Although a little longer than our typical walk, this is essentially a gentle stroll. The history of the area is evident all around you and there are wonderful views of the coastline, and out to prominent features in the Firth of Forth such as the Isle of May and Bass Rock.
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Duration: 3.5 hours.
Transport/Parking: Stagecoach East Scotland is the main bus operator in Fife whose routes serve most towns and villages as well as the express network to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. Check timetables. On and off street parking in Pittenweem.
Length: 10.950 km / 6.84 mi
Height Gain: 115 meter
Height Loss: 115 meter
Max Height: 39 meter
Min Height: 5 meter
Surface: Moderate. Mostly hard surfaces. One section on a grassy track may be muddy after wet weather.
Child Friendly: Yes, if used to walks of this distance.
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead on public roads and near farm animals.
Refreshments: Options in Pittenweem. We can recommend the Clock Tower Cafe.
This walk offers a stimulating contrast between the historic and attractive coastline of the East Neuk of Fife, and the fertile rolling farmland that lies behind the coast. “Neuk” is the Scots word for nook or corner, and the East Neuk is generally accepted to comprise the fishing villages and immediate hinterland on the northern shores of the Firth of Forth. Pittenweem and St Monans are classic East Neuk seaside villages, with a patchwork of warmly coloured pantile roofs and crow-step gables tumbling down to pretty harbours, showing the influence of trade with the Low Countries in centuries past. Pittenweem, with numerous winding streets and alleys, is the busiest fishing port in the East Neuk, reflected in the colourful and bustling harbour, and early morning fish-market. St Monans is a smaller community, now mostly a tourist destination, and with fine views to North Berwick, the Bass Rock and the Isle of May. On the eastern side of St Monans we pass an old windmill that once powered a salt panning industry, and, on the western side, an impressive church with 14th C origins perched on the rocks just above the water-line. Heading inland, the route passes through the tiny hamlet of Abercrombie and then on to the ruined Old Church within the beautiful landscaped policies of Balcaskie House, before passing the mansion house itself on the way back to Pittenweem. Balcaskie House originates from the 17th C and is notable as the home and early work of architect Sir William Bruce. Once described as “the ideal of what a Scottish gentleman’s home ought to be“, the gardens are aligned on the Bass Rock, with the terraces and perspective inspired by French Baroque gardens. This varied route provides an excellent introduction to walking on the Fife Coastal Path, with an appreciation of the countryside beyond the coastal villages.