Fife Coastal Path – Leuchars to Tayport

There was plenty to interest us on the Leuchars to Tayport section of the Fife Coastal Path. Having checked our BBC Weather app we determined that an 11 am start would see us miss early showers.  We planned to park our car at Leuchars and catch a bus back later from Tayport.  This section of the coastal path has decent public transport links at both these points, but nothing in between. It’s around 11 miles walking within Section 7 of the Fife Coastal Path (Leuchars to Wormit Bay).

For a return bus timetable click this link

We parked by St Athernase Church in Leuchars (picture below) and quickly found signs directing us along Earlshall Road. This road passes behind Leuchars Army Base towards the marshland which would be the first feature of our walk. There are well-maintained boardwalks crossing the marsh, and when we walked the grassy parts of the path had recently been cut.

Leuchars to Tayport

Top Tip

Do not wear shorts on this part of the walk even on a hot day. Make sure you have a hat and are well covered up. There are a lot of clegs, flies and ticks in the trees which can give you some irritable bites.

moorland section of Fife Coastal Path

The road towards Tentsmuir flanked by beech trees

The paths within Tentsmuir Forest were easy to follow and met up with the roadway for part of the walk. At the end of the road there is a picnic spot and barbecue area with tables and brick sections to rest portable BBQs.

A welcome spot for a picnic or lunch

We were also surprised to find a creperie set up – The Crepe Shack, which offered hot and cold drinks and sweet or savoury crepes which had us wishing we hadn’t brought a picnic!

Tentsmuir Beach

Suitably refreshed, we headed off from there to the glorious beach section, opting to walk on the sands rather than the forest paths which were waymarked.  It was difficult to resist becoming a beachcomber at this point. There were so many shells to look at, but I tried to resist picking too many up as we still had some way to go.  We enjoyed views back towards distant St Andrews. The beach walk is one of the highlights of this section of the walk.

beachcombing on Tentsmuir Beach

As we neared Tentsmuir Point we found a fence across the beach marking the limits of the Scottish Natural Heritage Nature Reserve. We opted to turn towards the paths at the edge of the forest seeking some firmer footing to speed up our walk.

Look out for Grey Seals on the sandbanks

Just as we reached the edge of the dunes, I spotted a line in the far distance. I trained my zoom lens on it to realise that we’d seen the magical sight of the grey seal colony. I’d seen this many times in photographs, but never yet in reality.  Binoculars confirmed the sighting, but we didn’t venture any nearer. We just left the seals to enjoy basking on the distant sandbanks (it was low tide as we walked).

Seals at Tentsmuir Point

Tentsmuir Point saw us discovering old war-time relics, a statue of a Highland cow (we didn’t meet the real herd), and masses of orange and black striped caterpillars.

a colony of caterpillars

We followed the forest paths emerging onto the beach once more. Now we had Tayport in sight, and Broughty Ferry Castle across the Tay.  We reached Tayport a little after 5 pm, so around 6 hours in total for our 9 mile walk.  Not a fast time, but with so much to see, we’d taken lots of photographs and enjoyed a leisurely and varied walk.

Things to look out for on this walk

Relics from the Second World War

The Second World War railway wagon you see below was discovered in 2010. It was used to transport ammunition and supplies as well as for target practice by air force pilots training from the nearby RAF station at Leuchars.

A target would be mounted on the wagon, covered by a small motor. It moved along the rail track forming a moving target for aircraft gunners.

Leuchars to Tayport Target practice

The Ice House

The beaches and estuaries around Tents Muir were important for salmon fishing. The Ice House below was orginally build around 1852 to store ice gathered from local ponds during winter. The ice was then used to preserve the fish before shipping it down south.. Layers of heather and straw packed around the ice provided insulation creating a primitive but effective freezer.

Leuchars to Tayport - the Ice House

The March Stone

The stone below was erected as a boundary marker for fishing rights on 1794.The term “march stone comes from the 16th century meaning of ‘march’ as a boundary. The stone inscription is now difficult to read but the inscription says, “This stone was set up in the year 1794. The march between Shanwell and Old Muirs salmon fishing is a straight line from the top of Normans Law to the low water”.

This march stands in a straight line and acted as a survey point towards Normans Law a prominent hill 20km to the west.

You can climb Normans Law which is just of the coastal path in the section between Balmerino and Newburgh.

The March Stone

This section of the coastal path – Leuchars to Tayport is truly an amazing walk and quite different from other sections we have covered previously.

I would thoroughly recommend this section to you.

Looking towards Tentsmuir Point from the Fife Coastal Path at Tayport

If you would like to read our guide to walking the Fife Coastal Path then click on the link below:

Fife Coastal Path Our Guide

If you would like to read about walking the Fife Pilgrim Way then click on the following links:

Walking the Fife Pilgrim Way Culross to Dunfermline

Walking the Fife Pilgrim Way Kennoway To Ceres

Walk the Fife Coastal Path and stay at Sandcastle Cottage Crail

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Post updated March 2024

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