Bob’s Walk for Maggie’s Fife is underway - Bob Grant’s most ambitious fundraiser yet. Fife Free Press editor Allan Crow is taking part, tweeting as he walks at @fifefreepressed and blogging every night.
You can donate online: BobsWalk2015
We started walking at 9.30, and the last steps were taken just as the clock hit 7.00 p.m. - our longest, most challenging, exhausting, demanding but also utterly rewarding day.
Our journey of 16.2 miles took us from Fife Ness to Kingsbarns, Boarhills, St Andrews and Guardbridge, but it wasn’t the distance that was the killer - it was the testing terrain on the toughest part of Fife’s coastal path.
We always knew it was going to be a hard going day, but this one pushed everyone to their limits.
Assembling at Crail Golfing Society for a photo-call, we quickly got on to the other side of the boundary wall to begin, pausing to let a few four-balls tee-off, including one which howked - that may not be a technical term -his shot in an arc away over our heads and deep into the sandy beach. The fact we found two other balls within seconds suggests more than a few golfers shared his sense of direction ...
With the weather again kind to us - it was dry, with a cooling win, and warm enough to walk in a t-shirt - we made good time along the beach until we ran into an overgrown path that started to slow us down and stretch our party into a long single file.
The closer we got to Boarhills, the tougher it became as the path was covered in vegetation. It really is in need of some instant attention - and a strimmer or two - before it becomes inaccessible.
The punishing stoney beaches slowed us down too as we each picked our way carefully from rock to rock, each finding a different path to zig-zag our way to the stone wall which we hopped across into Kingsbarns Golf Course.
It offered an easy walk, and a lovely donation from some of the golfers whose path we seemed to cross several times.
On to Boarhills where we found a lovely spot for lunch and then down to the waterside and up into farmland before the gentle turn back towards the coastal path which leads, ultimately, into St Andrews.
It’s a fantastic walk, but one which tests any walker to their limits as it throws up obstacles, steep descents, climbs which leave you breathless... and an incoming tide that doesn’t wait for stragglers.
It’s also a path that deceives. You get a glimpse of the clubhouse that sits below the Fairmont - our much needed coffee stop - but then leads you on a trail that snakes up and down so much you can no longer see your destination.
Every ascent is tough, none more so than the steps up to the Fairmount. I stopped counting after 80 steps largely because I could only wheeze, and counting was just too painful!
Refreshed and restored, we returned to the path, following the path which was well strimmed in parts, overgrown in others. It was anything but a gentle stroll!
The rocky beach landscape was equally tough, and we were grateful for the handle and step-up to clamber over the large rocks just as the tide started to lap at its base.
Try doing all of that on crutches and you get a glimpse into the scale of the challemnge being undertaken by Bob Grant. Then try doing it after walking constantly for seven days ... however tough it is, physically and mentaslly, he’ll also tell you it’s one of the most special parts of the coastal path.
Once over, the challenges continued as the long slow descent into St Andrews seemed to take forever.
We arrived well behind schedule, and kicked on through the town and past the Old Course where preparations for The Open are well advanced.
From there to Guardbridge it was simply a case of heads down and keep going; one foot in front of the other and ignore the aches and pains. The three miles are easy to do on the cycle path, but, they were every bit as tough as the rest of the journey.
But for all the aches, we wouldn’t have skipped it for a second - the route from Fife Ness IS the true test for any coastal path walker.
So, mission accomplished!
On saturday we head from Guardbridge to the Tay Bridge; a 12-mile journey that takes us through the heart of Tentsmuir.
The finish line is almost in sight ...
>> Bob’s Walk is sponsored by event partners Mackays Marmalade, route partner FMC Technologies, plus ACA Sports, Shadow Blinds and Dundee & Fife Chiropractic Clinics.
>> Huge thanks to O’Connell’s, Kirkcaldy, and Morrisons’ Invertiel store for their generous donations.
>> Thank you to Baird’s Bar, Elie, for their very kind donation. Please visit their Facebook page and ‘like’ it - and if you are in town, pop in!
>> You can donate online: BobsWalk2015