Culross To Falkirk
ROUTE LENGTH: 19 MILES
From Culross Abbey go north to join the A985. Turn left for the Kincardine bridge which you cross on the A876. At the first junction turn right on to the A905 for Airth. As you come out of Airth turn left on the B9124. You will pass turns to Carnock House and Castleton on your right. This area was Kearnach, where Mungo found Fergus. You may wish to park your car in Cowie and walk here.
Continue on the B9124, turning right on to the A9 north of Plean. Drive to Falkirk. Go into the town centre, to Meeks Road car park. This is a short walk from ‘Falkirk Old and St Modan’s Parish Church’.
Leave Culross on NCN 76 westwards. Cross the Kincardine Bridge, and then join NCN 76 again. Follow this to Cowie. Before reaching Cowie you pass a turn to Carnock House, and you go past Castleton and its tower. This area was Kearnach, where Mungo found Fergus.
Return on NCN 76, or use the B9124 initially, until after crossing the M9 and the M876 you leave NCN 76, going straight ahead for Stenhousemuir and on in to Falkirk to arrive at ‘Falkirk Old and St Modan’s Parish Church’.
Whilst on Iona, enjoy a walk to both northern and southern points of the island.
By Public Transport
Walkers can follow the cycle path from Culross to Kincardine, half of which is off-road.
From Cowie a walk of 5 miles will take you through old Kearnach.
To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.
Mungo is a pet name given to the young boy whom St Serf fostered at his monastery at Culross. Serf was apostle to the Hillfoots, and over the Ochils to Dunning. He gave refuge to Mungo’s mother when she was washed up on the beach and birthed her child beside a fire the monks had built there.
But this baby’s real name was Kentigern. His mother was a British princess, his father a royal prince of Strathclyde. His grandfather was the last pre-Christian ruler of Lothian while his grandmother was reputed to be a niece of the great King Arthur himself. Thenew, the single mother who is also known as Tennoch or Enoch, had been cast adrift on the Forth estuary, but landed on the Isle of May and caught the tide upriver.
Visit Culross Abbey above the town and imagine a growing boy whose grace overcame all his classmates’ jealousy, even restoring to life Serf’s pet robin whom they had carelessly killed. Serf thought Mungo would be his successor and was heartbroken when the young man crossed the Forth at Kincardine in response to his own missionary calling. Near present day Cowie at Kearnach or Carnock, Mungo tended a holy man named Fergus, and in obedience to his dying wish, set him on a cart drawn by two bulls, who headed west.
The route of Mungo’s journey was close to the Antonine Wall which commences at Boness and Falkirk. Near the mouth of the Carron, the Helix Kelpies with their dramatic rearing heads are like the horses of Manaan god of the sea. Following the Falkirk Wheel and the Forth-Clyde Canal locks, you mark the wall’s route. To visit the town of Falkirk itself you divert south.
The birth and childhood of Kentigern are in themselves a romance tale. Up against it, when hope and will were all that remained to win through, Thenew and then Mungo himself showed true faith and courage. In the moment of crisis there is also opportunity. Sometimes the most important decisions are instinctive:
Up against it,
When hope, love, will,
Are all that’s left
To win through;
May we come ashore
Where freshwater springs
Assuage our salt thirst
May we find the courage
To put out once more
Into the currents,
Trusting in the kindness
Of strangers who may
Host angels unawares.