The fishing villages of the East Neuk of Fife have always been a favourite of mine in terms of places to visit, for a chippy tea at the famous Anstruther Fish Bar, to walk a section of the coastal path or to attend a festival, such as the Pittenweem Arts Festival. I’ve even spent the night there once or twice, but this week I stayed for 4 glorious nights, half way between Elie and St Monans, at the newly opened Catchpenny Safari Lodges. After a busy few weeks it was exactly what I needed, the opportunity to relax and forget about my hectic life for a few days. We were lucky enough to experience 4 of the hottest days of the year so far too so it was pretty fantastic.
Catchpenny Safari Lodges are luxury tents right on the edge of the Fife coastal path with awe inspiring views over the Firth of Forth. From the decking outside our tent we had clear views of the Bass Rock, the Isle of May, Berwick Law and Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. We fell asleep to the sounds of the waves lapping on the shore below and watched lobster and prawn boats collecting their catch in the morning. We lit the fire pit at night and toasted marshmallows and spent mornings on the beach with Crusoe. We ate giant meringues and fresh strawberries from Ardross Farm Shop, watched the beautiful pastel purples and pinks transform the sky at sunrise and read books by the light of our lanterns. It was a much needed and appreciated break.
When I say these tents are luxurious I’m not exaggerating. When the sun is out and there is no wind you could actually forget you are in a tent at all and when the wind picked up we huddled inside with the wood burner roaring and blankets wrapped around us and played cards and drank tea.
I love the close proximity to the surrounding villages too. St Monans is a mere 2 minute drive and Elie is the same, in the other direction. From the site you can see Lady Tower in Elie to the right and the romantic ruins of Newark Castle to your left but the site itself feels secluded and peaceful. The village of Pittenweem is just a little further along past St Monans.
Each tents sleeps 6 people. There is one double room, one twin room and a wooden cabin bed, which separates the living space and the twin room, which also has a double bed. The cabin bed is a beautiful feature and Taylor loved being able to close the doors over and get away from me for a while. The living space has a large three seater couch, some quirky chairs and a huge chunky wooden dining table which could easily sit 8 people. There are pretty lamps and plants and a huge rug to keep your feet cosy. The kitchen has a two burner gas hob, a fridge and all the cutlery and crockery you’ll need. The huge log burner has an oven on the side and a cooking slab on the top, giving you loads of option when it comes to cooking. The bedrooms have amazing quality linen, feather pillows and big fat duvets, along with a tonne of blankets which came in super handy when we were sitting outside in the evening. I loved the bathroom, which is an addition at the back of the tent. The big double rain shower was fantastic. The tents are spacious and well designed. There are six large windows in the living space and several other in the bedrooms, these roll up to let in the light and if you are lucky enough to have a beautiful day the entire front of the tent can be lifted to open up the space even more.
Catchpenny is entirely off grid, producing all the energy from solar panels and individual wind turbines. There aren’t any three pin sockets so you can’t use hair dryers etc but there are lots of USB sockets to charge your phones and tablets. All the cleaning products are environmentally friendly too so you can have relaxing holiday guilt free. Owners Alex has really taken care to ensure the accommodation is as green as possible and I applaud him for that. It’s good to see businesses stepping up their game. Owner Alex also divulged some exciting plans for the future and I can’t wait to see them materialise.
During our 4 days at Catchpenny we spent a lot of time relaxing but we also managed to squeeze in some fun too. We spotted a pod of dolphins one morning, frolicking and jumping in the waves. The people in the neighbouring tents were also out with their binoculars watching and it was quite a moment. We also drove to Pittenweem for a fish supper, spent an afternoon in St Andrews and walked from Pittenweem to Anstruther where we found the most beautiful little shell beach. The water was crystal clear and torquoise and we sat for hours while the dog played in the water. We also had a walk through the forest of Elie Estate where we found the lovely Kilconquhar Loch and a stunning array of bluebells.
When you first arrive at the site look out for the sign at the turn off, it's just past Ardross Farm shop on the right. There aren't any signs beforehand so drive slowly.
You can book for 3, 4, 7 or 14 nights and although they are almost fully booked for June, July and August, there is some availability for September and October. The site is closed from November to March.
A big basket of logs and a tray of kindling is provided for the log burner. More can be bought from Ardross Farm Shop for £9 per bag or preordered before you arrive
A maximum of two dogs are allowed per tent.
There is a gas boiler meaning you’ll always have hot water and it keeps the two radiators in the bedrooms warm in the evenings.
Tea, coffee, sugar, salt, pepper and olive oil are provided. The nearest shop is Ardross, a two minute drive from the site. Elie Deli sells an amazing range of locally produced food, bake fresh pastries every morning and even deliver your shopping to your accommodation. You can pre-order before you arrive too. There is a large Coop in Anstruther and a Tesco Metro in St Andrews.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Catchpenny Safari Lodges, we returned home feeling relaxed and revitalised. This type of alternative accommodation arriving in Fife is exciting and I'm extremely happy to hear that they are proving popular.
I was invited along to Catchpenny to review the lodges but all opinions, as always, are my own