Tuesday 16 June 2015
Kirkcaldy to St Monans
I was up early to catch a bus to Leuchars and train to Kirkcaldy, where I promptly bought a coffee to set me on my way. Not much to note about Kirkcaldy, although there were a few plaques dotted about as a reminder that it was here that Robert Nairn designed and manufactured linoleum floor tiles. Not the most exciting claim to fame. I headed through Ravenscraig Park and into Dysart, an old coal mining town with a small harbour once owned by a rich man who built a big wall around his property to keep the peasants out. Nice.
The path goes through the tunnel he created in the rock for a rail line to reach the harbour.
The next stretch involved a few ups and downs as the path alternated between shore and woodland with sandstone cliffs starting to appear. West Wemyss is a pretty town purpose built for workers on the Wemyss Estate. It has some lovely art work on the sandstone cliff.
I walked along the shore, beneath Wemyss Castle, past Coaltown of Wemyss and into East Wemyss. This was also once a mining community and is the site of several caves containing artwork from our distant ancestors. The cave I looked in had lots of danger signs, brick columns propping it up, was full of rubbish and sporting some artwork that looked a lot more recent than the information board had suggested!
I reached Buckhaven and immediately walked past a bakery; I felt compelled to try its fare. I can highly recommend Stuart’s Bakery, which is purportedly the world champion scotch pie maker and UK sausage champion! I ate neither, but their rhubarb pie is amazing, so good I had to go back for an apple tart as well.
Feeling refreshed I headed through the town to Leven and Largo Bay. I had a choice of walking on the beach or the footpath through the dunes by the side of the golf course (the first of many for the next 3 days). I always assumed that a links golf course was just a course by the sea, but I have learned that “links” refers to the type of soil and terrain (coastal sand dunes) that is particularly suited to golf. Well I never.
Lower Largo is a pretty little town whose cottages reminded me of Robin Hood’s Bay, which is probably why lots of the windows had holiday home signs in them. The walking was fairly easy as Fife council has mostly done a good job signposting the Fife Coastal Path. The views across the Forth were through a haar (mist) so the hills around Edinburgh were a mixture of blues and greys.
I arrived at Earlsferry and this was the first town of the area known as East Neuk of Fife that stretches around the corner of Fife to St Andrews. I found these towns to be quite picturesque and quiet; lovely places to live I thought. Earlsferry in particular had some rather large houses backing into the beach and the sea at Chapel Ness looked very inviting for a swim on a muggy day. But there were other people about and I didn’t have my swimming costume with me so I resisted the temptation to strip off and dive in.
I walked through Earlsferry, Elie and on to St Monans, where I caught 2 buses back to Ruth’s house.