up on Ceres muir one can see a whole range of hills on the North side of Cupar, and I aim to walk round them or up them, depending on accessibility, eventually.

so starting on the most easterly hill, last Sunday I reconnoitred Craiglug, Craigfoodie Hill and their surroundings, parking on the edge of Dairsie. this is opposite Kemback woods and Blebo Craig, which I walk around regularly.

I had planned a different walk, but consulting another dog owner, it seemed that my route might be blocked by a field of cattle and other difficulties. I hadn’t been keen on this five mile plus circuit, as it takes in a main road, but it seemed to be the best way to check these hills out. there is a direct route up to Craiglug, which looks the most crag-like, but it doesn’t lead anywhere else.

a stony farm track leads up

with views of Craiglug’s cliffs and gorse scrub.

and other smaller hills, Wester Craigfoodie, with plenty of little silver birch patches full of willow warblers. and larks singing above the open fields. this side of the walk we were sheltered from the east wind.

over to the west more hills swell up

this one would have been part of my initially thought-of walk

the summit of every hill in Fife is wooded, probably with an abandoned quarry for the stone that has weathered out on the tops, resisting the grind of the ice sheets dumping fertile clays and till between them.

after Fingask farm, turning North, past a gully full of scrub and a willow warbler and a cottage or two

eventually round to the east

all easy walking on tarmac with just a little traffic

primroses and a big house, Craigsanquhar, now a hotel

Craigfoodie hill looks a long way away, the wide-angle effect of the phone camera

at the top of the road (only about 150 m above sea-level) immense views of the North Sea, the whole of Tentsmuir forest and Kinshaldy beach, and the low cloud further out between us and Denmark.

Craigfoodie hill (foodie being an anglicised form of the Gaelic fòid or fòd (OG fót) ‘peat, sod, divot’, presumably refers to an area one of whose chief resources was peat).

a long downhill to the A914 at Muirhead

with a line of lovely roadside trees, mostly beech

and more cherry blossom. the main road is not too bad, there being a footpath, and soon you are off it down tracks past Pitormie, which has an almost invisible castle, screened by trees, and below Easter Craigfoodie back to Dairsie (pronounced with a z sound)

to the car, parked opposite the village primary school. now I have an electric car I go for very short trips clear of any guilt – about it being bad to do a short trip because the engine doesn’t warm up – or about driving anyway.

meanwhile in the studio things evolve. this is how last week’s painting ended up.

and now I have a roll of primed canvas, which I can roughly stretch with the staple gun, onto my wall, and roll up ready to be stretched onto a frame of stretcher bars at some later point, when the painting is done. it’s 180 cm, about 6 feet wide, so this time I worked on the two halves as separate paintings

after the Craigfoodie walk the left hand one became this

and then this …. as I had a bit of a spring greens bonanza …. Walking Around Cairnlug/ Three Hills …

and after walking around Cairngreen with an A4 sketchpad of heavy cartridge paper and drawing in it with compressed charcoal

the righthand, greener painting became this –

Walking Around Cairngreen/ Four Larch Trees. the larches are extremely bright with their new needles at the moment.

allowing me to play with these beautiful greens.

However, I think I have to think carefully about the edges of these paintings, which will be lost on being folded around the edges of the stretchers. it really works for me that there is a pale edge framing these two, that the darker, thicker paint is abutting in a painterly, messy way. I shall have to be organised and leave a deeper margin.