(Approximately 3.5 miles.)
We begin our walk in the little car park at the Pineapple. This is quite small so doubling up car arrangements might make good sense.
From the car park we make our way to the walled garden and to the spot near the pond where we have an excellent view of the structure from the south. The magnificent pineapple is an extremely realistic representation in stone of the fruit and was erected by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore in the second half of the 18th century. He acquired the lands of Elphinstone in 1754 and the name Dunmore was transferred from his family estates in Perthshire. Some time after this the walled garden was constructed and in 1761 the Italian style portico on which the pineapple now sits was added. There is considerable dispute as to who designed the folly, who built it, and exactly when. Some argue that it was created at the same time as the portico and others that it was added after the Earl returned from a spell in America as Governor of New York and Virginia, around 1777. Pineapples were certainly grown here and the sustained heat required for the process was obtained by cavity wall heating, organic heat from tanners bark and manure and through south facing, sloping glass panels which were still there in photographs from the early 20th century. By the 1950s the whole area was much neglected but was restored by the Landmark Trust for the NTS in the early 1970s. The Pineapple can be rented as a holiday home.
Leaving the Pineapple we pass out of the walled garden (we may be able to take a swift look at the other side if the holiday renters are not about!) and follow the path which leads us towards the ruined Elphinstone Tower. On the left of the pathway is Dunmore Hill or Airth Beg (Little Airth) as it used to be called. The tower is now in a very poor condition. It was formerly the castle of the Elphinstones, built around 1500 but was not used as a home by the Dunmores. When they built Dunmore Park in 1822 the old tower was adapted into a family Mausoleum with a graveyard adjoining. In 1845 the family built St Andrews Episcopal Church next to the tower. The church was demolished just a few years ago and the bodies of the Murrays were moved after a number of cases of vandalism. The tower has been allowed to decay.
We make our way back to the path which leads us parallel to the main road beyond which we can see across the River Forth to Clackmannan Church and Tower which are very prominent. On our left is the large house known as the Parsonage, presumably built for the episcopal vicar of St Andrews by the family. We can also see several circles of trees deliberately planted to provide cover for game and sport for the toffs, including the future King Edward VII, who spent a good deal of their time here and helped to bankrupt the Murrays!
At the end of the path we turn left towards the estate and will be able to see the ruins of the fabulous Dunmore Park mansion. Unfortunately the ground conditions are such that we will only manage to see it from afar. This building was designed by William Wilkins and is on the same lines as Dalmeny House. It was built in 1822 but by 1911 had been sold by the departing Dunmores. It was a family home and briefly a girls’ school before it was effectively abandoned in the 1960s. Many of the buildings to the rear of the main block were demolished in the 1970s for safety reasons and so far all the visionary plans for restoration have come to nothing. The farm buildings are also very attractive with the familiar castle-like square crenellated towers.
We now make our way down towards the main road and cross (with great care) to the road leading to Dunmore Home Farm. This takes us to a path parallel to the River which leads eventually to the village of Dunmore. Formerly known as Elphinstone Pans the village was redesigned from the 1840s on by the Dunmore family as a kind of model ‘English’ village with its central green. The school building near the main road and the old smithy close to the river are the best known buildings and the well with its poetic inscription is worth a look.
After taking a look at the old harbour we will make our way back across the road and retrace our steps along the path that leads back to the Pineapple.
Ian Scott 2005