April Fool: Council to charge walkers for using Fife Coastal path

The path is being done in tarmac.
The path is being done in tarmac.

Below is our 2018 April Fool story. Were you fooled?

Fife Council has plans to charge people to walk the coastal path, we can reveal.

It is set to install a tarmac path right round the Kingdom – and introduce turnstiles at key points.

The shock moves will be unveiled on Sunday, and are expected to net an extra £19.75m in tourism spending with the potential to rake in some £100m.

Officers have been studying plans to charge per mile, with the possibility of a ‘hop on, hop off’ ticket for people doing large stretches across a single day.

They are also working on installing payment machines which will allow people to pay using the same contactless technology found in supermarkets.

And anyone who wanders on to the path without paying will face on-the-spot fines from a team of inspectors.

The new tarmac path will have a fast lane for cyclists and walkers in a hurry, and a slow lane for folk who like to dither and take pictures.

In order to tap into the night-time market, it is also expected to be illuminated to allow adrenalin seeking cyclists to make the journey after dark.

And that could open it to staging a cycle version of Le Mans 24-hour race which could bring some of the world’s top competitors to a new Tour De Kingdom.

Controversial plans to charge for taking selfies have, the Press understand, been shelved for now – but may be introduced from April 1, 2020.

It’s the biggest shake up of the management of the path which draws some two million people every year – and the council believes that, in an age of austerity and cut backs, they now have to pay to enjoy the experience.

The commercialisation of the coastal path could also see pop-up coffee shops, and mini-spas where weary walkers could get instant pedicures – local business have been invited to tender for the pitches which will be placed close to key towns to maximise the passing trade.

Safety cameras will also be mounted along the route to detect cyclists going faster than 20mph – we understand the council may opt for the contentious average speed cameras to ensure the limited are adhered to.

The moves are expected to generate huge controversy among walkers and environmental groups, and the council is on alert for any protests as the squads move in to start laying the first tarmac from Seafield to Kinghorn.

Simultaneously, squads will start work from North Queensferry, Pittenweem and through Tentsmuir Forest.

Officers have given them three months to complete the work which will include mini junctions and pedestrian crossings where appropriate.

A spokesman for the council said: “This is the future for the coastal path – a dynamic, quantum leap from folk with rucksacks and packed lunches standing and pointing aimlessly at the sea, to an exciting 24/7 invite to really experience the path in such an immersive way.

“We want it to be thrilling and exciting – and the revenue generation opportunities will be immense.”

The full launch of the Fife Coast Tarmac Path will be on Sunday, April 1.