Kirkcaldy to Leven: 10 Miles

July 28, 2005
The Fife Coastal Path Guide

The Fife Coastal Path Guide

From the end of the esplanade at Kirkcaldy, walk to the end then follow the main road up the hill to the park at Ravenscraig castle. The route will take you through the park, across a grassy area and then through a tunnel in the rock which leads unto harbour at Dysart. Pass through Dysart, then West and East Wemyss with their famous caves with Pictish drawings. The area then gets built up as you go through Buckhaven and Methil. The walk ends at the start of the esplanade at Leven just at the Methil Power Station.

I arrived at Kirkcaldy only to realise I had left my walking shoes behind and realised I was going to have to walk 10 miles in the shoes I had on, which was going to be fun as they weren’t much better than carpet slipper. As it turned out- thew were really comfy and I had no blisters at the end of it. Maybe I’ll do that more often. The walk took me through the lovely fishing village of Dysart and past the caves at Wymss. The caves have various Pictish markings in them and were the subject of a channel 4 ‘time team’ program. I have been fascinated by Pictish symbols for a time. The fact that they appear all over the east of Scotland especially, with their repeating patterns of broken arrows, mirrors, wild beasts etc. Although they have been extensively catalogued, no one has been able to decipher their meaning. This is due to the lack of any written material left by the Picts. Further on I passed through Buckhaven and Methil- two places that had seen better days- the Kvaerner Oil Rig yard seemed to be the major employer- but am sure its days are limited when the petro-chemical industry starts to decline. On the way back I got soaked on my bike, but that was the first rain to fall in any amount since the start of July, so I cant complain.

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Aberdour to Kirkcaldy. 8.5 Miles

July 25, 2005
The Fife Coastal Path Guide

The Fife Coastal Path Guide

From Silver Sands Beach at Aberdour, follow the Fife Coastal Path arond next to the Fife coastal railway line up to the outskirts of Burntisland. Walk along Burntisland main street and follow the path past the swimming pool leisure complex and along the beach if the tide is out. I went along the beach and walked along the wall next to the railway, but the Coastal path goes inland and up the main road towards the Pettycur caravan park on the hill. Walk in and down into Kinghorn and then carry on through Kinghorn till the path leaves the village at the far end and runs along outside the caravan park near the viaduct. From here the path continues along passed the ruin of seafield tower into Kirkcaldy itself.

 

BLOG: Lovely day for a walk- I was joined by my friend Anne and her labrador pup, Lola. Lola certainly enjoyed the sea and relished the opportunity to gallop in and out of the waves. The Fife coastal path is one I had walked on previous occasions, so I knew what to expect. The only difference to this section was that there was large scale site clearing going just outside Burntisland where previously there had been a horrible dirty factory of some kind. I presume they will build houses on the site. Further on just before Kirkaldy there were more ‘executive’ houses. These were built on the old Seafield coal mining site The landscape has certainly changed. I predict that Kirkcaldy will become an importance Edinburgh commuter town if they finally get round to building a decent passenger ferry across the Forth.

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South Queensferry to Aberdour. 10 Miles

July 19, 2005
The Fife Coastal Path Guide

The Fife Coastal Path Guide

Cross the Forth Road Bridge and turn right at the end down to North Queensferry. At this point you will be on the Fife Coastal path which will be followed around Fife. It is clearly sign posted. Follow the path around the bay and into Inverkeithing, then on to Dalgetty Bay. From Dalgetty Bay the way then heads back inland for about half a mile avoiding the Exon gas terminal at Braefoot point. Follow the Fife path, passed the entrance to St Colm House and then into Aberdour itself. My finishing point was at Aberdour Silver sands beach, which is on the east side of the town.

I have been on this walk a few times as I was now back in my own back yard which is Fife. The noise going across the Forth Road bridge was pretty loud so I plugged myself into my PDA and listened to a couple of radio 4 programs, “In our time” with Melvyn Bragg that I had saved as MP3 files. The BBC have just recently started posting previous broadcasts as mp3 files. Its a great idea, and I did get to wonder what kind of technology would be around when I finished the walk. The walk around the bay just before you get to Inverkeithing is probably the most industrialised part of my walk to date. It skirts a large scrap metal yard which breaks up cars etch which are unloaded by cargoe ships in the harbour. I would abslutely dread having to work in a place like that, it was noisy dirty and the stench of diesel and engine oil hung over the whole area. Inverkeithing isnt anything to write home about, but I was soon around the bay and into the Disneyland that is Dalgety Bay. The whole of Dalgety Bay that is visible from the shore is like a well manicured lego village. Some of the bigger houses have the electric gates in the front and it was very Peyton Place. (How many of you readers remember that I wonder!) I carried on through St Davids Bay and stopped for a while at St Bridget’s Kirk, a ruined mediaevil church. I was hobbling a bit from blisters even although I had put on blister packs and my achilles was inflamed, I was looking forward to getting on my bike at Aberdour, just to take the weight off my legs. I passed through Aberdour which has probably the prettiest railway station in Scotland. The platform was bursting with baskets of flowers and everything was painted in bright colours. I passed by Aberdour castle which is the care of the Scottish National Trust. Its well worth a visit, and although I didnt have a chance to go in, I have visited it previously and its an interesting place.

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Leith to South Queensferry. 13.5 Miles

July 18, 2005

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John Muir Way Walk Guide

John Muir Way Guide Book

From the docks at Leith, head west along the road towards Newhaven and the harbour. The road is a busy one and you just keep following the road out towards Granton. Pass along Lower Granton where there is a disused lighhouse, and the road eventually comes out at Caroline Park at Silverknowes. Follow the path through the park until you reach the village of Cramond, where you will then have to follow the river Almond up to the crossing point at Crammond Bridge. (You may be able to wade across the river at low tide and save yourself a 3 mile detour). At the Cobble cottage, pick up the path leading to south Queensferry which passes through the Dalmeny estate. At South Queensferry, walk along the Esplanade to reach the Forth Bridges where this walk ends.

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I started from Leith waterfront whih has been done up in recent years and has a varierty of trendy waterfront bars and design shops. Walking west towards Newhaven which has been almost swamped by Leith, I could see the extent of the construction of new flats overlooking the harbour. Leith resembled London’s dockyard area. There were flats being built at Granton harbour too, but probably not as yuppified as those at Leith. Grnaton itself was by and largely still run down and I was glad to be back on the road out to Cramond. Having lived in Edinburgh, I knew Cramond to be the place where people visit for the day. It wasnt too crowded however and I stopped and had a coffee and wondered whether I could wade across the river Almond at low tide. I was trying to get to the other side which was at most 30 yards across the river. However I didnt wait for the tide to turn and decided instead to walk along the river Cramond to Cramond bridge and back down the either side. Once I made the other side I could see Barnbougle castle in the distance. From there it was a short walk into South Queensferry to see the Bridges. The Forth Railway bridge is showing signs of its age now, and you have to remember how long this iron structure can remain standing before it needs replaced by something else. It is still a very impressive feat of engineering.


Aberlady to Edinburgh. 16 Miles

July 8, 2005

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John Muir Way Walk Guide

John Muir Way Guide Book

From Aberlady follow the path around the side of the golf course at Kilspindie. Then you skirt a second newer course at Craigielaw. This takes you back onto the main A198 road at the gates of Gosforth house. The marker which you are constantly heading for is the Cockenzie Power station, which, like its counterpart the nuclear power station further down the coast at Torness, is never out of site. Cross Gosford Bay, then Seton Sands and eventually you reach Cockenzie and Port Seton. From Port Seton head towards Prestonpans and then onwards to Musselburgh. After crossing the bridge over the Esk at Musselburgh, you pass through Joppa and then follow the long promenade next to the beach at Portobello. From the end of portobello, the walk takes you along the road to Leith where this walk ends.

This was a long walk (well for me anyway!) And the furthest I have walked in one day. The weather was hot and sultry and I was glad that I had my water carrier thingy in my rucksack. Jamie thinks it is so “lame” having it, and I admit it looks like I am carrying my own drip, but its so handy to just be able to take a drink without stopping and rummaging about in my rucksack. Cockenzie, what can I say? Would look ok if they removed the massive power station, but I suppose power has to come from somewhere. The chimneys Im sure were designed to be tall enough to blow all the smoke to Norway, and I seem to remember Norway blaming us for causing acid rain and destroying their Pine Forests. The ultimate NIMBY situation. As for Portobello…a nice enough town but when I past through it, it was crammed with alcohol swigging, chain smoking chavs. How they managed to find their way there and back is beyond me. The walk from Portobello was a bit of a drag and the approach into Leith was along a long busy road with warehouses on either side so it wasnt the most inspiring of places.

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Tantallon to Aberlady. 7.5 Miles

July 7, 2005

Bass Rock

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DIRECTIONS:

From Yellow Craig Park on the west side of North Berwick, follow the path west towards the end of Broadsands Beach. Pass the big house called Marine House on the O.S map and onto Gullane Bay. Carry on along the sands at Gullane Bay and then head to Aberlady via Aberlady Bay. There is a short foot bridge which allows a crossing over the burn near Luffness at the cart park.

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John Muir Way Walk Guide

John Muir Way Guide Book

Today was a hot day but fortunately for me there was a cool haar (a sea mist) rolling in from the sea which cooled me down. It was eerie though as it meant I couldnt see the sea for further than about 20 yards. I could hear the horns of boats out on the Firth of Forth. For a while I felt isolated from the rest of the world as there was noone around from when I left Broadsands beach until I reached Gullane sands. Later on, I took a photograph of a tanker out on the Forth with the wall of Haar behind it like a thick smoky veil. Gullane Bay was a lovely sandy bay and also a naturist beach, as I noticed one or two men in the dunes “doing their thing”. For some reason they reminded me of marmosets; popping up among the dunes to have a quick look as I passed and then retreating back down into the dunes. As I rounded the point at Aberlady, I was in the nature reserve, and there was a sign telling people to keep away from the tern breeding areas. Aberlady was at the end of the walk and looked like a pleasant enough place. Like Gullane and to a lesser extent, these small places are very neat and tidy, but seem to be filled with Miss Jean Brodie’s “Girls” all old and wrinkly. Definitely Lothian Ladies who Lunch.

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Tyninghame to Tantallon Castle. 5.5 Miles

July 4, 2005


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John Muir Way Walk Guide

John Muir Way Guide Book

From the car park at the end of Limetree walk, follow the bridle path down on to the beach and passed the rocks known as St Baldred’s cradle. Follow the beach along Ravensheugh and Peffer Sands until you reach the Beggar’s cap rocks. From here climb up to the fields above the beach and head for Seacliff. Follow the path out of the estate to Auldhame and then the A198 to the car park at Tantallon castle.

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I had Jamie my son with me for the next couple of days. The weather was good and we had good fun walking to Tantallon castle. When we returned on our bikes to the start of the walk, we met a young guy about 18 who was almost finished walking around the coast of the UK. His name was Louis and he was a week away from finishing the walk which must have taken him about a year to complete. Imagine at 18 having finished a walk around the whole of the UK. Probably about 4000 miles I would imagine. His web site is at http://www.louiswalkstheuk.tk.