Friday 28 June 2024

Scotland By Rail - Scotland's brand new line! - Leven - coastal explorations and Silverburn Park

"The £116million Levenmouth Rail Link, which was funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by Network Rail and ScotRail, reconnects Leven and Cameron Bridge to Scotland’s railway network for the first time in more than half a century."

It is so exciting to have a whole new area opened up to me and my outdoor art practice - thank you ScotRail, Network Rail, Scottish Government!

This post covers just one of lots of different walks possible from Scotland's two brand new stations.

Here I am, a very very happy customer alighting at Leven station on Scotland's newest - ie !!brand new!! - stretch of railway line. 

Leo at Leven

A sketching exploring nature day with fellow Burntisland artist illustrator Alice Melvin Illustration.
Follow Alice on Instagram for lots of out and about sketches and descriptions. Look for her beautiful newest book in all good bookshops -

A circular walk:
- from river mouth along wide wide sands, litter picking as we went. Alice is an absolute champion litter picker; 
- wildflower filled dunes;
- woodland, walled garden, pond and cafe at Silverburn Park;
-lushly bordered path above golf course, whitethroats singing scratchily, yellowhammer shouting out 'little bit of bread and no cheeese'... so people say;
- back through town and along High Street to the station.

Sketch spots:
- Where river met sea we watched sand martins and swallows and sketched gulls and cormorants and mallards.

- As we lunched in the dunes we sketched sand and sea and sky and coastal vegetation.

- In Silverburn walled garden we sketched old estate gate and green green green. Great tits, blue tits, coal tits, robins, house sparrows, jackdaws, a greenfinch, a yellowhammer all delighting in an odd ferris wheel bird feeder and back and fore on the ground just feet in front of us. We watched a bedraggled great tit pair feeding high-pitched cheeping chicks in their nest in a gap in a dry-stone wall.

The walk in photos:

The River Leven runs alongside much of the new stretch of line. Here looking over the fence at the station the river is already tidal and in its final metres before flowing into the sea.

Our first sketch subject was ducks and gulls and seabirds, where river became sea.

Stunning Fife beaches. See the Bass Rock and North Berwick Law far across the Forth

And turning to look upriver to the west, the wind turbines at Buckhaven.

Huge sweep of sands between Leven and Lundin Links Largo - and continuing far beyond.
Largo Law is the hill.
So many L's.

Up onto the dune path, Lundin Links and Largo Law in the distance.
About to turn 180 degrees and start heading back towards Silverburn Park. 

Second sketch spot. Our subject was dune and sand and sea and sky.

A wonderful carpet of thyme. Two Garden bumblebees enjoying it as much as we were.

old concrete anti-tank defences, found on beaches and dunes up much of Scotland's east coast 

Having just crossed the golf course - don't worry, a well used, safe, official path across.
Allotments at the entrance to Silverburn Park.

sheds and water butts 💚

In the walled garden.

There's a cafe 

With our cafe takeaway we sat and drew.
Sketch spot number 3.

This pond wants to be sketched.

Back to Leven along beautiful lush path. Yellowhammers and whitethroats serenading us along.

golf course and Largo Law

Back in Leven, beautiful Fife coastal homes

We followed this path and gradually wound our way to the High Street and the station

Home time.


Leven links: (Levenmouth Rail Campaign)


The two new stations, Leven and Cameron Bridge, enjoy an hourly service to/from Edinburgh via Kirkcaldy.

Check before your journey at -


Thank you for reading my Scotland By Rail blog. Spread the word and let me know about your own favourite railway days out.

Leo du Feu
ScotRail Community Rail Champion
June 2024

#ScotlandByRail #CommunityRailChampion on facebook, instagram, twitter

Thursday 1 February 2024

Scotland By Rail - Caldercruix - Hillend Reservoir

A full there and back railway day from Burntisland to Glasgow via Edinburgh, Bathgate and Caldercruix. 

I had to be in both Bathgate and Glasgow and hoped I had an hour or two of spare time in between. I wanted to explore somewhere new to me so studied the Ordance Survey, looking at every station stop between Bathgate and Glasgow. There are a lot! I especially look for nearby green spaces. Caldercruix sat on the National Cycle Network, Route 75 and was just to the west of an enticing large area of water - Hillend Reservoir.

I started in Burntisland as usual. Warm low cloud colours reflected on damp mossy wall as I looked down on the roof of my studio at Burntisland railway station. My studio is open by appointment - just get in touch - and on various Open Studio days. Looking across the docks, across the Forth, to Arthurs Seat and Edinburgh visible on the horizon.

I looked for seals on the rocks between Burntisland and Aberdour. A well known sight to those who use this railway line often. Today there were none but I spied a lovely little huddle of redshanks standing tight against the wind and rain. I jotted down what I could remember of them in my sketchbook.

Bathgate. View from the station bridge:

Back on the train, I love the view along this moorland stretch, National Cycle Network Route 75 running alongside. There must be a lot of wildlife to spot out there, I hope to return with my bike. 

A kestrel was flying over the moor, it's the almost invisible speck in this photo:

Cyclepath & footpath runs alongside. So tempting.

Hillend Reservoir, east end. From the train I saw cormorant, goosander, great crested grebe. My Bathgate appointment had run late so I had only an hour ahead of me for my Caldercruix walk. I wished I had three.

In Caldercruix

Walk east along Station Road to pass the Village Inn then the village shop. Cross the B825 to this fence decorated by Caldercruix Community Council. Countryside starts here!

Lovely Sustrans Route 75 sign. These signs bring back so many memories from so many family childhood walks.

Now just explore! The reservoir is close. 

I decided to take note of all wildlife I saw and heard while there and to record it afterwards on the British Trust for Ornithology BirdTrack app afterwards - citizen science contributing to conservation knowledge and policy. And it's fun!

North Calder Water:

Approaching the reservoir:

Very impressive after so much rain.

Reaching the reservoir, unfortunately only ten spare minutes:

I got out my binoculars, scanned all round, spotted a white blob - a dipper's chest! I got my stuff out and made this speedy watercolour:

Then a fast walk back to station, wishing I had time to stop and paint this beautiful tree group too:

And to cycle to some of these places:


The day finished with a late afternoon - early evening few hours in Glasgow. Delivering a couple of newly finished paintings to a gallery and enjoying half an hour with my book in a cosy bookshop.

Glasgow Queen Street station, then home: 


Caldercruix is very easy to reach on the Bathgate line between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Trains are frequent although not all stop at Caldercruix. 

Check before your journey at

Thank you for reading my Scotland By Rail blog. Spread the word and let me know about your own favourite railway days out.

Leo du Feu
ScotRail Community Rail Champion
January 2024

#ScotlandByRail on facebook, instagram, twitter

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Postcards from the Line - Linlithgow - 21st Oct to 19th Nov 2023

(sorry for such horrible varied font sizes etc, I can't work out how to make the glitches go away)

October! It must be time for Postcards from The Line

Postcards from the Line is an annual exhibition at the Line Gallery in Linlithgow - my lovely hometown gallery and the first gallery to ever exhibit my work, at least 20 years ago.

There are usually well more than 200 artworks, all sized A5 or under, all unframed, huge variety of media, 2D and 3D, all £100 or under***. It is a really really exciting exhibition. I delivered my ten this week and was allowed a sneak preview as the big sorting began:

The exhibition begins with an opening celebration this Saturday 21st October at 2pm. 

Then runs until 4pm on Sunday 19th November at:

The Line Gallery
238 High Street, Linlithgow, EH49 7EF

Opening Hours:
Thurs - Sat 10 - 5
Sun 1 - 4

If you're interested in buying any of my ten works please contact Gail and Elisabet at the Line by emailing or phoning +44 (0)1506 670 268.

They are all based on places I have been, things I have seen. Nearly all painted out in situ. Here they are:

Loch Arklet, watercolour, 15x21cm, £55

Longhaven cliffs, ink, 15x21cm, £55

Montecassino, watercolour, 15x21cm, £75

Scurdie Ness lighthouseink, 21x15cm, £50

cormorant isleacrylic, 15x21cm, £100

Old Wardour Castle, watercolour, 15x21cm, £75

woodland rainink, 15x21cm, £85

the early morning mist, Rosemount, acrylic, 15x21cm, £100

drumming snipe, watercolour, 15x21cm, £85

Bass Rock & Tantallon Castlewatercolour, 15x21cm, £95

If you're interested in buying any of my ten works please contact Gail and Elisabet at the Line by emailing or phoning +44 (0)1506 670 268.