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.
The walk begins down on the beach, curving around the coast until you come to a split in the path. Here you have a choice, if the tide is out you can carry on along the beach, sticking close to the cliffs right around to Kinghorn. If the tide is in you can walk up the hill under the railway bridge and continue along the Main Street of the town. The sign has a phone number on it so you can find out the times of the tides. Me being not the adventures type at all optioned for the easy way but if anyone goes the other way i'd love to know how you got on.
On the way into Kinghorn you will pass Pettycur, which has a large caravan site on the cliff side overlooking the Firth of Forth. If you are taking the high tide route, it may be worth stopping off here for the views, the restaurant does fab coffees and snacks as well as full meals and the views over to Edinburgh are some of the best.
An interesting story about the cliff to the west of Pettycur I read recently said the King Alexander III in March 1286 was returning along the cliff road on his way back to Kinghorn Castle when his horse stumbled and the King fell to his death. This resulted in a crisis of succession that lead directly to the Scottish wars of Independance. So if he hadn’t been riding along that road that night we would never have heard of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and we would never be having the referendum we are having today. You can see a monument of him across the road from the caravan park.
The path winds it’s way past Pettycur harbour around the beach to Kinghorn harbour. Here is a little cafe with tables and chairs outside. Although this beach is popular it is far quieter than Burntisland and the chairs are well used by regular locals who sit for a coffee and a read of the papers. The small houses along this small beach are beautiful and I wouldn’t mind one myself!
The path now turns uphill under the railway viaduct and turns the left along a little path past a play park then along the edge of the railway line. It then crosses to the other side of the line with the cliffs beside you and carries on into my hometown of Kirkcaldy.
You reach Seafield tower at the bottom of a gentle decline towards the waterfront. This tower dates back to the 16th century and is where the old Seafield Colliery used to be. Watch out here for the seals out on the rocks. Follow the small path passed the huge houses(!) on your left until you come to the Esplanade. This is a straight wide path running along the beachfront of Kirkcaldy and where the annual Links Market is held, the longest street fair in Europe.
After the climb uphill beside the main road, passing the flour mill, you head down into Ravenscraig Park. The path leads back down into the beach for some fantastic views of Ravenscraig Castle, built in 1460 by James II. It is a beautiful walk from here, along the water to Dysart and the Harbourmaster House. This has been renovated and is now Fife’s first coastal centre. There is a lovely little cafe and it’s here that the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust is based, so you can buy detailed guides to the Coastal Path and well as ask any questions you may have. I’ll post the second half of this walk next week, Kirkcaldy to West Wemyss.