Kinross lies on the western shore of
Loch Leven. Until 1975, Kinross was the county town of small Kinross-shire.
After that date it became part of Perth and Kinross District. So although
never part of historic Perthshire it is now administered as part of P&K
Loch Leven itself is an important angling
centre and is world famous for its unique Loch Leven trout. It is one of
Europe's most important wildfowl reserves.
There are seven islands, the largest
being St Serfs with it's ruined 9thC priory.
Castle Island and it's tower, Loch
Leven Castle, are best known for being the prison of Mary Queen of Scots
from 1567-8 after the Battle of Carberry. Mary escaped when young William
Douglas locked everyone else in the Great Hall and threw the keys of the
castle into Loch Leven. Those same keys were found 300 years later! There
has been a fortified builing on the island possibly from around 500AD when
the area was part of the Pictish Kingdom of Fortrieve. When the castle was
rebuilt in 1258, it was already ancient. Robert Bruce used the building as
a prison in the 1320s.
In 1726 General Wade improved what
had been little more than a rough track passing through Kinross into main
military road from Burntisland to Perth. A light coach service began in 1776
from Edinburgh to Perth via Kinross and from 1796, with further improvements
to the North Road, stage coaches began the journey. New bridges were built
in the early 18thC and by 1825 Kinross was served by one mail and four stage
coaches. As a coaching centre, the Green Hotel was built in 1829.
The 17thC Tolbooth was restored in
1771 by Robert Adam.
Though most of it's recent history,
Kinross has been a centre for wool and weaving. The railways arrived in 1858
and closed just over 100 years later. The main north-south M90 motorway bypasses