Fife Coastal Path

The Fife Coastal Path is a beautiful trail which stretches for around 100 miles and can be tackled on foot in easy stages. The path runs all the way from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of Tay, and is clearly marked.

Walkers can take advantage of the other trail sections to dip in and out of dozens of food outlets with the chance of sitting down to eat, buying snacks to eat along the way, or finding a treat to take
home.

The path can be tackled in short sections, or as a marathon taking a few days. It takes in large and small towns, beautiful fishing villages, and rugged stretches of coastline.

The Kingdom of Fife Cycleways can also be used for a varied food adventures. The website is packed with information about routes, weather conditions, news and events and helpful advice.

Kincardine to Limekilns

Path Length: 11 miles / 17.5 km
Estimated Time: 4.5 hrs

Kincardine to Limekilns will take you on a cultural stretch of 17.5km (11 miles), leading you over iconic bridges, and through nature reserves.

It is important that you follow the waymarkers on your walk, to keep you on the right track. This route should take approximately 4 – 5 hours.

Begin at Kincardine bridge and follow the route 76 cycle path east. Heading alongside the railway line as you get closer to the historic village of Culross. From here you will come to the edge of Torry Bay Local Nature Reserve, continuing onto Limekilns and Charlestown. At this point there is a detour to the old kilns which you may wish to take if you have time, or you may choose to stroll along the old promenade to the harbour.

 

Food & Drink Highlights:

Culross Palace & Gardens – this beautifully preserved town is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. You can buy freshly grown seasonal herbs, fruit and vegetables from the organic palace garden. Or check out the delicious coffee and cakes in Bessie’s Café.

Nelson’s of Culross at Blair Castle serves award-winning ice cream made on the farm.

Find out the latest on Fife Coastal Path here.

Food From Fife Members within this segment:

  • Culross Palace

Limekilns to Burntisland

Path Length: 17mi / 27.4 km
Estimated Time: 6.5 hrs

From the village of Limekilns follow the route to the ruins of Old Rosyth Church, the HM Naval Base and Rosyth Castle.

Pass under the Forth Road Bridge and iconic railway bridge into Carlingnose Point Nature Reserve and view the Edinburgh skyline.

From here the path will lead you to Port Laing beach, through the surrounding woodland with its rich bird life, and past an active whinstone quarry.

The path will then cross Inverkeithing and follow the coast to St David’s Harbour at Dalgety Bay to Downing point. Here you can take in spectacular panoramic views of the Firth of Forth.

From here you will walk past Donibristle Chapel and onwards to Aberdour, with its two beaches, 14th Century castle and gardens and 16th century dovecot.

Take the path over Hawkcraig cliffs, through Starley Burn and continue on to Burntisland.

 

Food & Drink Highlights:

Tucked under the iconic Forth Bridge, the Wee Restaurant at North Queensferry serves up lunches and dinners using the best local ingredients.

The pretty village of Aberdour offers a range of places to eat including the family run fish restaurant Room with a View, tucked away on Hawkcraig point, below the cliffs looking out to Edinburgh and the Islands of the Forth.

There’s also the Aberdour Bakery Company and the Aberdour Post and Pantry, a delicatessen in the local post office.

Further down the coast in Burntisland, MacAuley’s Fruit & Veg Merchant is a really good shop with a wonderful array of produce.

Find out the latest on Fife Coastal Path here.

Food From Fife Members within this segment:

  • Garvock House Hotel
  • Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries

Burntisland to Buckhaven

Path Length: 14mi/22.5km
Estimated Time: 5- 6hrs

The walk from Burntisland to Kinghorn lets you appreciate the remaining geological impact of the Binn Volcano which shaped the landscape when it erupted over 300 million years ago, leaving marine fossils that have been stored in the limestone strata ever since.

Passing the 16th century Seafield Tower you may spot seals or seabirds from the coastline before steeply descending to Pathhead sands and Ravenscraig Castle built by James II. Here you can take a diversion to Ravenscraig park and view the beautiful gardens.

From here you will follow the path to Sailor’s walk and the restored 13th century Harbourmaster’s House in Dysart, which overlooks the Forth.

Passing the iconic winding gear of the Frances Colliery, a reminder of the once booming coal industry in the area, the path will lead you up and over Blair Point onto the private burial grounds of the Wemyss family in West Wemyss. This extensively restored village also boasts the 14th century Wemyss castle and famous, but dangerous, Wemyss caves.

From here follow the route alongside Macduff castle and along the old tramline to Buckhaven.

 

Food & Drink Highlights:

In Burntisland, MacAuley’s Fruit & Veg Merchant is a really good shop with a wonderful array of produce.

Kirkcaldy has a range of places to eat but if you’re looking for something to munch as you go, Puddledub Butcher Shop on the High Street has good selection of local food including a selection of IJ Mellis Cheese, freshly baked bread from Fisher & Donaldson and a selection of local fruit and vegetables. There’s also their own range of pies and sausage rolls making it a good port of call for picnic provisions.

For something really unique, why not try out the training restaurant at Kirkcaldy’s Fife College. The bistro on the St Brycedale Campus offers amazingly good value lunches and a la carte dining.

Find out the latest on Fife Coastal Path here.

Food From Fife Members within this segment:

Buckhaven to Elie

Path Length: 13 miles / 20km
Estimated Time: 4-5hrs

Heading on from Buckhaven you will pass through Methil and Leven, linked by the Bawbee bridge (bawbee meaning half penny, the original toll for crossing).

From Leven head along the beach towards Lundin Links, at high tide an alternative route among the dunes is suggested. The path runs alongside the local golf course so caution is advised when following this route.

The way markers will then lead you across Keil Burn and onto Lower Largo, the birthplace of Alexander Selkirk who was the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

Following the abandoned railway you will come to the coastline and along the beach, again there is an alternative route through the Dumbarnie Wildlife Reserve at high tide.

From here the path climbs from Shell Bay to Kincraig point. At this stage in the route there are two options, either follow the path along the top of the cliffs or you can take the Chain Walk, a series of chains set into the cliff, not recommended for the faint hearted. Do take care and be aware of tide times. Then it’s onwards through another golf course to Earlsferry and Elie.

 

Food & Drink Highlights:

The Old Manor Hotel is a great place to sit back and relax, taking in the seaview and Fife Coastal Path. They serve a range of carefully prepared dishes throughout the day, including afternoon teas and a Sunday carvery.

Elie is a popular place for visitors to Fife, who enjoy the outstanding sandy beaches. The Ship Inn has long been a popular choice for those looking for a pint and a meal by the fire or something from the barbecue in their outdoor area.

For something with even more of a seafood vibe, try the Harbour Café on the pier, which serves up seafood and sandwiches with an emphasis on local produce.

For something to eat as you go, check out the family baker, GH Barnett which has a great selection of cakes and savouries. Slightly further along the path is the family run Ardross Farm Shop, which has an outstanding good range of produce from their own farm and other producers. You’ll find a great range of ingredients for a picnic here.

Find out the latest on Fife Coastal Path here.

Food From Fife Members within this segment:

Elie to Cambo Sands

Path Length: 16 miles (25.8 km)
Estimated Time: 5 – 6 hours

The terrain on this section of the path can be more challenging, with this stretch following from Elie to Kingsbarns or Cambo, through pretty fishing villages. (Those with limited mobility should be aware of this, with a number of uneven steps which can be slippy.) This route should take between 5 and 6 hours, with rugged footwear essential for all weather, especially in winter.

Between Elie and St Monans, the start point is Ruby Bay, which was once known for its Red Garnet precious stones. For those with an architectural interest, take a short detour to Lady Tower and the Elie Lighthouse. With magnificent views, the Lady Tower was built for Lady Janet Anstruther in the 1760s as a summer house to enjoy hosting her friends. Carrying on along the path, you will be able to see Ardross and Newark Castles, which are sadly both in ruins.

Given the coastal tides, there is a high tide diversion which will take you past fields and over a bridge, before returning to the low tide route. Following the path will give you excellent views of St Monans Church, which was built in the 14th century.

You will pass the St Monans Windmill which was built to carry seawater into adjoining salt pans for drying salt flakes and has now been restored. This area of coastline has limestone beds which hold many fossils. Continuing along will take you through Pittenweem, which has a cave visited by St Fillan in the 7th century and is now Fife’s main working fishing harbour.

You will walk around the outside of the golf course towards the four old Royal Burghs which form Anstruther. From this village, you can take a boat trip to the Isle of May nature reserve in the summer, or visit the Scottish Fisheries Museum and a herring drifter called The Reaper. The Reaper was built in 1900, and you may recognise it as having featured in the American TV series Outlander.

Walking through Cellardyke, which has an exceptionally pretty harbour, you will head through fields which may have livestock so do take care and avoid this route if there are mothers with their young. A halfway marker between Cellardyke and Crail, the Caiplie Cabes are weathered sandstone which make for a lovely photograph. You will also pass the old salt works before taking some uneven stone steps into the village of Crail.

Once again, this fishing village is a perfect example of the Fife coast, with a 17th century harbour at its heart and a collection of shops. For those with limited mobility, the next section may be challenging as the path to Fife Ness is rougher and narrower in places.  You will walk through the stunning Kilminning Coast Wildlife Reserve, run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. There may be livestock in the area at certain times of year so do exercise caution.

Further along the route will take you past King Constantine’s Cave, where he was killed in around 874. You will be walking along the most easterly point in the region of Fife at this time. Do consult tide guides and only attempt the next section of the walk when there is low tide. Passing the golf course you will walk beneath the Reanderston cliffs.

You can then follow the path over a bridge cross Cambo Burn and through dunes, although there is a sandy track or an alternative route will take you along Kingsbarns beach.

 

Food & Drink Highlights:

Elie is a popular place for visitors to Fife with a good number of of cafes and restaurants. For something to eat as you go, check out the family baker, GH Barnett which has a great selection of cakes and savouries. Just outside Elie is the family run Ardross Farm Shop, which has an outstanding good range of produce from their own farm and other producers. You’ll find a great range of ingredients for a picnic here.

A range of food producers are based at Bowhouse just outside St Monans and it also hosts monthly market weekends with street food and makers from across Scotland. There’s also a laid back café, The Millhouse based there serving wood fired pizzas and great coffee.

The picturesque harbour at St Monans is home to the renowned seafood restaurant, Craig Millar @ Number 16. Both the views and the food are outstanding.

The next fishing village along is Pittenweem, which has some great pitstops for the hungry walker including the brasserie-gallery, The Dory, serving up brunch, lunch and dinner with an emphasis on seafood. There’s also the cosy local pub, The West End Bar with its open fire and beer garden. Close by is the home of the Pittenweem Chocolate Company at The Cocoa Tree – a chocolatier with a cosy café that’s famous for its range of hot chocolates.

As you round the coast and head towards the north and St Andrews, Kingsbarns Distillery is an ideal pitstop. Tours of the whisky distillery and blending experiences in the gin cottage are available and there’s also a good café serving up soups, sandwiches and locally baked cakes and scones.

Find out the latest on Fife Coastal Path here.

Food From Fife Members within this segment:

Cambo Sands to Leuchars

Path Length: 14 miles (22.5km)
Estimated Time: 5.5 hours

This section begins on Cambo Sands, which is also known as Kingsbarns Beach and ends at Leuchars, a beautiful stretch of coastline with some tidal routes and challenging terrain. Again, do check tides before your journey, livestock will also be grazed along the route so be sure to keep dogs under control.

If walking in the colder months, the section between Kingsbarns and Boarhills can be muddy as it is a rough track so again, sensible footwear is advised. You will walk along the coast between fields and a stony shore, before coming down onto the beach and heading towards Babbett Ness and St Andrews. This next section can ONLY be walked at low tide. The journey is rewarded with the Buddo Rock, a striking stack of pink sandstone and the Rock and Spindle, which are in fact the remains of a geological volcanic plug.

From here the path rises from the back and there are a number of steps to Kinkell Ness, before heading down to the East Sands of St Andrews. In warmer weather keep an eye out for keen watersports fans who may be around.

At this point, you can choose to either walk through the town of St Andrews and refuel with something to eat in one of the many local eateries, or head over the cliffs, taking in St Andrews Castle.

By following the path, which winds behind the Old Course Hotel, you will come to Guardbridge, where you can take a foot path to Coble Shore point. This is a viewpoint of the Eden Estuary Nature Reserve, with an ever-changing view throughout the seasons and many species of wildfowl to look out for. Guardbridge was at one point a busy harbour which was built in 1419.

 

Food & Drink Highlights:

There are whisky tours available at Kingsbarns Distillery and blending experiences in the gin cottage are available and there’s also a good café serving up soups, sandwiches and locally baked cakes and scones.

With stunning views over the cliffs to St Andrews Bay, Fairmont St Andrews is beautifully situated and has a range of eating and drinking options from the St Andrews Bar & Grill with views over the sea, the family-friendly La Cucina and Kittock’s Den sports bar. The hotel is also known for its afternoon teas and Sunday Brunch buffets are quite an event.

St Andrews has a terrific selection of places to eat and drink for every budget. The Grange is a converted 17th century farmhouse serving up modern Scottish dishes or further into town, The Adamson is a bustling brasserie with a nice line in cocktails and a good Sunday roast. Playfairs at The Ardgowan Hotel has a cosy atmosphere and serves up award-winning Scottish produce and a good line in steaks.

The Old Course Hotel is something of an icon and serves up top notch meals in its Road Hole Restaurant and more relaxed fayre in its other outlets. Afternoon tea in the orangerie provides views over the most famous golf course in the world.

Those looking for something lighter might want to watch out for CombiniCo, which serves great Japanese dishes to sit in or take away.

For food on the go, Fisher & Donaldson is a renowned baker, well known for its oatcakes and its addictive fudge doughnuts. On South Street, Jannettas Gelateria is a world famous ice cream parlour, serving more than fifty flavours at any one time.

Fish and chips lovers are well served in St Andrews with two award-winning outlets: The Tailend with its wet fish counter and Cromars further down Market Street.

Those looking for a cosy pub need look no further than local brewer, St Andrews Brewing Company which has two outlets in town. They brew their own range of beers and ales that have a strong local following.

Just outside town, Balgove Larder is a much loved farm shop and its Steak Barn is deservedly popular. With a food fired barbecue at its centre and communal seating, there’s a relaxed atmosphere and frequent Night Market events.

In Guardbridge, Eden Mill Distillery offers tours of its whisky distillery and brewery. There’s a shop and chance to taste the award-winning drinks.

Find out the latest on Fife Coastal Path here.

Food From Fife Members within this segment:

Leuchars to Wormit Bay

Path Length : 16 miles/25.8 km
Estimated Time : Allow 6-7 hours

Leaving Guardbridge will take you into Leuchars, bordering the military base and gives you chance to explore the 12th century Romanesque Leuchars Church. You will also cross Earlshall Muir, rugged dune lands via boardwalks which surround the privately owned Earlshall Castle.

Again a haven for flora and fauna, you will come to the Tentsmuir Point National Nature Reserve, where you can glimpse animals such as seals, red squirrels and many interesting insects and birds. From there you will walk parallel to the coast, passing by the now redundant ice house, which was once used for keeping salmon chilled. After walking through the Tentsmuir Forest Forestry Commission National Nature Reserve, you will find yourself on Tayport Heath. From here there are excellent views of the river and Broughty Ferry Castle, and you can walk along the disused railway line to Tay Bridge.

The easiest section of the route, from Tay Bridge to Wormit Bay is largely pavements, showing the diversity of the Fife landscape.

 

Food & Drink Highlights:

In Guardbridge, Eden Mill Distillery offers tours of its whisky distillery and brewery. There’s a shop and chance to taste the award-winning drinks.

The Rhynd Café is also nearby and handy for the beautiful beaches at Tentsmuir. Situated on a berry farm, there’s a range of locally produced baking and dishes served.

As you head along the banks of the River Tay, the Tayport Distillery offers tours and the chance to taste its award-winning spirits made with local fruits and grains.

Further down the path, Newport-on-Tay has a number of food and drink options including the popular KitschnBake, with views over the River Tay to the V&A in Dundee.

Minicks the Butcher also has an outlet here and is useful port of call for those looking for award winning pies and sausage rolls.

Find out the latest on Fife Coastal Path here.

Food From Fife Members within this segment:

Wormit Bay to Newburgh

Path Length: 15 mile (24.1 km)
Estimated Time: 5-6 hours

The final section of the Fife Coastal Path, has been split into three sections as the difficulty of each varies, allow 3-5 hours for walking.

First section: leave the Wormit Bay Car Park and follow the gently winging route which follows the River Tay to Balmerino, with a journey distance of 2.6 miles. Some sections of this walk are steep but the climbs are short and are a pleasant mix of pastures and woodland.

The second section is from Balmerino to Newburgh, at 11 miles. This is quite a lengthy distance and includes almost reaching the summit of Normans Law. With pastures, woodlands and narrow roads, you start at Balmerino Abbey and follow the beach path until the Birkhill woodland.

From there, follow the path over bridges and follow signs until Normans Law is in sight. Take the winding path up and into the woodlands, over Glenduckie Hill and take in the view before descending into Newburgh. The final section takes in the lovely waterfront of the town, and through the commemorative arch, marking your completion of the Fife Coastal Path.

Congratulations!

 

Food & Drink Highlights:

Newburgh has a range of cafes, including the East Port Garage & Café, which has a good range of homebaking and breakfast/lunch options.

Lindores Abbey Distillery marks the oldest recognised site of whisky making in Scotland and the distillery has stunning views over the River Tay. Tours are available and you can try cocktails made with their aquavitae. There are also wider eating options in The Refrectory.

Find out the latest on Fife Coastal Path here.

Food From Fife Members within this segment:

  • Lindores Abbey Distillery

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