostly flat, so nice and easy for a quick and scenic day out on the bike.
There is plenty to see and do, including Lochleven castle which is located on an island in the loch. There are many places to stop for a cheeky coffee and cake. Or you could pack a picnic as there are plenty of benches to stop and taken in the view with your sandwich.
I came here from Edinburgh using train and bicycle, easily done on a day trip. I took the train to Lochgelly, which is about 45 minutes from Edinburgh. From Lochgelly I cycled the B920 then the B9097 to join the Heritage Trail at Findatie.
The cycle on the B-roads took 15 to 20 minutes, but the traffic was sometimes heavy so this was the least pleasant aspect of this trip. The roads are mostly wide so there is plenty of space for the vehicles to overtake, but I would only recommend this to people who are confident cycling on roads. There is also not much to see on these roads as they pass built-up residential areas.
Most of the Loch Leven Heritage Trail is away from the actual loch, but it is always nearby and is sometimes right down by the shore. The path goes through forests, crosses bridges and traverses fields.
At regular intervals there are helpful maps that show your position and what there is to see and do nearby. I picked up my own copy of the map from the cafe at Loch Leven Lodges.
The highlight of my journey was taking the ten minute boat trip out to the island to explore Lochleven Castle.
Lochleven Castle is famous for being the prison of Mary Queen of Scots in 1567-8. I went up and down the spiral stairs of the tower and peered up into the chimneys of the massive fireplaces. I walked around the tiny island and found some small forest trails with wildflowers.
There are many other things to see around the loch that I did not have time for. There is the RSPB visitor centre which has information about all of the interesting bird life that thrives around Loch Leven. There are standing stones and Burleigh Castle a short distance away from the trail.
Yes, I would say that it was the perfect day out on the bike, particularly if the sun comes out.