Tag Archives: East Neuk

Diana’s Virtual Tour of the Fife Coast ~ Crail ~ The Jewel of East Neuk

My first awareness of Crail was as a jigsaw puzzle, the harbour being so full of character with its wee fisherman’s cottages and boats bobbing in the water inside the protective harbour wall.

When you first stumble across Crail you usually park in the village, with ample off the road parking, a neat tree lined street of Georgian elegance.  Crail is best explored by foot and each time you do so you will probably find a different route down to the harbour, from narrow paths and castle walls, to steep cobbled roads. Don’t forget to pop into the museum and also enjoy an ice cream, fish and chips or a snack at one of the cafes. There are many sheltered spots for a picnic too. Just head for the castle walls.

It was such a surprise the first time we visited, peering down from the coastal path as it meets the main road, magical if the sun is shining: reminiscent of Cornwall’s Mousehole.

Who would not be inspired by Crail!

The Healing Paths of Fifea memoir, tells the full story in prose, poetry and fantasy.

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St Monan’s ~ One of the Gems of The Fife Coast

The folks of Edinburgh all know the secret of East Neuk, a coastal region in Fife where the estuary of The River Forth merges with The North Sea. Each village has it’s own character and features; St Monan’s being just one of those places.

Neuk is the Scots work for nook or corner,’ Wikipedia informs us, and the ‘corner of Fife’ aptly describes East Neuk, omitting any reference to its natural charm and beauty.

East Neuk stretches from Earlsferry and Elie (my last post) to Kingsbarns, and each wee place has a unique character. Incidentally Mac Duff is said to have fled from Mac Beth via the ferry to the southern coast of the estuary. Hence the name Earlsferry!

From Lady Tower in Elie and passing the ruins of Newark Castle along Rose Bay you have a fairly gentle walk to St Monan’s. The path follows the rocks below this tiny kirk at low tide, but there is a detour behind the village to avoid getting your feet wet when the tide is high.

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St Monan’s Harbour

The colourfully painted cottages along the harbour frontage lead you towards The Smokehouse; a restaurant where you can eat out of cardboard boxes whilst overlooking both harbour and the view towards The Isle of May. Alternatively there’s the more cosy option of The Diving Gannet, a wee cafe just off the harbour. Both places are well worth visiting for much needed refreshments, but maybe on different visits!

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My Husband Poised in Anticipation

Following the Coastal Path signs out of the village you pass the salt pans from days gone by, when Fife exported salt overseas. Then there’s the windmill, which has appropriately been turned into a lifeguard station, from which there are clear views in all directions, if the weather is fair.

It is good to pause and reflect a wee while in each of the fishing harbours of East Neuk; think on their similarities and difference, the ambiance and their sense of community; before continuing your journey along the Fife Coastal Path, which was the inspiration for my book.

Diana Jackson is the author of ‘The Healing Paths of Fife.’ 

 

 

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Lower Largo to Elie ~ A Pause for Reflection on the Fife Coastal Path

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Elie ~ Fife

The walk between Lower Largo and Elie is at first wild and wonderful; a long sandy rock strewn beach, a nature reserve, shell bay and the hill you see in the photo above, where we looked back and reflected on ‘life ~ past, present and future’ as we gazed back over the coastal path already traversed from The Forth Bridge. (We could see as far as Pettycur)

There is an option to take the challenge of the Elie Chain Link Walk. Here James Carron takes you step by step. For me the daunting prospect was of the mind rather than of a physical nature in The Healing Paths of Fife but was a satisfying achievement nonetheless.

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Earlsferry

It was at Earlsferry, where travellers from the south, maybe even from the Holy Island (Lindisfarne)  in Northumberland, once ferried from North Berwick across the mouth of the Forth to the Fife coast on their way to St Andrews, maybe. It was walking here that I began to be aware of a presence alongside me quite, different from the many characters who talked to me along the way. They didn’t speak to me but I knew that they were there, every step of the way.

Elie is a lovely spot. A sandy harbour where they play cricket in the summer, so I’ve been told.

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Volcanic lava leaves geological signs of Fife’s ancient past, when the land was not as peaceful and hospitable as it is today.

What does Elie have to offer the weary walker? Well there’s the Ship Inn with a decking beside the harbour for idyllic sunny days; The Station Pub in the wee main street, a memento of a time when a railway actually ran to Elie, and a Deli which makes rolls up for you to order for a delicious picnic at one of the many beauty spots near the harbour. There’s even a small harbour cafe for ices and beach fare.

Elie is certainly well worth a visit, to while away a few hours, and it is the beginning of the region on Fife called East Neuk, renowned for its quaint fishing villages.

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