The “Blisters of burst” photo-blog of my walk along the 116 miles of the Fife Coastal Path. This time it is the six mile section between Burntisland to the “Lang-toon” Kirkcaldy.
This was a “daftie” walk, I just took the fancy to go and I went, giving little thought as to how I was going to get back, better I suppose, to travel in hope than not to travel at all.
The overall aim was to keep the distance down to a manageable figure this time rather than push myself too hard and do myself a mischief.
The car was parked up at the free car park just off the Links, on road to the Beacon swimming pool. From here it is a matter of following Lammerlaws Road over the railway bridge and down to the water.
There is a building here that has been intriguing me for some time, it is at the foot of the railway bridge and is currently being used by a diving company called the “Dive Bunker.”
Usually wartime buildings were built to a standard pattern, you wanted a building to do this job, then you went to a standard set of plans and constructed it but this one is unique.
The overall impression is the building’s strength, it is heavily reinforced with concrete and has a concrete blast shield in front of the back door (edge on to the right of the bunker), it even has a tall concrete chimney!
My guess is some sort of command post.
The Fife Coastal Path (FCP) then follows the coast along the esplanade for a short distance and all the way around the shore line in the picture above.
That line of black along the shore isn’t sea weed, it is made up of small fragments of coal washed up on the beach.
At the end of the esplanade, the FCP passes through a set of gates to a building that was once a beach tea room with wonderful ironwork outside.
Things get interesting at this point. The FCP really can not get any more literal than the next stage, it really is a coastal path, which when the tide is out is along the beach and when the tide is in and impassable, the alternative route is along the A921. There are also two ominously titled “escape routes” under the railway, to use if you are in danger of getting stuck. This escape is not a call the RNLI, life or death, stuck on cliffs sort of thing, the railway embankment is steep and it may be possible to traverse to an escape point but going by the black tide mark on the embankment this place can get some impressively high tides so go canny and use the head.
Anyway, today was just after high tide, so it wasn’t going to get any worse so I decided to go along the high crumbling embankment to the first escape point and re-evaluate the way forward. You can see the beach getting progressively narrower the farther you go along the embankment.
There seemed to be a passable route along rocks, so I went on, along the narrow strip of rocks towards Pettycur Bay, where the shore got larger and larger, opening out into a large promentary and the path problems became non-existent.
It should be noted that the second escape point involves walking through a culvert for a small burn under the railway and the tunnel gets progressively lower.
Not far from the second escape point, by the roadside is a memorial, erected to King Alexander III who, fell off his horse and died near here 1286.
If the tide is low you will notice a good number of poles sticking out of the sand, these were anti-glider landing posts, erected here during the last war. The beach opens out as you get near to Pettycur Bay.
The cockle shell encrusted shore makes for great walking, so make the most of it.
The coast narrows as you head towards the caravan site on the escarpment above, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the path climbs uphill, that is a private path for the caravan site.
Looking back along the beach at Pettycur Bay to an oil rig in the Firth.
The FCP continues along the immediate shore among the rocks and grass. It is not too bad going.
It will end at a small sandy shore before going up onto the promenade leading to the small harbour.
Stomping the beach back
About half way along the pier is a small hut built into the wall, which looks out of place among the row of wooden sheds. This was a WW1 searchlight or Defence Electric Lights and was part of the Kinghorn gun battery.
There is a rusty iron capstan at the end of the pier, which has seen better days.
Go back to the esplanade and follow the FCP up the road for a short distance, where you will see another searchlight in the garden of a block of modern flats. (It can just be seen in the second searchlight picture above.) The generator building for the searchlights was in one of the white buildings across the road and now converted to houses.
Follow the pavement up the hill and the way becomes less interesting, the broken glass on top of a wall or two reminds us how much things have changed. Razor Wire seems much more humane. On investigation I think this is part of the WW1 battery. A little bit beyond this is a small private lane heading down to the shore, there was a WW1 gun emplacement here, although nothing now remains.
I was puzzled by a row of nine square windows set into a wall, just before Alexander III Street, there were WW1 defensive loopholes for riflemen to fire through, which is interesting as they must have considered an invasion to be a threat.
The FCP is signposted to the right and you head down a short lane to a number of footpaths. It’s not important which path you take so long as you head down towards the Lifeboat station at the foot of the promenade.
Just beyond here is a white house with the name PROVIDENCE HOUSE, 1923. Being provident five years after the war to end all wars ended seemed like a good idea to me. I don’t know what it was but it’s a grand name for any house.
The path then turns away from the harbour going directly uphill, under the railway before turning right going through a children’s play park, then under the railway onto a narrow whinstone path sandwiched between the caravan site and the railway.
At the end of the caravan site, the path opens out to the right with good views of the Firth and it is like this all the way to Kirkcaldy. The one good thing about this path is it not tarred and so easier going on the feet, it may be muddy in places and there may be the occasional “dog egg” or two but it is a whole lot better than walking on a hard pavement
Nothing much happens for a while, you will pass close to the Linton Court houses on the left but keep on going, at one point, at the top of a hill, the path gets very close to the railway, this marks the beginning of the end as you start to loose height, heading down towards the shore, Seafield Tower and Kirkcaldy.
This ruined medieval tower house dates to the 16th century. It is badly crumbling and has been fenced off. Nothing much to see really…. in saying that I did see a Grey Seal on one of the rocks just off shore.
The rocks here shows great fault lines, you can imaging the coal seams trapped in between the layers of rock.
There is an absolutely huge but ruined concrete breakwater here and I don’t know what its purpose was. Unless it was something to do with the domed culvert taking water from underground out to sea, perhaps it was a little dirty maybe polluted as it left the Seafield Pit, which was on the hill above and now all housing.
The path eventually comes to a carpark then continues over the grass for a short period before going through an access gate and right heading alongside the Morrisons Supermarket to the main road. I grabbed some lunch here. There was no way that I was going to take a photo of a supermarket, even I have standards!
Turn right and follow the road towards the water. You will pass a controversial sculpture made from a large piece of driftwood with thousands of rusty nails hammered into it.
Over a small bridge and turn right onto which looks like a wide road alongside the burn, around the car park and onto the promenade. This has recently been updated to improve the flood defences here, some fairly spectacular waves have been known to break over the sea wall here.
About half way along the promenade is a memorial stone, the promenade was built between 1922 and 1923 to provide employment during the Great Depression.
I stopped my walk along the FCP a short while later, opposite a multi-storey car park at mile 35 and headed into town to get the train back to Burntisland. The route to the station passes right by the bus station, so of you prefer, look for stance 13, bus 7, which will take you back. The train from Platform 1, took nine minutes although I did wait 20 minutes on the train, on top of the slow and ponderous walk up to the station.
I took the scenic route back through Burntisland, stopping off at the unique in Scotland square section Burntisland Parish Church. It’s a one way straight up from here.
Anyway, that’s all from me and this section of the Fife Coastal Path but there’s one thing for sure….