In the shadow of Kingdom’s iconic bridges

Fife Coastal Path''North Queensferry beneath the Forth Rail bridge
Fife Coastal Path''North Queensferry beneath the Forth Rail bridge

Counting down to Bob’s Walk 2013: Blog No 2

(August 3-11, 108-mile charity fundraiser along Fife Coastal Path for Maggie’s Fife)

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ALLAN CROW is in training to walk the Coastal Path before joining Bob’s Walk next month. Here’s his latest blog ...

First rule of walking Fife Coastal Path - always head in the right direction.

I guess it comes under the ‘‘stating the obvious’’ but alighting in North Queensferry on a sun-kissed Saturday I meandered down to the start point, saw the familiar, re-assuring sight of the blue coastal path badge on a lamppost and followed the arrow.

My destination was Dalgety Bay and then Aberdour, and, as I chugged up the hill out of the village I suddenly realised I was heading towards to Forth Bridge. Deploying that most basic of sat-navs - called ‘common sense’ - I guessed I was going east rather than west. Or was it south rather than north? Directions aren’t my strong point ...

Either way, Aberdour wasn’t on the end of this road, although there was a fair chance I’d encounter places like Rosyth if I kept going!

One u-turn and directions from the local postie later - and a pause to discuss the merits of Bruce Springsteen’s recent Glasgow gig after he clocked my t-shirt (the first of three such chats over the course of the day; cultured folk on the path, I tell you - they know their music!) - and I found the entry point back into the Kingdom.

The walk along towards St David’s Harbour is fabulous.

The views looking up towards the rail bridge take your breath away, while the surrounding countryside is rich in colour and wildlife.

The noise from terns nesting on what is left of the old pier shattered the Saturday silence - must have been hundreds of birds out there! - but elsewhere all was tranquil as small boats sailed up the Forth, and folk were out taking advantage of the magnificent weather.

And round the next corner ... a scrap metal yard on the outskirts of Inverkeithing as nature gave way to industry and the path wound its way round to Ferryhills Road before delivering my first stop for a welcome cuppa at a cafe in Inverkeithing High street.

Revived and refreshed it was on to St David’s Harbour with its wonderful waterfront apartments - how magnificent are those river views? - and a small beach which kept kids enthralled all afternoon, and on to Dalgety Bay where I became slightly lost in perfectly manicured suburbia.

One minute I was making way for a kid on horseback - a muckle big horse it was too! - and the next I was trying to find my route back on to the path after losing count of how many perfect gardens and glorious borders I’d seen.

Out of nowhere the re-assuring sight of a coastal path market steered me back on track - judging by the official guide I think I missed a bit! - to take in St Bridget’s Kirk which dates back some 900 years. I felt about as old as the ruin! (probably looked as craggy too!).

My destination, Aberdour, was just two miles away, and the final stretch really was a delight to stroll along - green, sun-baked and with only the occasional pounding of feet of a jogger or whirr of a cyclist’s wheels to disturb the near silence.

Total distance walked? A guesstimate of around 11 miles. Time taken? Something like three and a half hours, but in the searing heat, it felt twice as long ...

One very welcome baguette at McTaggart’s deli in Aberdour and I was fit for nothing more than a train journey back to Kirkcaldy.

The road sign saying ‘‘Burntisland, two miles’’ was just one step too far!