Fife Coast & Countryside Trust’s Gaelic and Wildlife Walks in Pittencrieff Park 26/08/2021
If you travel around Scotland you will sooner or later encounter either “unusual & unpronunicible” place names or outright sign posts in Gaelic. In Gaelic there is no word for landscape as Gaelic belief stipulates a certain “oneness” and the language describes places in great detail.
On Monday, 26 th of July 2021, Kirsty Strachan and Alexandra Hoadley from Fife Coast & Countryside Trust teamed up to offer a Gaelic and Wildlife Walk in Pittencrieff Park.
As a tourguide I am always on the look out for new stories and aspects of Scottish life or Scotland in general which I in turn can share with you my customers.
I attended alongside a lovely bunch of other people who came from as far as Edinburgh for the day.
Pittencrieff Park as we learnt on first instance mean the place (pit na/pitten) of the trees (crieff). The park itself in the days of a young Andrew Carnegie belonged to the owners of the manson house, who kept it locked. Once Carnegie made his fortune in America one of his first good deeds was to buy the park in 1903 and open it to the public. Over a hundred years later we can still enjoy it just like he had intended.
The walk lasted for two hours and took us leisurely around the park, stopping at trees and plants to learn about their benefits to nature, wildlife and humans and to hear the Gaelic related stories and/or traditions.
An old Hawthorn tree let to the story how they are usually planted in twilight places were human and fairies (sìthiche) could meet and interchange. Kirsty also pointed out that there is another one at Dumfernline Abbey which was said to be planted for William Wallace ‘s mother who passed away in Dumfernline. The ageing of that particular tree indicates that this is at least a possibility.
We came across this lovely little wild orchid.
We learned a lot about the various trees, the Gaelic tree alphabet, Gaelic stories and the park itself thanks to Alexandra’s and Kirsty’s fabulous story-telling skills.
We enjoyed the a the gorgeous park and a fabulous summer day and even came across the proper Scots Pine (check for double leaves) and the “wrong” national flower the thistle.