Aug 18, 2020
Cobbled Lanes and Mottled Walls
Nestled under the Lomond Hills is the Fife village of Falkland. To those who know it, the village holds a beloved place in their hearts, and for those who don’t know it, it is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Some of you may experience a sense of familiarity as you drive through as it was used as one of the many filming locations for the popular historical drama, Outlander. But after the cameras stopped rolling this charming village went back to doing exactly what it does best, quietly listening to the footsteps of visitors meandering through its winding lanes. It’s easy to lose your way around this village. The houses are rarely numbered, instead they are named after people and places long forgotten which they wear like badges, proudly stating their history and heritage.
Window boxes line the narrow streets with vibrant colours of pelargoniums and begonias, whilst roses scramble over ancient, mottled exteriors, Falkland is the first conservation village of Scotland and it is easy to see why it holds such an esteemed status. Pic: Sharps Close Falkland.
In the heart of the village proudly stands Falkland Palace. The original castle which was erected sometime after 1160 now sits within the grounds of the palace which was built as a hunting lodge to accommodate royal parties who came up for sport and outdoor pursuits. Perhaps its most notable visitor was Mary Queen of Scots who we are told was a keen hunter. The palace is now owned and run by the National Trust for Scotland but is currently closed due to the recent Covid pandemic, but the gardens are open and are at their best this time of year.
The Physic Garden lies around a stone courtyard within the palace walls and is alive with the sounds and movements of nature. When the clouds gather over, which they invariably do due to the surrounding hills, a murder of crows will undoubtedly circle and squawk above your head in a foreboding chorus. But then after a while the clouds will continue on their journey and the sun will find its way through and once again, you’ll hear the buzzing of the bees in the lavender. Pic: The Physic Garden Falkland Palace.
Surrounding the village is the Falkland estate itself. Stretching out to 1900 hectares it offers a series of interlocking walks from both the Victorian and the Edwardian periods. Ranging from easy to moderate, they each have something unique to offer, whether it’s walking through the ancient woods to Mapsie Den or simply strolling past fields of swaying grasses that lead the eye up into the encompassing hills that are constantly changing with the light. Once you have explored the estate you can head back into the village and browse among the small shops. Falkland, like most of Scotland is waking after the slumber of lockdown and is throwing open its doors to welcome visitors once again. There are a range of cafes offering both sit in and takeaway options as well as two public houses; The Stag Inn and The Bruce Inn. The former overlooks a quaint village green and is hoping to provide outdoor seating where you will be able to sit under a canopy of rustling trees and watch summer seamlessly fade into autumn.
Pics: Walks and Scenery Through Falkland
Of course, no day out would be complete without a trinket to bring home with you and Falkland has something for everyone, from curios and old violins to vintage clothing. Vintage Quine on the High Street pays homage to days long since passed. A purveyor of vintage clothing and accessories it is an Aladdin’s cave for the curious. A little further down the road you’ll find Fayre Earth, a gift shop for those who appreciate local crafts and conscientiously sourced gifts. Lovingly placed on the doorstep is a water bowl for any passing dog because dogs are as welcome by the shop holders of Falkland as much as the people.
Then as you work your way back towards the palace, your eye will doubtlessly be caught by the ever changing window display of home and interiors shop Love Restored. In this wee shop quirky and enchanting collide offering you everything from lovingly displayed trinkets to bold pieces of painted furniture. This is one of those rare shops that whisper in your ear as you peruse its displays, convincing you that whilst the plant pot and lamp you have chosen would look lovely in your hallway, you would most definitely need the lovingly hand painted table to put them on too!
Pic: Love Restored, High Street, Falkland