June 2, 2012
Staying at Crichton House B&B lived up to what we had read on TripAdvisor. Our room was comfortable, the bathroom was large, and the breakfast was fantastic. It was so nice to have a large bowl of fresh fruit salad to start with.
Today was our scheduled trip to the Isle of May. Departure time was not until 10:45 am, so we washed out a few clothes and then walked the short distance into the village. We stopped at the ticket office and paid for the trip, then wandered around the narrow streets and footpaths of the town before heading back to the harbour.
The outbound trip to the island was a bit rough and consequently a couple of people were sick. Most of us enjoyed the trip, though. The journey took about an hour and along the way we saw some puffins and also some gannets, which were picking up seaweed to repair their nests. Arriving at the island, we disembarked and then had a short talk by the resident ranger about the island and also the rules we needed to abide by. After this we walked as a group through the dive-bombing Arctic terns who had decided to nest in the boat dock area.
The day was a bit cold and breezy, but otherwise very nice. And as the day passed, the skies changed from grey to blue. We walked along one of the trails leading past the old stables, which looked like a small castle, and then up a path beside a man-made loch. Along the way we saw nesting puffins (hundreds of them!) and nesting Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Eider ducks were also there, some with young chicks and others still sitting on nests. One of the female eiders had made her nest right on the edge of a pathway which had stone walls on either side. Definitely a sheltered spot, but also vulnerable with unsuspecting tourists walking very close by.
Our time spent on the island went by quickly and soon we were on the boat heading back to Anstruther. This time we chose to sit on the upper deck of the boat, and as a result we had great views of the cliffs as we motored by slowly, looking at the various birds. Besides the puffins there were also guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, and shags. And there were grey seals swimming at the base of the cliffs.
Once back in port we caught a bus up the coast to Crail, where we looked at the local pottery shop before wandering around the village. Our plan was to have dinner in Crail and then walk along the Fife Coastal Path back to Anstruther. Crail didn’t really have much choice in eating places, but we did find one, the East Neuk Hotel, which looked reasonable. And both of our dinners were reasonably good.
The trail back to Anstruther took us along the shore, so we had a very pleasant evening amble. The tide was out so we got to see the rock formations, but nothing much in the way of bird life or sea life. After we arrived back in Anstruther we stopped for ice cream before returning to the B&B.