Now in it’s fifth year Crail Food Festival has found it’s feet. Every year it gets bigger and better and this year was no disappointment. With a packed menu of top chefs, talented producers and opportunities galore to sample the best Fife and beyond has to offer, the weekend was a glorious success. All this squeezed into one of the prettiest fishing villages you are likely to come across made it even more special.
Organisers planned it down to a tee with venues spread neatly throughout the village and ample, well organised parking nearby. Free shuttle buses were provided with maps and schedules available so you didn’t miss a thing.
We started off on Saturday morning in the Food and Drink Emporium in the community hall which was filled with the likes of Ardross Farm shop (with delicious HUGE meringues), The Little Herb Farm, Balgove Larder, Cochrane’s Kitchen and Chillilicious. What a treat it was to see so many of Fife’s top producers in the same place at the same time. Suffice to say I left with my bags already full.
In 1715 Jacobite Rob Roy MacGregor invaded Falkland Palace. Last weekend, 300 years later I went along to learn more about the history at their re-enactment weekend by the The Earl of Loudoun’s Regiment of Foot and Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust. A gorgeous, sunny spring day, the flowers in full bloom and the herb garden smelling delicious it was a busy cheerful afternoon. With birds of prey, a living history camp, weapons displays and skirmishes between the Redcoats and the Jacobites it was an excellent event.
Being a Scottish Travel Blogger can be a lot of work but it’s worth it when you can stay somewhere like this. Driving up to the Homelands Cottages in Lundin Links I knew straight away I was going to have a good night, I love somewhere with a view and what a view! Right over the Lundin Golf course towards the Firth of Forth and over to the Lothians. Imagine the sunsets… and I was even more excited when I unlocked the front door of our accommodation for the night. More on that soon….
After a quick unpack we headed down over the Golf course to the edge of the beach while there was still some light and after taking some photos we walked for a bit along the Fife Coastal Path which runs past the golf course to Pittenweem. Ultimately though it got far too cold so we headed back up to the cottage to get cosy and explore our wee house for the night.
If you are thinking of visiting the East Neuk of Fife, in Scotland, with it’s pretty fishing villages, white washed houses and long coastal walks, I can highly recommend booking into Seaglass Cottage in Pittenweem.
As soon as you step in, you can tell this modern and homely cottage is going to be good. It feels cosy and warm.
Cream walls, with a subtle nautical theme with blues and burnt oranges, and excellent quality fixtures and fittings show that the owners have thought very carefully about exactly what visitors might want.
St Andrews pulled out all the stops last weekend and proudly showed those big cities that it was more than capable of keeping up in the festival stakes.
St Andrews food and drink festival was a nine day long event and I arrived on Saturday morning armed with a list, my camera and comfy trainers, and my mum and daughter, ready to sample St Andrews finest.
The town was buzzing with tourists and locals alike, cheerily shopping for gifts and filling the cafes and restaurants. St Andrews is a beautiful historical town all year but this weekend it was truly magical. Shops were lit up with sparkly colourful lights and traditional christmas decorations hung from shelves and windows. Festive songs played inside and out and the atmosphere was fantastic.
The Visit Scotland shop had invited along some local producers with samples. Janetta’s Ice cream had a cart filled with tiny pots of creamy deliciousness and Author Richard Falconer was also there selling copies of his fantastic books, Ghosts of Fife and Ghosts of St Andrews. The town hall hosted the military wives choir and the award-winning SRUC Elmwood hospitality team of chef lecturers and students cooked up fresh Scottish meals.
This section of the Fife Coastal Path begins in East Wemyss, at the entrance to the Wemyss Caves. Drive along the main road into East Wemyss and turn down School Lane. This will take you down to the shore where there are lots of parking spaces to leave your car and begin the walk. Heading left along the path you will see the information boards describing the Wemyss Caves and the path begins just behind these. This section is around 7 miles long and should take 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
My daughter has a slight obsession with foxes so when we found out the Scottish Deer Centre in Fife had some we wrapped up and headed straight there bringing my niece and mum along too. Situated just outside Cupar the Deer Centre covers 55 acres of gorgeous Scottish woodland. The sheer scale gave our legs a good workout.
The park has 14 different species of Deer including the Axel Deer, Reindeer and Roe Deer.
You can feed certain types, with a bag of treats bought from the reception. They happily munch from your hand and are extremely cute, as well as being quite comical.
The Wemyss Caves are truly one of Fife’s hidden gems. Located on the coast of East Wemyss they are wonderfully preserved and the drawings inside are truly fascinating. The caves are looked after by the Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS) who formed in 1986 to preserve and publicise the caves and the Pictish and Viking drawings inside. I was lucky enough to be shown around the caves by the lovely Sue who told us fantastic stories about the history of the caves and also about the charity and their valuable work.
The caves are along a grassy path on the edge of the beach in East Wemyss and it's a beautiful walk. We began at the notice boards which give information about each of the caves and which are shaped like one of the drawings, with a bench in the centre dedicated to a founding member of the charity.
Sue informed us there was once two sets of caves. One set formed around 6000-7000 BC and the second set formed 3000-4000 BC as a result of the water rising.
Unfortunately many of the caves are inaccessible though the ones that are accessible contain the largest amount of Pictish markings than all the caves in Britain put together. A good reason why these caves need to be protected.
I started the next section of the Fife Coastal Path at the Harbourmaster House in Dysart. After a yummy toastie and cup of tea I discovered a whole floor underneath the cafe dedicated to the Coastal Path, this is a must see, with interactive maps, history boards and 3D models, it’s new and is fascinating. I spent a good half an hour strolling around reading all the boards, and could have spent a lot longer, kind of wish I had found this before I started the path but never mind.
So the walk from here takes you along past the famous white washed houses of Pan Ha. These houses were preserved during the urban clearances of the 50’s and 60’s due to demand from the locals and were then restored in the late 60’s, and opened by the Queen Mother. They are so photogenic!
This section of the walk takes on a more urban feel, passing several industrial towns and seeing many factories, some closed down and some still thriving. The path can be challenging at times with a few steep climbs, but again has those amazing views. I’ve split this section in two as it is supposed to carry on until West Wemyss, but because it was such a foggy day I stopped in Kirkcaldy and will finish the walk when the sun decides to reappear. I apologise for the lack of blue skies in these photos and I will revisit and take some more once its sunnier. Although I have to say the scotch mist gives the villages and beaches a certain mystical, calming feel.
Burntisland is a town known to generations of families around Fife, and Scotland, who have visited here during the summer, it has always been popular for day trippers who come here for the blue flag beach and the summer fair. It also has a fantastic, huge Highland games here every July. It certainly has a holiday village kind of feel about it. While it used to be an quite an industrial town, it is not so much anymore since the aluminium works closed here in 2002. It has a lovely high street with lots of little independant shops, an old fashioned amusement arcade and a few cafes, I especially love the cafe “Potter About”, they do fantastic paninins and toasties and the kids can paint some pottery while you eat. I also always visit Lynne’s Fruit and Veg as she sells made up bags of veg to make soup, and includes everything you need including any herbs, garlic and rice etc, all measured out and ready to go, a brilliant idea I think.