Let’s start at the very beginning: Kincardine
Having completed the Fife Coastal Path’s 117 miles in July 2015, it’s time to reflect on the earlier stages of the walk and give you some ideas if you wish to extend your walks in beyond the East Neuk sections, which are easy to walk from Sandcastle Cottage, Crail.
Although I’d walked lots of the central sections before going to the beginning, it took some planning to get to the first stage and experience the (current) starting point. Some years ago now, the original coastal path was extended to bring the whole of the coast of Fife into the long-distance footpath. It had initially started from the Forth Bridge round to the Tay Bridge, but now extends from Kincardine right round to Newburgh.
To get to Kincardine, I caught a Stagecoach Bus from Dunfermline Bus Station to Kincardine, having set out from my base in Edinburgh. I’d decided to take the bus as I was walking solo so didn’t want to take the car, preferring to walk onwards rather than in a circular route. For most of the early sections of the Fife Coastal Path, it’s easiest to start at Dunfermline Bus Station, from which most routes covering the area seem to radiate.
There’s an arch marking the start of the Fife Coastal Path, and from the start you can see the original Kincardine Bridge. It was built in the 1930’s and is still in use today, although there’s another bridge alongside (the Clackmannanshire Bridge, opened in 2008). I wasn’t sure when I set off how my walking times would go, so opted not to go on to the bridge to take photographs from there before heading off in the direction of Culross.The Longannet Coal-Fired power station was still in full operation when I passed, following the inland route you are obliged to take due to the station’s position on the coast. Recent news indicates that the power station’s days are numbered, with closure likely during 2016. I was surprised to find that it had only opened in 1973, thinking that it must be much older.
Looking back at the photographs I’d taken, I seem to have concentrated on more macro views of local flora and fauna in this section, given that the wider views were dominated by the Power Station, or back towards Grangemouth on the other side of the Forth, so it was good to see broader vistas (albeit over the railway tracks) looking on towards Culross Pier and the bay where all was calm and still on the November day of my walk.
A short stroll along quiet tarmac-covered paths brought me to the village of Culross, where recent activity in filming the US-hit TV series Outlander means that it will now be firmly on the trail of Diana Gabaldon’s legion of fans who will want to come to see the scenes around the village which was doubling as the fictional ‘Cranesmuir’ in the series. The gardens of Culross Palace are well worth a visit, for glorious views and interesting facts about medieval life.
Although I’d only been walking for around 4 miles, checking the map and my timings I found that bus schedules (an hourly bus to Dunfermline) and my requirement to be back in Edinburgh for early afternoon meant that an early lunch at the Biscuit Café in Culross would be the end of my walking for the day.The hearty breads on offer included a particularly delicious rye offering which was toasted, not quite melting the generous portion of Scottish cheddar and delicious ham. It certainly set me up for an afternoon of walking towards Limekilns, but unfortunately a bus back to Dunfermline and a change for Edinburgh was to be my option that afternoon.
I’d started off from Kincardine around 10:30, and arrived in Culross around 12. Previous visits to Culross meant I didn’t spend much time around the village that day, but it’s certainly worth a visit to see the old buildings, Palace and Abbey.
Information about the Fife Coastal Path.
Visit Scotland’s Outlander Film Locations Map, including Culross.
Base yourself at Sandcastle Cottage, Crail as an ideal place from which to walk the Fife Coastal Path from Leven through to the end-point at Newburgh (Sections 4 to 8 on the Footprint Map). We look forward to welcoming you there.