The line of abandoned buildings lay on the other side of a field of stubble. Access to the buildings was an easy matter of wading through nettles, brambles and overgrowth and hopping through an open window.
So compared to the high octane exploits of bona fide urban explorers perilously racing gaps between trains to climb the Forth Bridge this was ruins exploration more like a Sunday afternoon post-roast lunch snooze. Frankly though, this is my level and I know my limits.
Even so, climbing and jumping about piles of building materials and piles of concrete blocks creates the fleet-foot adrenaline of being in a place you shouldn’t be. The senses are sharpened and every noise crisply finger snaps the silence. A noise, building from a low murmur into a howling rattling crescendo, turns out to be a train rushing past only metres away yet unseen behind bushes, its violent velocity eventually settles back into an uneasy truce of silence. There are the shouts and voices of nearby workers suggesting that this abandoned zone edges into one of working activity, and a turn round the corner could be a blunder into an awkward conversation and the escort of shame. As always, creeping around is accompanied by the obligatory musical crackling of heavy boots walking over broken glass.
Stilled caution is necessary. This place, its collapsed floors and empty sheds, could well be the repository for local dark secrets that will be guarded by silent eyes and hidden signals alerting to intrusion. Fragmented mosaics of paint peeling and dropping like curled leaves to the floor. Objects disassociated from normal meaning pose slightly sinister questions. Why is a baby walker abandoned amongst a carpet of broken glass in a disused railway building? Why was a red chair left so carefully aligned to the symmetry of a chamber’s internal walls? Dumped car tyres and shafts of light, wild plants slowly colonise interiors, Wild blackberries emerge out of mounds and piles of rubble and brickwork. They look luscious but probably best to avoid fruit with roots deeply immersed in rotting industrial soil.
The ramshackled buildings are anonymous shells at first, but gradually reveal their nature of railway-related workshops and offices with wooden partitions still intact, upturned furniture and smashed toilets.
The windows frame the Fife countryside. I exited one and walked over the fields, onwards to hidden churches and enigmatic priory ruins.