I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time either in or travelling through Dunfermline. It is a town I like a lot, which is just as well, really, far more than I do than Cumbernauld, say, or Glenrothes. The first time I ever went there was when I was at primary school. I was in a special needs class and near the end of term, we went on a series of Magical Mystery Tours, where the destination was a complete surprise to us. The trip to Dunfermline was less of a mystery, though, because we were in Waverley Station the previous week and the teacher nipped into the Ticket Office to buy the tickets. My abiding memory is of being in Pittencrieff Park with my classmates and sitting on the grass looking down towards the Forth Bridges. I think it was cloudy. Other visits as a kid were mainly to see Hibs play football, which I will be doing again in about a month from now.
The last time I was there specifically, not passing through, was in August. It was a nice, fairly warm day and I sat for a while under a tree in the park looking up into the canopy. I also went to one of my favourite historic places in the country, Dunfermline Abbey Nave, which was built by the same people who designed Durham Cathedral, one of my favourite places on the planet. The Abbey Nave, managed by Historic Environment Scotland, is remarkably like Durham Cathedral, right down to the chevrons on the pillars and the convex ceiling in the aisles. It is a beautiful place, usually very still and full of architectural details that usually mean I spend ages walking up and down looking up at them. The Abbey is where Robert the Bruce is buried (minus his heart) and it is a fine church. The Palace across the way isn’t so bad either with fine views across Pittencrieff Park. But the Nave is always a must whenever I’m in Dunfermline, usually once a year or so when the urge takes me to stop rather than pass by.
Living in Glasgow means I approach Dunfermline from the west now, across the Kincardine Bridge upriver from the Forth Bridge I would have crossed before from Dunbar. I posted some photos recently on Tumblr of Culross, which is a few miles west of Dunfermline and was very fine indeed, while also nearby is Alloa Tower, which I haven’t been to but may try to before Hibs play at East End Park on 22nd October. Or not so far away up the M90 is Lochleven Castle, a place I’ve been to a couple of times, which sits, naturally enough, in the centre of Loch Leven near Kinross, reached by a ferry. At the other side of the motorway is Aberdour Castle, a cracking castle near the Forth which has, amongst other things, a painted ceiling (always a plus in my book) plus the church nearby is nice too. So, my trip to watch Hibs will be accompanied by something else but I’m not quite sure what yet. It could just be a trip to the Abbey Nave but we’ll see. The Glasgow bus stops right across the road from East End Park so the homeward bit is straightforward, just what I’ll get up to before my day could be spoiled by the football.