Around Pitlessie

The Cults & Pitlessie Lime Works Railway

Cults Hill, south of Pitlessie, was a major scene of limestone quarrying.  In 1876 a private railway was constructed to connect the quarries with the main line through the Howe of Fife west of Springfield Station.  A  short branch line ran westwards to the maltings at Pitlessie.  The most prominent surviving feature of the line, which closed in 1947, is the remote and inaccessible viaduct that carried the rails over the River Eden.

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As the line climbed up to the Limeworks, it swung round across the Cults Burn on a horseshoe curve beneath the restored steading at Waltonhill.

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Cults Parish Church

The Church of Scotland parish, of which Pitlessie is the main constituent, is called Cults. The church building is situated one mile east of Pitlessie and several hundred yards south of the main road (A 914).

The father of the famous Scottish artist David Wilkie (1785 – 1841) was Minister at Cults.

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The former Manse, where Wilkie’s childhood was spent, is situated on the left of this view.

 

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Pitlessie Curling Pond

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Many communities throughout Scotland had their own curling ponds.  Some are now completely lost; others survive in varying states of disrepair; others, again, could spring into life given a sustained spell of freezing weather – a relatively rare occurrence these days.

 

 

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The Pitlessie pond is situated north of the River Eden, and difficult to visit because it is completely surrounded by cultivated farmland. There is a locked stone shed beside the pond, and by squeezing my camera through a hole in the wall, I was able to see that the interior contains tables and chairs.  I can only assume that there will be the occasional bonspiel when the pond is frozen over.

 

Bodging Workshop

Workshop in Cults Hill 2One day, wandering in a strip of woodland near the top of Cults Hill, south of Pitlessie, I stumbled upon this curious structure – an open-sided workshop with a solidly-built wood and turf roof, containing a wood-working bench.  There were no evidences of its having been in use in recent times, and what on earth its purpose was, hidden away in a location so remote and inaccessible, was a mystery to me.

Workshop on Cults Hill 3I subsequently found out that this will have been a bodging workshop, bodging being an ancient craft that turned shaped furniture legs out of green wood. This relic of a bygone age will only have survived relatively intact because it is tucked away in a place that few people will ever visit.