Walking the East Neuk Fife Coastal Path

Many of our guests at Sandcastle Cottage like to walk sections of the Fife Coastal Path, and it’s easy to do so from the front door of the cottage where you can join the path at Crail Doo’cot and head towards either St Andrews or Anstruther.  We decided for a change to tackle the section between Anstruther and Elie (approximately 6-7 miles) by parking at the long-stay car park by Anstruther Harbour, and then returning from Elie by means of the 95 bus (hourly service).  This section of the path is not as strenuous as others, and offers plenty of opportunities to stop off and visit the East Neuk villages.  The walk took about 4 1/2 hours, but one of us took around 100 photos on the way, so meandering rather than striding out!

Anstruther, East Neuk

Walking through Anstruther

Before we started our walk we paid a quick visit to the VisitScotland Tourist Information near the Scottish National Fisheries Museum in Anstruther to pick up a copy of a map of the path. There’s a good one which folds neatly into sections within a plastic wallet (provided with the map), which was sufficient for our needs as we knew the route and it’s well signposted in this section.  On our way through Anstruther we saw the drifter “The Reaper”; the May Princess which takes visitors to the Isle of May; noticed the freshly refurbished Dreel Halls; took a closer look at the Shell House and planned a return visit to the Dreel Tavern (all photographed above).

Pittenweem, East Neuk

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Continuing our route along by Anstruther Golf Club, and enjoying the wonderful views on the way, we were soon pottering around Pittenweem Harbour; passing the Ice Cream shop (a family favourite); seeing the fishing boats; spotting an eider duck taking a rest on the steps and then heading west along the coastal path where we were reminded of the annual Pittenweem Arts Festival, and took a look back at the view from the top of the path.

St Monans, East Neuk
Fife Coastal path at St Monans

Between Pittenweem and St Monans we stopped a while on the beach near Pathhead Nurseries to take a look for some fossils.  Keeping our eyes on the windmill at St Monans salt pans, we had no difficulty in following the path, although there are some signs of erosion at present after the winter storms. We spotted a notice in the window of the East Pier Smokehouse announcing opening from Easter Weekend, and looked longingly at the menu at Craig Miller’s 16a West End, promising ourselves a visit there soon.  We stopped for a while at St Monans Kirk, where there was a volunteer to welcome us and encourage a brief visit.  Fortunately we were able to take advantage of the low tide and follow the coast-hugging path rather than have to take the inland diversion.  At this point the path is more exposed and rugged, and we were walking into the wind for a while as we passed Newark Castle and then on past Ardross Farm.  We decided to continue on to Elie rather than divert to Ardross, although if we’d started a little earlier in the day that would have been a definite option!

Elie, East Neuk

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As we headed between Ardross and Elie, my camera battery ran out… so apologies for the quality of the images in our last selection.  We were happy to celebrate the end of our walk with a swift drink at The Ship Inn, although we’d arrived at the time in the late afternoon when we were too late for lunch and not late enough for dinner.  Having checked the times for the 95 bus at the bus stop in the main street, we had just enough time to enjoy a quick coffee and a “little something” at Elie Deli before heading back to Anstruther.

Find out more:

Fife Coastal path

Pittenweem Arts Festival (each August)

Visit the Isle of May

Fossil Hunting at Pittenweem

Stay with us at Sandcastle Cottage, Crail and enjoy your walks along the Fife Coastal Path.  We’ve gathered some more information about Walks in Fife on Pinterest.  You might like to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to find out more.

We look forward to welcoming you to Sandcastle Cottage.

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