The Fife coast

Crail Harbour, in Fife, with lobster creels stacked alongside

Just as I was beginning to think about as a concept, I noticed a new edition of a book on the Fife Coastal Path, written by the legendary Hamish Brown. I was immediately transported in mind to the path I have known for more than sixty years, in days of sparkling sunshine, gunmetal-grey clouds, and (this is Fife, after all) the all-enveloping see-nothing haar.

The Fife Coastal Path has good transport connections along its length, so is a prime Green Walk. The only area where there is a dearth of public transport is in the north, between Wormit and Newburgh, but if that is too far for your day, two days based in Cupar, with buses to Wormit and from Newburgh, may be attained with a taxi link from and to Brunton (Hamish’s solution). The original route stopped at the Tay Bridge, thus avoiding the taxi question, but the route has now been extended to the Fife boundary.

I shall readily admit that I have not walked every metre of the path since my first faltering steps along the headland overlooking Crail harbour, probably in 1957 or 1958, but I look forward to remedying that soon. In 1986, a friend and I tackled that northern section as part of a proposed Tay-Tyne Trek from St Andrews to Hexham: heavy snow (it was in March) meant that the walk had to be curtailed at Hawick — so we just renamed it the Tay-Teviot Trek (thus keeping the alliteration).

And if the cliffs and sands, the seabirds and St Andrews, the harbours and the occasional hill are not enough to tempt you onto the path, there are world-ranking chip shops and ice-cream parlours to bring you further joy. Welcome to the coast of Fife, that “beggar’s mantle, fringed with gold” (James VI and I).

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