Our lil’ town of St Andrews is located on a walking path called the Fife Coastal Path. It connects a series of small fishing villages along the coastline, and the bits we had explored our first couple months here were gorgeous, so we have had a plan to conquer more than just the few miles out of town we’ve done. After waiting weeks for the weather and our schedules to cooperate, we finally found a free, sunny day to undertake our task! (This was about five or six weeks ago, but like every other electronic update…I’m late.)
Elie to St. Monans
We decided to do the portion of the trail from Elie to Crail since everyone raved about how beautiful this section was (and it was!). It was about an 11-mile walk, so we started at sunrise, took a bus down to Elie, and walked to the harbor and out to the lighthouse. We quickly came upon the “Lady’s Tower” which was the bathing house of Lady Jane Anstruther. I totally want a private entrance to bathe in the sea!!! (Only, make it in the Caribbean or something.) We also passed some small ruins of Ardross Castle.
A short while after these, are the ruins of Newark Castle right on the cliff. It is still a bit mind-blowing to be walking along the coast and see castles that are hundreds of years old, even if they are in ruins.
St Monans to Pittenweem
When you first enter St Monans (Grammar Nerd Alert: For some reason they don’t put punctuation in these town names–St Monans, St Andrews, etc. Apparently because the names are older than the rule?!), you pass one of the oldest churches still in use today, and it is literally on the water. The groundsman was there and let us in, and he showed us some of the old ship decorations.
The town of St Monans is super cute–it even has a Wellie Garden!!! I mean, really, have you ever seen a more adorable garden?!
St Monans also has a beautiful harbor, an old windmill that was used for the salt flats, and a giant sea-bath area. There are actually quite a few of these around Fife, but the one here seems the most preserved. I have no idea if the water gets at all warm in the summer, but I am hoping so because I am determined to camp in one of the old salt flats near the sea/bath/pool sometime (They say you can basically camp anywhere you want.). You actually pass another of these baths before coming into the town with my favorite name…Pittenweem!
Pittenweem to Anstruther
Not only is the name Pittenweem the most fun thing ever, but the town is known around the region for having an amazing chocolate shop called The Cocoa Tree. We decided to be healthy and eat chocolate for lunch. Please note the statistic in the book, and the fact that we literally licked our plates clean (I was more discreet about it; Isaac, on the other hand, was laughed at by some tourists.).
Pittenweem is actually translated as “Place of the Caves” because there are lots of caves, including a famous one in which a medieval monk, St Filian, lived. We also took a picture of the house Captain James Cook once lived in, because that’s what tourists do.
And then, more walking along fields and the coast until our next town, Anstruther.
Anstruther to Crail
We had been to Anstruther before, so I didn’t really take many pictures. There’s a golf course on the coast, a fishing museum, a ferry that takes people out to a nature preserve (puffin rookerie!) on the Isle of May in warmer months, and the “Best Fish and Chips in Scotland”. They are delicious, and if you come visit we will take you there. :)
After the town, we had our longest straight stretch of the trail to walk. We passed little pig hotels (not sure the exact name, but to me they look like a pig commune place), farm and wild animals, and the Caiplie Caves where pilgrims to St Andrews left their engravings on the cavern walls.
We finally arrived in Crail, which is another quaint fishing village. Isaac’s advisor lives there, so you will see more pictures of it soon from our Christmas brunch. We had planned on eating lunch/dinner there after our long walk, but I had to go work and the bus schedule was off (surprise, surprise), so we ended up sitting at a cold bus stop for forty minutes or something. Not the best ending to the day, but overall the whole experience was beautiful.
Well, you are probably as tired of reading this as I am of writing it, so farewell for now. I hope you enjoyed our fun Scottish walking tour adventure!