Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, offers walkers a manageable 117-mile route along the entire length of its coast from Edinburgh in the south, to Dundee in the north. The walk takes visitors from the shores of the Firth of Forth and its spectacular bridges to the banks of the River Tay, the longest river in Scotland.
Since time was at a premium this trip, we decided to complete a short stretch of the path between Crail, close to St Andrews, and Anstruther, a 12th-century fishing village on the north shore of the Firth of Forth.
We parked at the harbour in Anstruther and caught a bus to Crail. The bus stop is located conveniently, immediately outside the Scottish Fisheries Museum. Waiting for our bus, we chatted to a lady from Edinburgh who was travelling the East Neuk coast for the day using public transport… amazing for retired people, the free public transport system provides a neverending source of interesting and entertaining trips.
The St Andrews bus runs along the coastal road from Anstruther every hour, with a stop at the top of the harbour road in Crail. Saying our goodbyes, we disembarked and headed down towards the harbour.
Crail dates back to the 800s and was made a royal burgh by Robert the Bruce in 1310. It has several buildings of interest dating back centuries, and connections to the Netherlands through the tollbooth building in the centre of town, that are worth looking at if you have the time.
The 17th-century harbour was previously overlooked by a castle, the remains of which boast a Victorian turret built on the garden wall. It really is one of the prettiest harbours in the area and is a popular tourist attraction in the summer season. We were fortunate to visit on a clear winter’s day and so pretty much had the place to ourselves.
The well-signposted coastal path took us up out of the harbour and south, right along the shoreline. There are some ruined cottages along the route that previously housed an old salt work, but for most of the route, the path crosses open pastureland with the odd grazing cow.
Caiplie Caves are also found about halfway along this path and were previously the site of early Christian worshipers. in more recent times, they have been used to house livestock.
The path eventually arrives in Cellardyke, with its 16th-century harbour and narrow, winding streets lined with fisherman’s cottages.
Cellardyke adjoins Anstruther on its northern side and a short walk further took us down to Anstruther harbour and our much-anticipated lunch of fish and chips (see previous post: Best ever fish and chips?).
The walk took us a little more than an hour. The terrain was easy walking and suitable for most ages. Walking shoes and a light jacket are recommended.