Carnoustie to Arbroath: 11 miles

August 29, 2005

NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here

 

Dundee to Aberdeen Coastal Path

Dundee to Aberdeen Coastal Path

From Carnoustie, follow the esplandade along to the end and then onto to East Haven. There is a track which runs alongside the railway align and then leads on to a path that runs alongside the Arbroath Golf Club. Just beyond the golf club there is a crossing across the railway which I advise you to take. I kept to the shore side of the railway but had to walk through long grass alongside burn at Elliot. However the burn is eay to cross at the beach, and from here it is a simple walk along the beach into Arbroath itself. Once Arbroath is reached, pass the harbour area and head out towards the cliffs at the northern end of the town. There is a well marked path along the cliffs which is part of a Seaton nature reserve. The path continues, but ends near Carlingheugh bay. From here, the best option is to walk along the side of the fields until the village of Authmithie is reached where this walk ends.

 

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It was another glorious day, with lovely late August sunshine. Autumn had arrived and I think that this season is my favourite time of year. It has given me a chance to look back over the summer and see the season change from early summer through to autumn. Im still undecided whether I will walk through winter as well, there will be much daylight to walk, and the distance getting to the start of each walk increases all the time. Still, I can decided that after October. Emma and her boyfriend Richard were here to meet me in Arbroath which is a place I remember from when I was small and the family would come here during the summer holidays. I remember the cliffs at Arbroath well enough as Anne, my sister and I climbed them and almost got stuck half way up. There are big dispay posters at the start of the cliff walk now outlining the dangers of these cliffs (see photos). I suppose we were lucky that we managed to climb back down safely, but it must have been scary for me to remember it about 35 years on!

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Broughty Ferry to Carnoustie. 6.5 Miles

August 24, 2005

NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here

 

The coast from Broughty Ferry goes around a spit of land called Buddon Ness which unfortunately is used by the army as a target practising area. When I reached the far end of Monifieth the red warning flags were flying which meant that the route I would have to take would be the main A930 which is a bit inland from the coast. The main road was followed until I came to a small village called Barry which is just outside Carnoustie. From here a track goes along next to the railway and the famous Carnoustie golf course, where the walk ends just behind the hotel

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Dundee to Aberdeen Coastal Path

Dundee to Aberdeen Coastal Path

I had to walk along the amin road as detailed above for quite a long way because the beach was closed due to rifle firing on the army range. Right next to the range was the Carnoustie golf course which was the home for the “Open” golf tournament on numerous occasions. I wondered what the golfers, who no doubt had paid considerable green fees to play the course thought of the constant machine gun fire that must have put them off their game.

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Tayport to Broughty Ferry: 8 Miles

August 23, 2005
The Fife Coastal Path Guide

The Fife Coastal Path Guide

From Tayport harbour follow the cycle path towrds the Tay bridge past the two lighthouses on the shore. Cross the tay bridge and on the Dundee side follow the A92 main road towards Broughty Ferry. At the roundabout take the A930 down towards Stannergate and follow the cycle path next to the railway until Broughty Ferry is reached.

This was probaly the least pleasant walk I have been on for some time, mainly because of the traffic and noise and the industrial docks section of Dundee that I couldnt avoid. But even then it was better than doing nothing, and it meant that I was leaving Fife and starting a walk in a new County, i.e. Angus. However once I got off the main road towards Broughty Ferry it improved and  I was glad that it would be Aberdeen before I would have to walk through such a built up area again.

Coming back on my bike I noticed what a difference cycle repair man had made to my bike. My new Kevlar NASA tyres were pumped up hard and those babes really performed so that going across the Tay bridge I almost kept up with an old man on his home made unicycle.

NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here

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Leuchars to Tayport: 10 miles

August 17, 2005
The Fife Coastal Path Guide

The Fife Coastal Path Guide

From Leuchars railway station, follow the road north to the mini roundabout at Leuchars village. Turn right here and continue passed St Athernase Church on Earlshall road. This road will eventually lead to a track that takes you around Leuchars RAF base from the north. Previous walkers have commented on the estuary being really muddy and very difficult to cross from the south, so this route is recommended. Follow the track through Reres Wood and onto the beach on the north side of the Eden estuary.

 

You now have the lovely prospect of about 8 miles or so of paddling along a beautiful beach which takes you north up past the seal colony at the far end of Kinshaldy beach. Round the point and follow the track or cross the estuary directly to Tayport where this walk ends.

This was a great day’s walk apart from a couple of problems later. The first mistake I made was attempting to walk with just pair of walking sandals on. After half a mile the back of the leather on one of the sandals was rubbing against my heel and I developed a raw blister which was pretty painful. fortunately I knew that the rest of the walk I could paddle by going along the beach, which was absolutely fantastic. The Eden estuary was completetly deserted and I could have been a million miles from civilisation. Tentsmuir forest and the Kinshaldy beach are my favourite places in Fife for a walk and I was relishing this walk immensely. The seals at the far end of the point at the Tay were there as usual on their sandbank making their eerie cries across the sea, but unlike previous occasions, none of them were curious enough tocome up to me and have a look. I was disappointed as I wanted to get a decent photo of them. I did come across a dead seal on the beach that was stinking to high heaven, it looked as if it had been washed up fairly recently. I wonder who removes these these dead things from the beach? Later on i saw a dead deer by the side of the road as I was cycling back, I wondered the same about it too.

Once i hobbled back on to my bike I realised I had a rear flat tyre, but maintaining my positive attitude I consoled myself that it could have been both tyres that were flat; pretty pathetic I know, but hey ho. I cycled back on it nonetheless and booked by bike off in the cycle shop in St Andrews to get them to put NASA researched non puncture fabby dozy kevlar tyres on. I half expected the guy , who was real bicycle geek to refer to the tyres as “these babes”, as in “these babes wont let you down”. He didnt, and I was mildly disappointed.

Click here for a guide to the Fife Coastal Path

NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here


St Andrews to Leuchars. 6 Miles

August 15, 2005
The Fife Coastal Path Guide

The Fife Coastal Path Guide

From St Andrews East beach, follow the path across the small bridge at the harbour, past the Cathedral walls and St Andrews castle. The road turns into a leafy avenue, on either side of which are various University buildings. Pass the memorial to the protestant martyrs at the top of the hill behind the R & A clubhouse. The West Sands beach lies before you and is one of the loveliest and cleanest beaches in Fife. The end of the beach leads around the point of the Eden Estuary and eventually Gaurdbridge with its 15th Century bridge bulit by Bishop henry Wardlaw to ease the progress of pilgrims to St Andrews. From Gaurdbridge the route follows the road and cycle path on to Leuchars.

 

This was a rainy day with a bit of wind blowing, which was unusual as I have always managed to get half decent weather on my walks. I was with Anne and Lola again and we enjoyed the walk around the golf courses at the far end of the the west sands at St Andrews until the sand turned to mud and we had to squelch our way back on to the cycle track that ran alongside the main road leading into St Andrews. As the rain came down and I started to get soaked I realised that I had to remind myself that there was no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing! Which leads me on to Gilbert’s wise thought for the day – how easily our moods can be affected by external conditions, and the importance of not letting those thoughts dictate to us how we feel. Walking in the rain can be quite refreshing as I kept telling myself as I was blinded by the stuff 😉

Click here for a guide to the Fife Coastal Path

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Kingsbarns to St Andrews. 9 Miles

August 9, 2005
The Fife Coastal Path Guide

The Fife Coastal Path Guide

From the car park at Kingsbarns Beach follow the coastal path alongside Kingsbarns golf club. At the end of the golf club the track gets rougher and you have to walk along the beach on occasions. The stream at Boarhills is eventually reached and the Coastal Path heads inland at this point following the stream up a wooded glade until the path crosses a metal footbridge to the other side. From here there is a short stretch of farm track and then the track follows a field back down to the shore.

The next section can be a bit tricky as it climbs the cliffs a little and the path can be overgrown with wet ferns which makes the walk across stones on the path slippy. There are also on or two places where it is dangerous to attempt to cross at high tide. There are signs erected in those areas which advise you to wait until the tide recedes. Once you reach the Buddo Rock and Rock and Spindle the path improves and it looks like it has been recently worked on.

Finally the path will lead down next to the caravan park at Kinkell Braes and down onto the East Sands Beach of St. Andrews.

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This walk wasn’t a long one but was along a fairly rough section of the Fife Coastal Path and so I had to concentrate on where I was placing my feet as I knew how easy it would be to slip on a wet rock and twist my ankle or worse. At the back of my mind the thought of the recent death of Robin Cook, the politician at the young age of 59 must have been lurking. He had a heart attack on a mountain in the north west of Scotland, and his untimely demise reinforced my knowledge that the end can come at anytime. Far from that being a morbid thought, it is a positive one for me as it makes me a realise that it doesn’t make sense putting the things that you want to do off. Carpe Diem or grab the fish as the translation says 😉

When I was walking I met a guy from Wishaw in Lanarkshire with whom I chatted for about 20 mins. He was about 55 and his great loves were fishing and bird watching. He told an amusing story about how he was trying to get his son to take an interest in the great outdoors and wildlife generally. He had taken his son and his friend to a bird hide near the Eden Estuary to see what birds they could see. While he was pointing out the oyster catchers and coots etc. ,an old man was carefully counting the no. of plovers on the estuary. After they had seen the birds and were driving home, he heard his son and his friend talking in the back of the car about how ‘sad’ it would be to end up like the old duffer counting birds all day.

I could sympathise entirely with him as I struggle to get Jamie interested in some of things I find interesting. I can only hope that some of it rubs off eventually through some osmotic process!


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Pittenweem to Kingsbarns. 11 Miles

August 8, 2005

Fife Coastal Path BookClick here for a guide to the Fife Coastal Path

From Pittenweem, head out East along the Fife Coastal Path to Anstruther and its smaller neighbour Cellardyke. From Cellardyke the path carries along passed an organic pig farm, across a rough track next to the Caiplie Rocks; unusual weathered sandstone rocks just onshore. The next town is the last in the East Neuk of Fife, Crail. It also happens to be where I live!

From Crail the path heads out to the furthest point east in Fife at Fife Ness. From there the route turns north west in the direction of St Andrews.

Today was going to be a different day because I knew that I was going to walk to my house and then beyond it. Up until now because I had been walking towards ny home with each walk. Having decided to walk counter clockwise and start at the English Border, every walk so far was taking me towards home. But now I realised I would reach a significant milestone (for me anyway), where after today, every walk would take me further away from where I lived.

It was a beautiful day when I set off and I passed through the quite harbour village of Cellardyke early in the day and I reached Crail by midday. I stopped at the house and made a celebratory and ceremonial roll with agmmon then set off again in the aftrenoon towards Kingsbarns. I headed east until I reached the furthest point East you can go in Fife, and suddenly I was around the corner and walking north west instead of east as I had been for the last 80 miles or so.

Fifeness is a more of a point of land and there are only a couple of houses associated with the Coastal station that is located there. The Crail golf course juts down onto the beach and Crail is the 7th oldest golf courses in the world as it was founded in 1787

Next to the beach there was a cave marked on the map which is known as Constantine’s cave as this was where King Constantine was reputedly killed by the vikings in 874 AD. (See photo) Also on the beach there is a stone marked on the OS map called the “blue stone”. Legend has it the devil hurled a large stone (stane) from the Isle of May in the hope of damaging Crail Parish Church. Apparently the stone split in mid air, half landing at the church gate where it still lies. The other half landed near Fife Ness on the beach.

Offshore runs a reef that has claimed many ships and boats, The North Carr rocks lie at the end of a tidal reef approximately 1¾ miles off Fife Ness where the headland juts out into the greater Firth of Forth and North Sea. These Rocks had already taken its fair share of shipping over the years. In his “Account” Robert Stevenson lists a decade of losses (1800-09) – in all some 16 vessels were known to have been either shipwrecked or stranded there. In 1809 a floating buoy was moored off the rock, but, due to the strong tides and currents, it broke adrift five times in four years! On Stevenson’s advice, therefore, the Northern Lighthouse Board decided to mark the rock with a stone beacon surmounted by a bell. For a full acoount visit http://www.bellrock.org.uk/stevensons/stevenson_carr.htm

Further on, the path follows the shore and skirts around the Kingsbarns Golf Club. This course is a new addition to the links courses around the Fife coast, but has already won accolades and ranks in the top 50 courses to play in Europe. I have only played it once myself, but I would agree – its setting is stunning and looks as if it has been established for many years.

NEW! See the campaign for a National Coastal Path for Scotland. Click HERE

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