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7.  Loch Leven Ale Trail  —  by Graeme Duguid

Loch Leven is a very attractive area and has a remarkable history.  It has a very interesting Heritage Trail which you could include as part of this ale trail.  Kinross is a hub for bus transport so is very easy to get to from most areas in Tayside.  There is a bus (No. 201) that can be used to cover this trail but it is a bit sparse and the last bus is around 18:00 hrs during the week.  Buses run later on Friday and Saturday (around 22:00 hrs)  but there are no buses on a Sunday.   However, there is a special Sunday Circular (No. 203) which covers all of the watering holes.  A Sunday Stroller ticket can be purchased for £1.50 for unlimited use of this circular route.  If you are going to take the bus round this trail it will require some careful planning. 

Depending on your chosen mode of transport, you may wish to visit the Ale Houses in a different order but they are all worth a visit.  I will start off at the South end of Kinross and then travel in a clockwise direction.  The first port of call is the Kirklands Hotel in the High Street.  The hotel was refurbished in November 2007 and this original coaching inn has been styled to give the interior a contemporary and modern feel. One handpull serves ever-changing Inveralmond ales.

Head North up the Muirs (B 996) and after a short distance will come across the Green Hotel on your left hand side.  This upmarket hotel set in pleasant grounds in the centre of the town has one handpull in the luxurious bar. Prices can be higher than in other outlets in the area. (If you are not having a meal, you may at certain times be asked to leave the bar area.)

Continuing north for a short distance, on the right hand side of the road is the Muirs Inn.  This is a traditional country inn with low ceilings, much wood in the bar décor and a warm atmosphere.  Real ales (2 handpulls) and malt whiskies (over 100) are a trademark. There is a good-sized restaurant area and a nice open air seating area in front of the bar. 

Our next stop is in Milnathort , just over a mile up the road which turns into the A922.  There is a foot-path all the way and it’s an easy walk.  Once into town, you will come to a roundabout.  Cross over the roundabout and make your way up Wester Loan which goes up the hill past the Town Hall.  A short distance along the road, on your right, you will find the Village Inn.  This friendly local is at the heart of the village. It has a semi-open-plan interior, with a comfortable lounge area at one end with low ceilings, exposed joists and stone walls. A log fire in the bar area adds to the relaxing atmosphere, and the games room at the rear has a pool table. This pub is family owned and the real ale is taken seriously.

Make your way back to the roundabout and turn left along the A911 heading East, cross to the right hand side of the road and turn down Burleigh Road (A911) signposted to Scotlandwell.  Continue down the A911 for about 3 miles, past the Burleigh Castle Steading and the Loch Leven Larder, until you come to the Balgedie Toll Tavern at the junction with the B919.  This is a welcoming and comfortable country tavern dating from 1534 which, like many others built at the time in Scotland, was situated at a road toll where travellers had to break their journey to pay tolls before travelling on. Now much extended, the oldest part of the building (the toll house) is at the southern end. It has three seating areas plus a small bar with low ceilings, oak beams, horse brasses, wooden settles and works of art by a local painter. A good selection of meals and bar snacks is available. It has two handpulls usually serving Harviestoun and Inveralmond beers. Continue on the A911 for just over a mile and you will come to Kinnesswood and the Lomond Country Inn on the right hand side of the road.   It has stunning views over Loch Leven and the Lomond Hills and has an extensive decked area with its own bar.  Unfortunately thes days it does not sell real ale.

The Lomond Country Inn, Kinnesswood

Turn right and head down the A911 a short distance and you will come to the village of Scotlandwell.  On the left hand side of the road you will see the Well Inn, a pleasant family-run village pub situated at the east end of the village. The pub sells an ever-changing range of beers from two handpulls including Inveralmond ales. The Well offers en suite accommodation, or in chalets, and food is served all day. It has a heart-warming open fire in the winter months.