Going Coastal, my Blisters or Burst walk along the Fife Coastal Path, this section describes the path between Lundin Links to Elie.
Leaving the Homeland Trust Cafe, I walked down the road towards the golf course and around the corner towards the Clubhouse. The way goes through the car park and onto a small lane beyond, which comes out at an open grassy space by the water. It is tempting to walk along the coast, it can be done, although there is a river ahead and getting back up to the path may be a problem although not in insurmountable one….
The Fife Coastal Path, FCP then follows a residential street for a short distance before dropping down to cross the river by a bridge. The Crusoe Hotel is on your right and was my intended lunch stop.
The FCP continues along a narrow road to come out by the water and a remarkable statue created by local artist Alan Faulds, entitled “Malagan” – named after sculptures from Papua New Guinea. It was carved from five separate sections of Scottish oak. A carved gate behind it is also worth looking at.
A short distance beyond that, mounted high on a house to your left is a statue of Alexander Selkirk, who was said to the the inspiration to Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. By all accounts Selkirk was crabbit and his ship mates could be forgiven for marooning him on Más a Tierra Island some 400 miles off the coast of Chile. However, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. He did by all accounts be proved right in the end as the ship he was sailing in was un-seaworthy and it foundered a short while later. Robinson Crusoe is an enduring story.
The road continues for a short distance before making a sharp bend towards the sea. The FCP then continues between the strangely named Cardy House and Cardy Cottage along a narrow lane. The Cardy Works, over the wall to your left was once a fishing net making factory.
The lane comes out at a car park, with public toilets to your right.
The FCP goes up a set of steps to your immediate left to the old railway.
You can continue along the street by the shore as they both end up at the same place to continue along the old railway out of the town. The going here is a little uneven with the railway ballast poking up through the surface. I noticed a parallel path on the shore side of the railway, which may make for an alternative for anyone going coastal.
A coastal path joins the railway at a ruined farmstead.
The going along the railway gets a bit better for a short stretch and then gets rougher as you near Carrick Villa. The FCP then leaves the railway and heads towards the dunes and the sea, with the high tide option of going along the dunes or you could as I done and go coastal with a walk along the sands at Largo Bay.
About half way along the beach you will come to two strangely built pillboxes, I say strange as they have no embrasures, firing slits the point directly towards the sea, rather than having one at each side firing along the line of the beach with short walls limiting the field of fire away from the beach. Apart from a line of cubes going along part of the beach and a strangely aligned set of cubes going inland, that is all the defensive structures on this beach and yet this must have been a likely invasion spot.
The pillboxes have been given over to roosting bats and I found a swarm of snails (I don’t know what the collective noun is for a group of snails,) in one of the embrasures.
There are a few anti-invasion posts dotted here and there along the beach to look at.
At one point I turned around and looked back along the beach to realise that I had this whole beach to myself, such a rare privilege.
There is a group of smaller posts in the sand, which is thought to be a fish trap.
Things come to an end as you near a line of trees at Ruddon’s Point, there is a signpost up on the dunes directing you to a bridge a little inland to cross a river.
The tide marks here indicate that the bridge could be flooded blocking your way forward.
There’s another smaller bridge beyond but the bed beneath is relatively dry and so I walked past without going over.
Looking back you get a nice view of the Bay, which was too nice a picture to leave in monochrome
The FCP then continues for a short distance before going into a small line of trees blocked with a set of Dragons Teeth, anti-tank-obstacles, which is also the entrance to the Shell Bay Holiday park.
Follow the road through the site, past the static caravans to a finger board at the end of the site. There may be an alternative route from the Dragons Teeth to go to the right over the dunes and onto Shell Bay.
Either way the FCP then continues along a narrow path, which can be muddy in places as it makes its way around Kincraig Point.
There is an alternative route, known as the “Elie Chain walk” it is not sign posted so you have to know that it is there to use it. The chain walk goes around the base of the cliffs at Kincraig Point, aided by a series of stainless steel chains and footholds cut into the rock. This MUST be done at low tide, you MUST have a head for heights and you MUST be fit enough for a three-point scramble over the rocks. This is not something to be undertaken lightly. At one point the chain was slack and I was leaning backwards, holding on with my arms wrapped around a slippery wet chain, so be warned.
At one point I came to realise how dangerous this is; no safety nets, no risk assessments, no one to come to my aid if I muck up, refreshing in a terrifying kind of way.
The chain walk finishes at the Earlsferry beach.
I will show more of the chain walk pictures in a separate post.
The FCP climbs up over Kincraig Point past an abandoned coastal defence gun battery to eventually come down to the beach at Earlsferry Links golf course. I had done this part of the walk last year so I wasn’t missing anything.
It’s a nice walk along the beach towards some houses at the end, where the FCP then crosses the golf course.
Look out both ways for flying golf balls as you cross the fairways, then turn right to follow a fence towards the houses, going around the point, eventually to a grassy area with a great view of Earlsferry and Elie beyond. The ruin here is of a 12th century chapel.
There is a short cut if you want to miss this section by remaining on the golf Course path heading straight along the street in front of you.
I was recommended to visit The Pavillions Cafe near the golf Clubhouse to the left but it was too late for lunch and more importantly, I wanted home by this stage.
Earlsferry is fair steeped in history and several interesting plaques to its famous sons and one to the Polish parachute Regiment based here during WW2 are dotted along the way.
There is a single pink coloured stair house along the way, this is a classic old Scots stair house; living accommodation upstairs, workshop, animals, net store downstairs.
The FCP eventually comes out onto the main road, a nice wee bakers on the left at the junction and further on there is a nice Deli and cafe also on the left. Turn right at the hotel to head back towards the sea and it is at this point that I stopped the walk just short of the 54 mile mark and nearly half way through my Fife Coastal Walk and this Blisters or burst tale…. but there’s one thing for sure…