The final day of another three day walking trip and I was keen to make a very early start for today’s walk. I was up at 3:30 and after packing, making a cup of coffee and consuming a bowl of muesli I set off for East Wemyss. As this was a Sunday morning I had something like 4 hours before public transport started running, so during these 4 hours I could get something like 12 miles under my belt.
I parked in a free car park on the shore front in East Wemyss and set off. It was still very dark and I needed to use my head torch to follow the path. I could see the early morning glow in the east, but would need my head torch for a while yet. I immediately came upon a series of caves. I had never heard of these caves before, but on returning home and doing some online research I read that they were created 8000 – 5000 years ago by wave action. They were inhabited over 4000 years ago and have a high number of carvings inscribed on their walls. The earliest of these are thought to date to the Bronze Age, whilst the vast majority are connected with the Pictish period. It was much too dark to venture into the caves, but on my next visit I’ll try and remember to have a look around them. In my research I also found out the correct way to pronounce Wemyss – or should I say “Weemz”? The footpath rose up from the shoreline to a cliff top path where I passed the ruins of Macduff’s Castle.
By the time I reached the small town of Buckhaven I was able to switch my head torch off. This part of the northern of the Firth of Forth has many small villages and towns with a rich history of both fishing and coal-mining. The next 3 or 4 miles would be along the deserted residential streets of Methil and Leven. Because of the Fife Energy Park and the old docks it was difficult to gain access to the shore.
After crossing over the River Leven into Leven itself I was able to join the promenade which ran for some distance along the huge swinging shoreline of Largo Bay. I soon left Leven and the large industrial areas behind me. I passed through the small town/village of Lower Largo, famous for being the home of Alexander Selkirk, the original Robinson Crusoe from Defoe’s classic novel. His 1885 statue adorns the side of a house on the site of his original birthplace in the village.
Ahead I could see the distinctive hill of Kingcraig Hill, which I was aiming for. Unfortunately I had forgotten about the Elie Chain walk, which is situated just to the west of Elie itself. I had made a mental note to have a go at the Chain walk some time ago – school boy error or just old age? I crossed the golf links into Earlsferry which adjoined the village of Elie. I followed the route of an old railway line and passed by the old ruins of the 14th Century Ardross Castle. As I approached the small village of St. Monans I passed the much better preserved 13th century Newark Castle and nearby dovecote.
The next village I would come to was Pittenweem, infamous for its witch trials and the lynching of Janet Cornford. At this point i realised I was running short of time to catch my bus back to Leven and East Wemyss, so I took to the main road and continued at a fast pace onto Anstruther.
From the lack of narrative in this report you can see that I rushed this section, although it did not appear so at the time. Fife is certainly a very interesting place to visit and possesses a great coastal path to walk along, plus lots of interesting history. Only 5 more days of walking in Scotland.
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 = 19 miles
Total distance =6,177 miles