This is the second part of my “blisters of burst” walk from Torryburn to North Queensferry, covering the stage between Charlestown to North Queensferry along the 116 miles of the Fife Coastal Path, from Kincardine to Newburgh.
One thing that have done and should have done it long before now, was to buy the official Fife Coastal Path (FCP) map, so I now have a better idea of where I should be going and more importantly the distances I will be covering as the map is marked off in miles for the hard of thinking like me to understand. To buy the map, I made a special trip over to the offices of the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, located at the Harbourmasters House, Dysart, bought from the princely sum of £6.95p. It can also be bought on-line from the Trusts’ web site.
A lunch of fish and chips at the Elgin Hotel hit the spot for me and so did the rest, which was what I badly needed. Plan A, the original plan was to call it quits here and get a bus back to the car at Torryburn, however I was feeling so good and it wasn’t such a bad day that I decided to walk some more to Ferry Toll and get a bus to Dunfermline and then back Torryburn, well that was the plan anyway.
The hotel is perched on top of an escarpment overlooking the Forth, out of sight at the bottom of this escarpment are a number of huge lime kilns right next to the harbour. There’s a public footpath in front of the hotel that leads down to the harbour and I missed it. To be honest I wasn’t that bothered as I had been there before with my darlin’ and was quite content to walk on towards Limekilns village instead. The kilns are worth seeing and it’s sad that the FCP does not take them in as part of the route.
I keep on thinking that this place must have been like Hell on earth with the kilns belching out non-stop clouds of noxious fumes.
The FCP follows the main road down a slight cobbled road to the water, it’s unusual to see a cobbled road and this one is in fine condition as usually they have been dug up by utiity contractors and badly re-laid but this one is perfect. There’s a pub at the bottom of this hill, just by the war memorial that has public toilets available if you need to go and thinking about it there’s toilets just past the Elgin Hotel as well. The first toilets that I have really noticed on the walk.
There is a small semi-ruined pier opposite the pub with a wooden mast leaning over at a precarious angle, plans are underway to restore this old pier and I wish them well with their enterprise. There has been a good number of ruined piers along the way but it should not be too surprising as in the days of old, sea transport was the way to get about and far easier considering the primitive state of the early roads, especially when there are heavy, bulk items like Lime to shift.
There is a wooden bench on the old pier and normally I don’t bother too much but my eye was drawn to this one because of the flowers that were placed upon it, a new plaque had been fixed to it, remembering Amy Simpson 1997-2016. Nineteen years old, my heart grieves for her family as one thing that I do know is that parents are never meant to bury their children.
It is all too easy to follow the Limekilns promenade and miss out walking along the old road through the village. Make the time to go by the old main street as there are lots of examples of old Scots architecture that’s worth seeing, including the old Co-Op, which has been turned into an Hotel and Bistro and the Kings Cellar. It’s up a small side street on the left. According to Wikipedia, the Kings Cellar…” a large and mysterious property existence of which can be traced back to 1362. It has served many different purposes throughout its long life, notably as a store house, a school, a library and a chapel. It is currently employed as a Freemasons Lodge and is generally not open to the public.”
Cross the road at the end of the main street following the FCP along the shore for a short distance before making a left turn up a lane then turning right, which will take you to the boat club.I fought a running battle with this Oyster Catcher, trying to get this silhouette shot with another set of God Rays in the background
You can go straight on instead of going up the lane but it gets a bit precarious to the water at times. Anyway walk past the Scout hut to a gate with a sign warning you not to stand on the Gambions… and if you didn’t know what those are, it’s those metal basket things that are stuffed with stones and used to prop up the footpath. That’s all fair and good but it would be even better to get down to the shore without having to stand on the Gambions in the first place but there’s no provision for that.
Old Rosyth Parish Church.
Anyway the muddy path continues past the houses and will eventually come to the ruined Old Rosyth Parish Church.I have to marvel at the huge piece of toadying gratitude expressed by someone for being allowed to bury their dear here. Definitely a sign of times past.
“The inhabitants of Limekilns and Charlestown are again called upon to record their gratitude to the Right Hon. THOMAS BRUCE Earl of Elgin and Kincardine for his lordships second generous gift of a piece of ground as a burial place for them and their posterity. The ground on the south was granted in 1812, on the north 1827.”
The church itself is in a precarious condition, being partially fenced off.
There’s the grave of a Rosyth Admiral here, he died of natural causes and was buried here. Admiral Sir Frederick Tower Hamilton KCB GCVO born 1856 died 1917.
There is a metal style over the churchyard wall here, I never noticed this on my first visit, so I just had to give it a try, either way back through the gate or over the style you end up on the path and start heading up the hill.
Ever since I left the Elgin Hotel I was aware of a big sounding marine diesel engine ruining somewhere and it turned out to be the new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth currently being built at Roysth, the closer you go to it the loader it became and then quiet imperceptibly as I climbed up the hill the sound died away.
I got talking with a fellow walker, which took my mind off my sore feet and the hill itself going up in jig-time and I never noticed the noise again until I was entering Rosyth a mile or so later on.
Anyway the path climbs up the hill away from the coast to meet the A985 for a miles walk along this busy road before turning right onto a path leading into Rosyth. I was tempted to turn right a lot sooner and follow the road past the HMS Caledonia and then into Rosyth, they both end up at the same place and it would get you away from the main road. Otherwise the path goes around the back of an industrial estate, past a five a side pitch to go down hill alongside a road to turn left past some shops.
Things at this point get a little hazy as signposting isn’t too great. After passing the shops you are walking towards a large roundabout, then crossing two roads before the roundabout, turning left onto Ferry Toll Road, walking past a modern office block with what looks like to me a bio-hazard signs on the metal fence, I think it’s something to do with the Port of Rosyth but I can’t help thinking bio-hazard. The road climbs slightly and the path gets hazy once again as you are directed though a gate in this fence onto a footpath alongside the office car park.
I found a massive tie-down block just beside this path in the woods, it was used to anchor either a large aerial wire or as I suspect a WW2 barrage balloon.
The path seems to split with one branch to the left going off into the trees signposted Rosyth heritage Trail and nothing for the FCP. Remain on the footpath going down hill for a short distance before turning left along side another fence to where, near the bottom you will pass the Doocot for Rosyth Castle, which should be dead in front of you. A 16th century bespoke hotel with room for 1,500 doos (pigeons.)
The FCP again gets hazy. Turn left. To the left hand side of this road is one of the biggest demolitions jobs in Europe, which is coming to an end after years of demolition work. It was a huge steel reinforced concrete fuel storage tank for the naval base and a number of smaller steel fuel tanks. A set of column caps have been placed alongside the road like some weird modern art sculptures but mainly to stop the tinkers from parking their caravans on the waste ground beyond. You can look over the fence and see the enormity of this once mighty tank farm as you walk along.
Cross the road, just before the roundabout and follow the road to the right keeping close to the water. The air gets a bit rich here with a near by sewage farm and the large reed beds to the right but it soon passes. The road comes up to the new Forth Crossing.
Follow the road underneath the motorway and up a hill passing the Bridges Hilton hotel to start the final descent into North Queensferry.
The path will take you underneath the current Forth Road Bridge, I could not resist stopping for a photo.
You will cross over a side road to what was the turn off for the ferry to South Queensferry and continue down the footpath to the water. A nice sundial is set high in a house opposite. There’s a cafe and a pub here and I could have sworn there was a shop in the village as I needed a drink of something and maybe some chocolate therapy but it wasn’t to be but more importantly I was heading for the Deep Sea World car park to where my darlin’ was waiting for me to whisk me off my aching feet back to my car at Torryburn.
It turns out that today’s stage was 12 miles long, completing the first 17 miles of the FCP but there’s one thing for sure…..