Walk the Fife Coastal Path – Leuchars to St Andrews

Sometimes, when walking the whole Fife Coastal Path, it’s necessary to walk little sections which join parts of the walk which have already been completed.

So it was today as I set off to complete the short section of the Fife Coastal Path (around 6 miles) between Leuchars and St Andrews.  I decided to walk in this direction, towards St Andrews, as it was the time of the 2015 Open Golf Championships and I thought it would be good to see the views towards the golf courses as I walked.  To start the walk, I parked in St Andrews (finding a free car parking space – result!), then walked to the St Andrews Bus Station and caught the Stagecoach 99 service to Leuchars Station, where we’d started our Leuchars to Tayport section earlier in the week.

Walk the Fife Coastal Path
The Old Guardbridge Paper Mill now owned by the University of St Andrews providing renewable energy

From Leuchars Station, I picked up the fife coastal path signs and headed towards Guardbridge where the old paper mill has now started to house industry once again as the Eden.Mill distillery and brewery are now based there, and it’s possible to have tours of their facility.  There are often tastings and special events too.  It was a little early in the day for me!

The Coastal Path signs take you round the back of houses and parallel to the main road, bringing you out at the end of the village, and I ended up turning back to find the sign for the Eden Estuary Centre where there is a hide which is looked after by the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, and which you may enter if you phone the Ranger to get the password for the key box.  As the tide was full in and there didn’t seem to be much to see today, I kept going.

Walk Fife Coastal Path
These stumps are all that is left of the railway bridge which crossed the River Eden at Guardbridge

Traces of former bridges over the Eden are visible from the footbridge by the current bridge.  The path continues along the side of the main road, sharing tarmac space with the cycle route.  I found a detour to explore, marked Eden Estuary Local Nature Reserve, and spent a little while looking at the many meadow brown butterflies which I found there, as well as small birds and some seabirds offshore above the estuary.

Walk Fife Coastal Path
Female Meadow Brown Butterfly

Walking by the road was a bit of a slog though as the road was busy with traffic heading to St Andrews for the Open Championship practice days.  I liked the sign for Easter Kincaple farm which combined the golf and farming theme which epitomises the interests of the area.

Walk Fife Coastal Path
Easter Kincaple Farm

As time had already passed the normal lunching hour, I returned for a visit to Balgove Larder where there is a café as well as a very well-stocked farm shop.  You’ll also find the Steak Barn, and The Night Market several times throughout the summer.

Walk Fife Coastal Path
Balgove Larder Farm Shop

Between Balgove and the last part of the coastal path in to St Andrews there were some detours in force due to the stands being in position for the Open Golf.  I finished my walk with a visit to the new café at the British Golf Museum, which has amazing views over the Old Course as well as towards the West Sands.  You can see the new building in the photograph below, to the left of the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse. If the golf had not been on, I’d probably have finished off with a stroll along the West Sands.

Walk Fife Coastal Path
Royal and Ancient Clubhouse Old Course, St Andrews

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