Anstruther and Fife Coastal Path

June 3, 2012

After our excellent breakfast at Crichton House, we packed our bags and walked down to the car park across from the Scottish Fisheries Museum. We had arranged to meet Paul’s cousin Alison and her husband Ken here. They arrived at about 10:30 am, and we loaded our large packs into the trunk of the car and all got in.

Our original plan had been to leave the car in the car park where we were waiting, but it was closed today for some charity event. So we drove up the hill a little bit and parked in a free car park. The next part of the plan was to walk along the Fife Coastal Path towards Leven, and then when we decided we had had enough or it was getting late, we would catch the bus back to Anstruther.

The morning had started with blue sky but clouds were coming in, making the temperature cool down. We followed the path through the streets and lanes of Anstruther, past our B&B, and headed towards the water. From here we followed the coastline through a series of small villages. The first village we came to was Pittenweem. As we entered the village Ken was telling us that one of his cousins had a weekend place in Pittenweem, but he didn’t know where it was. We rounded a corner and to his surprise he saw his cousin’s partner standing outside the front door of one of the houses on the sea-front where we were walking!

The little house, one of several in a row, fronted onto the coastal path and looked out into a small bay. By now the sun was back out, and the temperature was much warmer. Ken’s cousin Alan invited us to stay for a cup of tea and some cakes while sitting outside enjoying the view. This was a very pleasant way to spend some time.

The next part of the walk took us around similar small bays, past old ruins, and on to St. Monans. The church here was built on a headland and had a beautiful view. Here the coastal path split into the regular path and a high-tide alternate route. We looked at the regular path; it was a narrow path over a rock with the water almost lapping over it, so we went that way rather than the alternate route. By now it was getting later in the afternoon, so we decided to carry on only to Elie and then catch the bus back. We knew when the buses ran, but this being a Sunday, they only ran once an hour.

When we came to a sign saying it was 1 mile to Elie, we realized that we would not make it there in time to catch the next bus, even if it was late. But there was a path leading up the hill there, so we all decided we would follow the path up to the road and try to flag the bus down as it passed.

Up at the road, we found a parking area, which made it a safe place for the bus to stop. So we waited for a while, and when the bus arrived we all waved at it. The driver did stop, grumbling that it wasn’t an official stop. However we climbed aboard and the ticket machine was happy to take our money, and before long we were back in Anstruther.

First order of business was to visit the public toilets at the harbour – here we had to buy an “admission” ticket for 30p! And not only that, we bought it from an employee and not from a machine! Once done there we headed across the street to have an ice cream before driving back to Edinburgh. Alison and Ken dropped us off outside the Edinburgh Central youth hostel, and we agreed to meet at 7:15 pm to go out for dinner.

As we had some time before then, we headed out for a brief walking tour of Edinburgh. Our hostel was centrally located, as its name said, so getting to Princes Street was easy. We walked along that, looking at the various buildings and monuments, and then went over the Royal Mile and walked back down that. We stopped in a couple of shops, but nothing appealed to us. Before heading back to the hostel we made a quick trip over Calton Hill to see the views.

Meeting up with Ken and Alison, we headed back up past the Royal Mile to a restaurant on Victoria Street named Howie’s. The food here was very good and the atmosphere was nice, so dinner made for a nice end to our day. Ken and Alison headed home, but before they left Alison mentioned that she would be meeting her brother Jonathan tomorrow at the café in the National Museum. He was another cousin who Paul had never met, so we agreed to meet them there. By now it was after 10 pm, so it was time for bed. We hadn’t been in a large city for about three weeks, so the night was a lot noisier than we had become accustomed to.

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