Thursday, April 01, 2010

West Lomond Fife

The Lomond Hills (meaning beacon hills) lie in the centre of Fife, Scotland. At 522m West Lomond is the highest point in the county of Fife. Yesterday, this is how it looked. Fortunately we have escaped extreme snow conditions in north fife in this long long winter.

The Lomond Hills contain two prominent peaks, West Lomond and East Lomond (or Falkland Hill) (448 m), which lie at either end of an escarpment roughly 6.5 km in length. The escarpment, made from beds of sandstone, limestone and quartz-dolerite, rises gradually from the south to a plateau of around 350 m in height between the peaks of East and West Lomond. To the north and west, this plateau terminates in steep and, in places, cliffy scarp slopes. From its western end, the escarpment continues southwards beyond the deep valley of the Glen Burn (Glen Vale) to Bishop Hill (461 m). The steep-sided peaks of East and West Lomond themselves are volcanic in origin. Along the edges of the sandstone bed at the foot of the scarp slopes are several strangely eroded outcrops, the most famous of which are the Bunnet Stane and John Knox's Pulpit, so named because it is believed to be a spot where covenanters held conventicles in the 17th century. There are also strange outcrops in the columnar jointing at the edge of the dolerite sill on Bishop Hill, most notably Carlin Maggie.
The Lomond Hills have a rich and varied history. From the Iron Age are the remains of several hill forts, which can be found around the summits of both East and West Lomond as well as at Maiden Castle, a grassy knoll that lies between the two.
In more recent history, the Lomond Hills were mined for limestone, ore and lead, although there are no longer any working quarries there today. On the southwest slopes of East Lomond are the well preserved remains of a limekiln and quarry (in which the fossilised remains of prehistoric sea creatures can be found). Much favoured venue for hill walkers.

No comments: