I had based myself in the market town of Cupar which is situated roughly in the central part of Fife, this made it quite easy to drive to and from each walk.
This morning I felt like the “Elephant Man” with two rather swollen bumps on my face from the yesterday’s Cleg bites in the Tentsmuir Forest. I set off early from my B&B in Cupar to drive the 16 miles to Anstruther. Here I parked up and walked down to the harbour where I caught the 7:06 # 99 bus to St. Andrews. I decided to sit on the top deck at the front which gave some brilliant views of the coastline. At St. Andrews Bus Station I had a short wait before catching the #42 bus for the short distance to Guardbridge.
It was a gorgeous sunny morning when I set off from Guardbridge. I quickly made my way back into St. Andrews. I could have cut across 3 golf courses to make a b-line for St Andrews beach, but decided against it as the courses where very busy. I did pay a great deal of attention to the 17th & 18th holes of the Old Course as I had seen them countless times on the TV, but seeing them in the flesh was much better. I used to be a keen golf player up to 1998, I even got my handicap down to 12, but for a number of personal reasons I packed the game in. I slowly moved on past the Castle and Cathedral. By the time I reached the outskirts of St. Andrews I had taken up a great deal of time and I still had a long way to go.
I followed the Fife Coastal Path, for most of the way, but opted to walk across sandy beaches where the path allowed access down to the beach. With the tide well out I could this easily do this. I had fantastic views to the north with the Angus and Aberdeenshire coastline visible almost to Stonehaven. I came across Buddo Rock , an amazing old sea stack situated on a raised beach and displaying fantasic weathered shapes in its Old Red Sandstone. At Boarhills, for some reason, The Fife Coast Path cut inland. This was due to Kenly Water, which I later discovered could could be crossed quite easily on the beach at low tide. The inland detour was still amazing though because I got to do the riverside walk alongside Kenly Water as it made its way through the gorge that it created down to the sea.
The walking got easier once I was back on the coastline. The appearance of a refreshment shack at the car park near Kingsbarns was a welcome relief. I bought 2 cold drinks and a hot dog at rip-off prices, the hot dog was appalling, but I ate it because I nothing else to eat. About 2 miles down the coast I a bit of a breather and carried on for about 15 minutes only to realise I’d left camera on a rock almost half a mile away. I really didn’t need the running back to retrieve it, as my legs were already beginning to tire.
With my camera now safely back in hand I reached the most easterly point on Fife – Fife Ness. The panoramic view that greeted me to the south was simply amazing and brought home to me how close I getting to completing the Scottish section of my walk around Great Britain’s’ coastline. To the immediate south I could see the Isle of May and could also see the Berwickshire coastline stretching all the way down to St. Abbs Head. To the South West I could also make out across the Firth of Forth the Bass Rock and to the right of that I could see North Berwick Law.
I limped in to the small fishing village of Crail, similar to some of the Cornish fishing villages that I had passed through some years ago. Crail was very busy, but for me it was now tough going. I knew I only had about 3 more miles to go before I reached Anstruther. The sting in the tail was two-fold, the first sting was the sun had disappeared behind the clouds about an hour ago and a small sharp shower arrived which drenched me. The second sting was that on reaching the outskirts of Cellardyke, Anstruther was still a kilometre away.
Overall, this was a fantastic days walk, but it had taken a lot out of me again, as I been on the go for another 8 hours. I hope tomorrows walk is not that long again!
NB: I also publish all my Scottish Blog entries on the excellent Scottish Hills website, I use the same narrative, but larger photos and a few extra ones. They can be found here:
Distance today = 23 miles
Total distance =6,158 miles