Elie and Kilconquhar Loch is a short 5 mile circular walk which will take you approximately 2 hours. Paths are flat and well trodden. Some road walking back to Elie with minimum traffic.
From Crail take the A917 to Elie. If travelling by car take the first left as you come in to Elie. There is a large car park at Ruby Bay where you can park all day for free.
If travelling by bus the Stagecoach 97 bus takes approximately 40 minutes from Crail and stops in the centre of Elie.
Elie and Kilconquhar Loch – Start of the Walk.
The walk starts from the entrance to Elie House which you will find on the right hand side of the road as you enter Elie from St Monans. Look out for the sign “Dawns Boarding Kennels”. Follow the tree lined tarmac road to Elie House.
Elie House was built by Sir William Anstruther in 1697. In 1853 the house was acquired by William Baird who in turn sold it to Sir Michael Nairn (2nd Bt) in 1928. Sir Michael lived there until his death in 1953. After Sir Michaels death his son Sir George Nairn (3rd Bt) decided that the house was too large to be occupied as a private residence. He sold the house to the Marie Reparastrice Order of Nuns to be used as a retreat.
Elie House was sold again in 2000 and was converted into apartments.
The estate with the exception of the house is owned and managed by the Trustees of the Elie Estate Trust under the stewardship of Sir Michael Nairn (4th Bt) and his son Alex Nairn who lives on the estate with his family.
Just past Elie House you will come to some more houses. Take the right fork passing the houses on your left and continue through a wooden gate and a green metal gate. Shortly after the gates you will find the right of way sign indicates a left turn. Ignore this and continue along the path toward Kilconquhar Loch. To get the best view over the loch keep walking until you come to the boathouse.
Kilconquhar Loch is jointly managed by Elie Estate and the neighbouring Kilconquhar Estate. The loch is an important breeding and wintering site for a range of birds. Little Grebes can be found nesting in the reed beds as well as Swans, Moor Hens and Geese.
In 2009 Elie Estate and Kilconquhar Estate entered into a mangement agreement with Scottish Natural Heritage.This was to ensure the loch continues to be managed for the benefit of wildlife and the environment. The use of boats is stictly controlled by Fife Council and Scottish Natural Heritage in an effort to preserve the peace and quiet of the natural surroundings.
Back toward Elie & Earlsferry
Continue along the path until you come to a gate with stone pillars and a gatehouse. Take a left turn keeping to the path along the side of the road until you reach the entrance to Broomlees Farm. At this point you want to cross the road following a narrow road back to Earlsferry. This is a straight road until you come to the entrance to St Ford Farm and a bridge. The bridge was built to take the road over the East Neuk Railway line which ran through the East Neuk towns from Leven to St Andrews. Very little of the railway track remains. If you want to find out more about the East Neuk Line and travel on it by train read my blog “The Railway Walk Kingsbarns to Crail”.
Although this is road walking there is very little traffic and it is a very pleasant walk through open coutryside. The hill with the mast on the top to your right is Kincraig. For a view from the top of Kincraig read my blog Leven to Elie on the Fife Coastal Path.
As you come into Earlsferry you will cross Elie Golf Course with the clubhouse on the left.
Elie & Earlsferry Golf Club
Golf has been played here since 1589 when a royal charter was granted giving permission to use the links.
The Elie & Earlsferry Golf Club dates from 1832 and is one of the oldest clubs in the UK. The course was designed by Old Tom Morris and James Braid in 1895.
The present club house was founded in 1875.
An unusal feature is the periscope from the Royal Navy submarine HMS Excalibre scrapped in 1968. The periscope which is located in the starters box allows visitors to view the course before play.
Elie & Earlsferry
At the end of the road you have a choice, you can take a left turn toward Elie High Street or continue toward the beach. We decided to do some beach walking. Elie has one of the best beaches in the East Neuk and is popular with holiday makers.
At the end of the beach we walked along South Street. Look out for the medieval lintels above the doors on a couple of the houses. At the east end of South Street you will come to a street called simply The Terrace where you will find a public seating area. An ideal spot to stop and take in the view over Elie harbour or in our case eat our lunch.
A walk to Elie would not be complete without a visit to Carols Ice Cream shop in the High Street. Elie’s 16th Century Church is a landmark and worth a look and directly opposite the ice cream shop.
Follow the road back toward the harbour. Just before you come to the Ship Inn turn left up Admiralty Lane which will take you back to the car park and the end of the walk.
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