Last weekend we walked from Kinross to Falkland.
Kinross is on the shore of Loch Leven (not the sea-loch of the same name on the west coast), which is drained by the River Leven (which flows into the Firth of Forth) and is overlooked by the Lomond Hills.
Just north of Glasgow, the rather more famous Loch Lomond is drained by the River Leven (which flows into the Firth of Clyde) and is overlooked by Ben Lomond.
Now to complicate matters further, my Scottish place-name book suggests that Loch Lomond may have once been Loch Leven (it is documented as Loch Levin in 1535), and that there is some unknown connection between the names Lomond and Leven. It suggests that, most likely, the names were simply confused; Lomond may derive from the British word for “beacon hill”, or possibly from the Gaelic word leamhain for “elm”, which is also thought to be the origin of the river names.
Falkland lies on the slopes of the Lomond Hills in Fife, and is the site of Falkland Palace, a royal palace associated with the Stuarts, especially Mary Queen of Scots, who liked to hunt there. I visited the palace for the first time earlier this month with my sister. There are many portraits of Stuarts there, including Charles I, who prorogued Parliament and lost his head for his pains. His son James VII (or James II, if you are from south of the border) also prorogued Parliament, and was merely exiled, and the throne given to his daughter Mary and her husband. So clearly our treatment of such people is becoming milder: we don’t even lock them up now. When I remarked about Charles to my sister, she suggested enthusiastically that we should get out the block in Whitehall and sharpen the axe. I am not sure I would go quite so far …