Pittenweem on the Fife coastal path
Pittenweem on the Fife coastal path

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Route No. 306 - Wednesday 12 August 2009
Elie, St. Monans, Pittenweem,
Anstruther, Cellardyke - 11km
Fife coastal path, Scotland . . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base.
View the route in Google Earth

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 371 St. Andrews & East Fife at 1:25000


This week we are staying in a relative's holiday cottage in Cellardyke on the Fife coast in Scotland. We have come with our daughter and family and we provide the built-in baby sitting. Today it's our day off so my wife and I are going to walk a bit of the Fife Coastal Path

Looking from Elie harbour across the sands to Earlsferry at the other end of the bay
Looking from Elie harbour across the sands to Earlsferry at the other end of the bay

Looking across Wood Haven to Elie Lighthouse from the fife coastal path
Looking across Wood Haven to Elie Lighthouse from the Fife coastal path

We left the broad sands of Elie & Earlsferry behind us and followed the coastal path around a small bay called Wood Haven. Across the bay we could see Elie lighthouse standing on Elie Ness.

It was a reasonably good weather forecast for today and our son-in-law drove us to the village of Elie on the Fife coast. He dropped us off by the harbour at map ref. NT493999 on the route of the Fife Coastal Path

Elie lighthouse, built 1908 & standing on Elie Ness
Elie lighthouse standing on Elie Ness

Lady's Tower, circa 1750, Lady Janet Anstruther's summerhouse
Lady's Tower, circa 1750, Lady Janet Anstruther's summerhouse

It was built for Lady Janet Anstruther around 1750. Local legend says that she went skinny dipping in the sea.

Just a little further on the path brought us to Lady's Tower. This is a stone summer house above Sauchar Point overlooking the sea.

Me sitting in Lady's Tower
Me sitting in Lady's Tower

Coastal path by the East Links near Elie
Coastal path by the East Links near Elie
All the thistles had flowered and gone to seed . . .
All the thistles had flowered and gone to seed . . .
. . . but the humble knapweed did a reasonable impression of a thistle flower
. . . but the knapweed looks a bit like a thistle flower

Heading towards Ardross Castle on the coastal path
Heading towards Ardross Castle on the coastal path

Sea Mayweed
Sea Mayweed

It turned out that these crumbling walls are the ruins of Ardross Castle built in the mid 1300's on a site which was given by King David II of Scotland to William Dishington who was then the Sheriff of Fife.

We continued along the coastal path and about 2km from Lady's Tower we came to a ruin at map ref. NO508007, next to a large farm.

The disused railway by the coastal path
The disused railway by the coastal path

The little sandy bay below Ardross Castle
The little sandy bay below Ardross Castle

Looking back to the ruins of Ardross Castle - the site was given by King
Looking back to the ruins of Ardross Castle - the site was given by King David II of Scotland to William Dishington, Sheriff of Fife, in the mid 1300's

Approaching Newark Castle
Approaching Newark Castle

Newark Castle was the Sandiland family seat until 1649, when David Leslie bought the lands of Abercrombie and St Monans including the castle.

Just over a kilometer from Andross Castle we came to the ruins of Newark Castle at map ref. NO516012.

The ruins of Newark Castle
The ruins of Newark Castle

Looking back along the coast from Newark Castle
Looking back along the coast from Newark Castle
Rose Bay Willow Herb (fireweed)
Rose Bay Willow Herb (fireweed)
Blue Cranesbill amongst the sea mayweed by the path
Blue Cranesbill amongst the sea mayweed by the path
Cattle on the coastal path at Newark Castle
Cattle on the coastal path at Newark Castle
The ruins of Newark Castle
The ruins of Newark Castle
Approaching St.Monans on the Fife coastal path
Approaching St.Monans on the Fife coastal path

St.Monans church
St.Monans church

We made our way through the village and stopped in a pleasant little cafe for a morning coffee. After our coffee we walked down to the harbour and followed the coastal path out of the village.

About 500m further on we came to St. Monans Church on the edge of St. Monans village. The path skirted the church wall along the rocky shore to the village.

St.Monans church
St.Monans church

The harbour at St.Monans
The harbour at St.Monans

Approaching the salt pans from St.Monans
Approaching the salt pans from St.Monans

The windmill pumped sea water into the tanks and fires were lit to evaporate the sea water off leaving the salt behind. In the 1600's and 1700's this was an important industry.

Just beyond the village we came to a windmill at map ref. NO532018. In front of the windmill are a series of grassy hollows. These are all that remains of the Salt Pans. These were pits or tanks, each one inside a small building.

Windmill at the salt pans near ST.Monans
Windmill at the salt pans near St.Monans

Looking back along the coastal path from the edge of Pittenweem
Looking back along the coastal path from the edge of Pittenweem

Pittenweem
Pittenweem

A side harbour at Pittenweem
A side harbour at Pittenweem

We looked at some of them but the price tags were a bit rich for our living room. The harbour is still a busy working fishing port and we stopped in a cafe just off the harbour for our lunch.

From the salt pans we followed the coastal path into Pittenweem. It was the Pittenweem arts festival when artists exhibit their paintings all over the town including private houses, for public viewing.

Fishing boats in the harbour at Pittenweem
Fishing boats in the harbour at Pittenweem

Small fishing boat cutting through the swell
Small fishing boat cutting through the swell

Painted Lady butterflies . . .
Painted Lady butterflies that . . .
. . . that will soon migrate to N. Africa to overwinter
. . . will soon migrate to N. Africa to overwinter

Fife coastal path between Pittenweem & Anstruther
Fife coastal path between Pittenweem & Anstruther

Small fishing boat off Anstruther
Small fishing boat off Anstruther

We made our way along the water front past the harbour. A few kilometres off the coast here is the Isle of May, a National Nature Reserve, a breed place for many kinds of sea birds and a colony of seals.

After lunch we followed the coastal path away from the harbour and out along the coast for just over a kilometer to the edge of Anstruther.

Billow Ness on the edge of Anstruther
Billow Ness on the edge of Anstruther

The harbour in Anstruther
The harbour in Anstruther

The Isle of May a few kilometers off shore from Anstruther
The Isle of May a few kilometres off shore from Anstruther

Two female Eider ducks in Cellardyke harbour
Two female Eider ducks in Cellardyke harbour

The whole walk had been 11km and it had taken us a little over four hours to walk including our cafe stops and continual pauses to view the scenery, and the rain held off until after we were back at the cottage.

We continued along the streets to the tiny harbour at Cellardyke. The path continues along the coast from here but we stopped at Cellardyke where we were staying in a holiday cottage.

Redshanks feeding in Cellardyke harbour
Redshanks feeding in Cellardyke harbour

Cellardyke harbour on the Fife Coastal Path
Cellardyke harbour on the Fife Coastal Path