Burntisland to Dysart

Walking the Fife Coastal Path Section 3 (Burntisland to Buckhaven)

We’ve been making a good pace in our 2016 quest to walk the Fife Coastal Path, starting at Kincardine and walking all the way round to Newburgh (117 miles).  We’re using a combination of our own car and public transport at present to reach then start/finish point, and so it was that we headed to park at Burntisland Links to head along the coast.  There’s ample free parking around the Links and other free car parks signposted from the main street.  There is a railway station in Burntisland so you can use trains to get you to the starting point, or buses from either Leven or Kirkcaldy/Dunfermline should you need to.  You’ll find information boards at either end of the promenade, giving further information about the route and stopping points nearby.  There’s also an initiative to encourage beach visitors to help with picking litter, and a local businessman has provided small boxes which are filled with plastic bags, and there are litter pickers you can use to help out.  We’re regular Marine Conservation Society beach clean up volunteers, but this time we were on a mission to walk, so no time to hang around on Burntisland beach!

fife coastal path sign board

The information board at the far end of Burntisland Beach had a handy 2-month tide timetable, and a quick check led us to discover that we’d just passed low tide and so had an ideal opportunity to walk on the beach rather than heading up to walk beside the road – definitely a bonus as the road stretch of this section is much less interesting than walking along the beach.

Looking back towards Burntisland at low tide:

Burntisland Beach

You’ll find as you walk that there’s a sandy path in between the rocks to your left and the pebbly beach to your right.  Although it was low tide, the beach still had quite a lot of surface water so we kept our feet wet and stayed by the coast line.

Towards Pettycur

It wasn’t long before we reached the big sandy stretch of beach at Pettycur Bay, where there’s a long sandbar out to sea.  We could see a group of people picking something from the beach at the edge of the water, but we assumed it was a survey rather than a foraging expedition as the shellfish are not safe to eat on this stretch of coast.

Pettycur sandbar

High up above us were the static caravans around Pettycur Bay, which you can see even from the other side of the Forth on a clear day.  Unfortunately on this particular June morning there was a haar which wasn’t quite lifting, so our visibility was limited.

Cliffs at Pettycur Bay

As you reach Pettycur Harbour, it’s worth peeking at the little sheds round the harbour – one has an interesting collection of art from found items, but the artist wasn’t there when we visited.

Artists at Pettycur Bay

As we climbed up from the beach we were looking towards Inchkeith Island, and this little pied wagtail sat still long enough for me to catch a shot with a few glints from the sea behind, but again the visibility was too poor to see the great views you sometimes get from here.

pied wagtail

A climb up the hill by the roadside and we were soon at Kinghorn where we decided a cup of coffee was in order.  Great decision, as the Carousel Coffee shop made us very welcome and not only had home made scones on offer, but home made jams too.  Rhubarb and apple and raspberry jams were served up with our scones.

Carousel Cafe Kinghorn

Inside the Carousel Coffee Shop – there’s a gift shop with cards too.

Interior Carousel Cafe Kinghorn

Only just remembered a pic before tucking in to the tasty home-made scones.  Plenty of fruit and delicious jam too.

scones at the Carousel Cafe

We could easily have sat at the windows of the coffee shop watching the tide come in and the boats passing, but it was time to press on with our walk.

view from Carousel Cafe

We headed down to Kinghorn beach, along the road, and then followed the signs up hill and under the railway viaduct, passing another caravan site and finding the Coastal Path winding past lots of early summer flowers.

Kinghorn bay

This path on this part of the coast does rise and fall a bit, and reminded us of coastal walks we’d done in Cornwall near Looe.

back on the trail at Kinghorn

We saw pretty little wild geraniums.

wild geraniums

Looking back towards Kinghorn perched on the distant cliff, and down on a solitary walker who was following on behind.

back towards kinghorn

It was the right time of year to see drifts of thrift – some deep pink and some almost white.

thrift on Fife coastal path

Looking up towards the railway line we were following we could also see lots of daisies and other wild flowers.

wild flower meadow

As we passed a section where there was a steep drop, we mused over the fact that this wall had been built to the cliff edge, but if you climbed up the steps at the side, you’d just be heading over to another steep drop – presumably there had been some coastal erosion.

winding wall

We could see the ruin of Seafield Tower in the distance, and just make out the little village of Dysart too.

seafield tower

We were coming to the part of the walk I’d been looking forward to most – showing my walking companion where the seals would most likely be found.  But first I spotted a heron, perfectly still and reflected in the calmer sea nearer the shore.

heron and reflection

We were amazed to see how many seals there were basking in the sunshine.  As the tide was coming in, there was a bit of activity as they moved from rocks which were gradually being submerged and found a better position further in shore.   We even remembered to press the video button on the camera a couple of times, so you can see the seals moving about.

Finding a new spot in the sun.

burntisland-dysart-22

It’s also a good time to spot eider ducks with their ducklings close to the coast.

eider ducks at SeafieldAs you pass the ruins of Seafield Tower, you find the remains of the industrial heritage of the area too – with old concrete littering the shore from the days when there were mines at Seafield Colliery.

seafield tower view

Although our views were hazy, the wild roses were in bloom and smelling amazing too.

white roses wild

As you approach the outskirts of Kirkcaldy, there are picnic benches and a large Morrison’s store, which the path leads you past and on to the long expanse of Kirkcaldy Promenade.

on to Kirkcaldy

We popped in to the main street for a few provisions and got distracted by the new shops for a little while, then back to the promenade to find the path again.  I thought these tulips in barrels at the end of the prom were worth a quick snap.

kirkcaldy in bloom

Current industry as we headed out of Kirkcaldy and began to climb up to Ravenscraig Castle – unloading grain at Carr’s Flour Mills.

unloading the grain

I confess that we made a bit of an error here.  We should have descended to Pathhead Sands and found a bench to have lunch, but I couldn’t remember whether you could walk along below Ravenscraig Castle, so opted to stay by the roadside till we reached Ravenscraig Park.  Pity, as it was a bit chilly still as we sat in the park with the haar still keeping the temperatures a little on the low side.

bay by Ravenscraig Castle

There are lots of intriguing little inlets and walls round the edge of the beaches in this section between Ravenscraig and Dysart, and it would have been good to have sat and rested for a while but we were already thinking about our destination and the afternoon was wearing on.

turret at Ravenscraig

We wove through woodlands and past a poetry sculpture before reaching Dysart, where we’d decided to call it a day. It’s a pretty little harbour which gained international fame as the filming location which doubled as the 18th Century port of Le Havre in the Starz production of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.

dysart in view

Fortunately, after all the filming, it’s all peaceful again.

dysart harbour

We headed for the Harbourmaster’s House where Fife Coast and Countryside Trust have their HQ and there is a little exhibition in the basement of information about the Fife Coastal Path as well as the North Sea Trail.  There’s a cafe on the ground floor too.

harbourmaster's house

And if you want to see how the transformation was achieved on Outlander, here’s a little snippet where you can see the effects!

A video posted by Outlander (@outlander_starz) on

Stay at Sandcastle Cottage in Crail

If you’re planning on walking the whole of the Fife Coastal Path over a week or a fortnight, then Sandcastle Cottage is situated right on the path at mile 65.5 of the 117 mile walk.  From Crail you can catch the 95 bus to Leven Bus Station to walk in this area.  We’d love to welcome you to Crail, so check availability at Sandcastle Cottage by putting your preferred start date into the ‘Book Now’ box on this page for more information.

Further information about the Fife Coastal Path:

Fife Coastal Path – map of route from Burntisland to Buckhaven

Facilities at the Harbourmaster’s House, Dysart

More photographs from our walks on the Fife Coastal Path – Section 3

Our Pinterest Board about Walks in Fife

Keep Scotland Beautiful – Burntisland Beach – listed along with our local beach at Roome Bay in Crail in the 2016 awards.

See the Scottish Fisheries Museum’s “The Reaper” at Anstruther Harbour, and visit the Museum – a fascinating insight into the lives of those who made their living from the sea

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