Kilrenny and Cellardyke are only three miles from Crail. A short car or bus trip. This is an easy walk which took us 1 hour twenty minutes to complete. Suitable for all ages.
Kilrenny and Cellardyke – How to get there:
The village of Kilrenny is just off the A917 between Crail and Anstruther. It is often overlooked by visitors to the East Neuk but its distinctive church tower and attractive little cottages make Kilrenny well worth a visit. There are two roads into the village however I would recommend the second right at the west end as the better of the two.(See picture below) Then take the first right, then left following the sign marked “Picnic Area”. This road will take you to a car park where you can park for free all day.
The 95 bus (hourly service from Crail) stops on the main road if you prefer to take the bus.
The car park is part of Kilrenny Common and there are picnic tables and a childrens play area. A path from the common leads to Innergellie Woodland Walk.
Kilrenny Upper and Lower Commons were improved for recreational purposes by the Town Council of the Burgh of Kilrenny to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. the Common was formally opened on the 20th of July 1890 by Sir Ralph Anstruther of Balcaskie BART.
Innergellie Woodland Walk
The woodland was part of Innergellie House which is the large house you can see from the path. The woodland was bequeathed by Lady Skiffington of Innergellie to the Margaret Skiffington Trust in order that the local community could gain access and enjoy the many birds and wild flowers. Look out for greenfinches, chiff-chaffs, linnets, tree creepers, willow warblers, buzzards, tawny owls and great spotted woodpeckers.
A number of plants and flowers cover the woodland at different times of the year such as winter aconites, red campion, germander speedwell, lesser celandine, wild daffodils and numerous ferns.
The 200m all abilities footpath passes through a mixture of native woodland and takes you back on to an old packhorse trail which leads you back to the common.
Kilrenny and Cellardyke Circular Walk
From the common we walked into the village taking a left and down through Routine Row with its attractive little cottages. The road turns to the right and takes you up past Kilrenny Church. We followed the road out of the village toward the main road. We then crossed the road and took a left up the slight incline past Smithy Cottage on the right. Follow the pavement up until you come to a sign marked “Footpath to Coastal Path”. Follow the farm track which takes you to the Fife Coastal Path. On a clear day you can see the Isle of May. For more details on our trip to the Isle of May see our blog by clicking this link.
Take a right and follow the coastal path toward Cellardyke. You will soon come to Kilrenny Mill Caravan Park, the old bathing pool on the left and a childrens play area. For the more energetic youngsters or adults for that matter there is East Neuk Outdoors featured on our blog Active Fife for Teenagers.
Cardinal Steps Bathing Pool
During the 1930’s a group of local residents formed a group called Cellardyke Improvements Fund and proceeded to raise funds to build an outdoor bathing pool. It was named Cardinals Steps after Cardinal David Beaton the Lord Chancellor and Archbishop of St Andrews who landed there. Interesting to note at that time the area was known as Siller Dyke.
The pool was a major attraction for the locals and visitors from the 1930’s until the 1960’s when the local council would no longer take responsibility for maintaining it. Thankfully outdoor swimming is seeing a revival and there are moves afoot to bring the pool back to life. The pool is currenlty used for canoeing by East Neuk Outdoors.
The Toon’s Green
The large expanse of grass to the right is known as the Toon’s Green. At the top of Toon’s Green is the war memorial.
Toon’s Green or the Braes was gifted to the people of Cellardyke by Captain Alec Rodger famous for the 1866 China Tea Race. The area was used to lay up the boats at the end of the Lamas Drave fishing season. Look out for Captain Alec Rodgers house Taeping at Cellardyke Harbour. There is a small plaque on the front of the house.
Continue along the road until you come to Cellardyke harbour
For many years Cellardyke Harbour was known as Skinfast Haven. Local fishermen referred to it as the “Skimfie”. The breakwater dates back to 1452 and is thought to have been built by Dutch dykers both men and women.. By 1579 Skinfast Haven was described as a new sea port. The local laird John Beaton of Kilrenny agreed to improve the piers and collect landing fees from the local fishermen. The pier was destroyed by a great storm in 1623 and the harbour declined suffering from poverty and decay. However fortunes were restored by 1747. In 1813 after many fatal disasters the Town Council petitioned the Convention of Royal Burghs of Scotland to improve the harbour as it was used by other fishermen from Newhaven Fisherrow and Prestonpans.
The great storm of 1898 reduced the breakwater and pier to rubble. Major reconstruction took place using stone and concrete, however this reduced the size of the harbour entrance. The storm and the increasing size of the fishing boats resulted in the decline of Cellardykes fishing industry with most of the boats transferring to the larger harbour at Anstruther.
At the far end of the harbour you will come to the Haven. The Haven is a good place to stop for a coffee, lunch or a pint.
Kilrenny and Cellardyke – A Short Walk back to Kilrenny
From the Haven continue up the hill or the street marked Shore Wynd. Half way up follow the steps on the right. At the top of the steps take a right and follow the straight road back to the A917. Take a right and follow the cycle path back to Kilrenny.
If you have followed my directions correctly this is the same road you drove into Kilrenny.
Kilrenny and Cellardyke circular walk took us 1 hour and twenty minutes. It is an easy walk with lots to see and do on the way. Suitable for all ages.
Stay at Sandcastle Cottage
If you would like more information about accommodation at Sandcastle Cottage in Crail then click on this link. If you would like to more information about other walks in the area then click this link.
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