OK, I have to admit to being a bit of a fair weather hiker, at least where the hills are concerned. In the past, I’d decided to simply cancel plans if the weather was looking particularly nasty.
This year, I’ve decided that I won’t do that. If the weather is worse than I’d like, I’ll change the plans slightly and do something closer to home, and at low level. It’s a much better option than giving up on a day in the outdoors, that’s for sure!
To that end, a couple of weeks ago, when the worst of the wintry weather had hit, I decided to do a walk from my own front door. I have a small advantage, in that one of Scotland’s long distance walks is right on my doorstep. The Fife Coastal Path.
Basically, the route covers the entire coastline of Fife and is 117 miles long. I did a little 15 mile section 2 weeks ago.
We’ll start off from St David’s Harbour, which is the first place on the coastal path, as you arrive at Dalgety Bay (as the walk from my house to here ain’t very exciting!). It conveniently has a nice car park, and if anyone is planning on doing this walk for themselves, is also within 15-20 min walk from Dalgety Bay rail halt. The coastal path is signposted here, as it is at most stopping points along the way.
You also get a great view of one of Scotland’s greatest landmarks (yes, I’m biased! Shoot me!), the Forth Bridge… A true engineering wonder!
The path is quite clear, and as it passes through Dalgety Bay is a mix of trail and tarmac, but mostly trail. There are a few points along the way with some nice views, such as Seal Point, shown below (I’ve never seen a seal anywhere near it, so why it’s called that, I’ve no idea!)
It doesn’t take long before you come to Dalgety Bay itself, which is fenced off, with some lovely warning signs…
Yes, folks, I live in a town which has radioactive waste on the beach!
You know what, though? I’ve lived here for more than 20 years, and there’s nothing wrong with me! My dad and I used to dig bait here, and never had any issues eating the fish caught with it… The whole thing has been blown way out of proportion, as is always the case in this H&S era.
Just on the edge of Dalgety Bay, you reach St Bridget’s Kirk, a medieval church, which is maintained by Historic Scotland.
Once past here, you walk up a small minor road, then join the path towards Aberdour.
This is quite a pleasant stretch of path, through reasonably open countryside and woodland
After a mile or two, you arrive at Aberdour itself, and are immediately faced with the Woodside Hotel… The hotel more or less burnt down a few years ago, and they’ve done an amazing job in restoring it.
The route now goes through the town itself, and down to the Black Sands beach, one of several seaside award beaches along the coastal path.
The part then goes round, past the harbour and then up and along to a point
The path then goes round to Silver Sands beach, yet another one winning a seaside award.
And with that, you’ve effectively left Aberdour. You’re now on the path to Burntisland. This section of the route is also quite pleasant, staying close to the shore throughout, though with a railway line as a constant companion.
Eventually, you arrive at Burntisland.
For me, this is where the walk went through it’s least pleasant phase. Upon arrival into Burntisland, the way markers for the coastal path have had their direction arrows scrubbed out, but no alternatives in their place, so it’s a bit of guess work to find the right route through the town.
Luckily, it’s not rocket science… As long as you aim for the coast, you can’t really go wrong!
Burntisland has yet another award winning beach (yes, it seems everywhere in Fife, apart from Dalgety Bay is clean!)
Sadly, once past the beach, my least favourite section of the whole walk appeared. Up until now, the sections between towns have been the most pleasant parts of the walk, but not so the section between Burntisland and Kinghorn!
It’s awful tarmac, all the way, on a path right beside a main road! Decidedly unpleasant, though fortunately, relatively short at about a mile.
Once in Kinghorn, the path leads you down to yet another beach, though I’m not sure if this one has any awards…
The lifeboat crew from the RNLI were out, doing some exercises with the coastguard helicopter, so I stopped for a couple of minutes to watch them in action.
Then, it was a case of carrying on before the hail/snow got too much for me to bear!
The section between Kinghorn is actually my favourite part of the whole walk. It’s probably the longest uninhabited section of the whole walk and has some of the most interesting terrain. There’s a couple of wee bits of uphill and downhill here, as well as a few muddy sections, all of which work to get the blood flowing and make it that wee bit more entertaining!
There was also more rugged terrain and slightly more interesting things to see.
Eventually, it had to end, though, and Kirkcaldy quickly appears, as does the end of my walk
I think the idea of doing the simple, local walks when the weather is slightly less pleasant is a good one. If this year is even slightly like last year, I suspect I’ll have the complete coastal path walked before the end of the year. In a way, I’d really like to, too! There are other parts I’ve already walked, and I’m sure there will be plenty more to come… I think next time I’ll walk in the other direction from home and see where I end up (I’d probably aim for Limekilns)
This walk in itself isn’t a bad walk. There’s enough there to keep the interest for most of the walk… The only exception is the section between Burntisland and Kinghorn, but in honesty, I’m not sure there’s a way round it…
It’s definitely a good way to kill 5 hours of a day, though, and it at least prevents the day becoming a waste. With a train station at either end, it’s quite good, too.