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Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code


Postby Bimbling » Mon Oct 18, 2021 7:37 pm

Apologies if this has already been discussed. We're looking to meet up with family and walk from Kingsbarns to Crail and back. Looked it up for timings etc. and read the walk guide.
Surely it can't be correct in the time of the Land Reform Act and SOAC that walkers have to wait for the tide to retreat to continue their walk below the high water mark?

Can anyone advise on this strange situation? Anyone approached Fife Council access officer and/or forum?

Fair warning: if the tide is in I'll be "taking responsible access" on the nearest land available.
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby Giant Stoneater » Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:18 pm

This might be the part that Walkhighlands has a description of
"STAGE 5
The path soon reaches Constantine's Cave - seen on the left. Local legend has it that King Constantine I (one of the early Pictish Kings) was killed in this cave following a battle with the Danes in 874. Beyond, the route rounds a fine little sandy beach. Continue between the Balconie Links and the sea until a sign indicates where it is necessary to take to the shore itself; on the following section of the walk there are several parts which are impassable at high tide. If the tide does block progress at any point you must wait for it to recede. After a short distance a path climbs up from the shore but it soon descends once more and crosses a stile before taking to the beach again to pass beneath some crags. Beyond these it is possible to continue along the grassy shore beside the sea once more."

Maybe because the path runs right beside the golf coarse and therefore you are not allowed onto the golf coarse to bypass the beach path at high tide.
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby Bimbling » Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:46 pm

Thanks for your thoughts.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which codifies the Land Reform Act describes how I may take responsible access to cross any golf course and describes how this may be safely done. It also provides advice to golf course managers as to how to provide for my safe and legal passage. If it is a golf course which thinks that providing that safe and legal passage is by 'not going on the golf course', then they have it wrong. https://www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot/practical-guide-all/golf-courses

This is why I wondered to myself whether there are steep cliffs or some such practical obstacle.

Oh and just noticed the "Fide Coasta Path..." typo... Doh
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby rockhopper » Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:52 pm

My wife is a golfer and I know that people do walk across the course from time to time so was a bit curious when I saw this thread.
Found the following:

Scottish Outdoor Access Code, 2005
Part 2 ACCESS RIGHTS

A summary of your access rights
5 The main places where access rights do not apply are:
• golf courses (but you can cross a golf course provided you don’t interfere with any games of golf);

Where and when you can exercise access rights
2.2 Everyone, whatever their age or ability, can exercise access rights over most land and inland water in Scotland, at any time of day or night, providing they do so responsibly2. These rights do not extend to all places or to all activities (see paragraphs 2.11 to 2.15). Provided you do so responsibly (see Parts 3 and 5 of the Code), you can exercise access rights in places such as:
• golf courses, but only for crossing them and providing that you do not take access across greens or interfere with any games of golf;

The references to golf courses do talk about "crossing them". Maybe "walking along" isn't "crossing" ?
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby denfinella » Mon Oct 18, 2021 10:13 pm

I doubt it's because you're not allowed to walk on the inland side. Could it just be because there's no easy diversion (e.g. because of cliffs, or because it's rough / overgrown / pathless)? I've walked the route but it was ages ago so can't remember the terrain properly.

You could also look up the tide tables and time your walk so the tide is out for that section.
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby nigheandonn » Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:19 pm

As far as I can remember, the path runs right along the edge of the golf course - it's somewhere beyond that that the only flat ground is below high water.

No doubt there is some kind of way around further back, but then you're no longer on the route of the trail - which is all they're saying that it's impossible to access. But please do go and report the tide to the council for blocking your access rights - there is some kind of precedent from the 10th century or so!
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby Bimbling » Tue Oct 19, 2021 9:13 am

Oh, very good. King Canute etc. I suspect with predicted sea level rises, it'll be more than Fife Council needing to hold back the tide.

Anyway, back to the question. I'm only wondering why walkers would need to wait for the tide when the whole of Scotland is available to one side, and why an alternative 'high-tide' route is not described.
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby mmill » Tue Oct 19, 2021 9:45 am

There are plenty of places along the coast where walker and golfer co-exist. We respectfully keep out their way as far as possible, they respectfully should shout "fore" if their ball is about to hit us! (For full disclosure, I am mainly a walker, but do enjoy a round of golf when I get the opportunity, especially on a links course)

I believe this occasion is not an issue of permission, as you say there is always technically an alternative, but simply that due to the physical nature of that part of the walk, having to take an alternative significantly detracts from the enjoyment of the walk. So it is far more enjoyable to check the tides and be able to walk along the shoreline.

It is a lovely bit of coast and well worth planning so you can enjoy it to the full.
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Oct 19, 2021 10:04 am

It seems to be here https://goo.gl/maps/ZpaRQEKm1phMDFUj7, btw - you can see the path vanish. If so, it's so short a stretch that you might be as quick waiting for the tide to turn as scrambling up onto the farmland - I remember being a bit underwhelmed by it. (The other bit, north of Kingsbarns, I think would be impassable for a bit longer.)
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby Bimbling » Tue Oct 19, 2021 10:15 am

Thanks all.

Walking it tomorrow (and the tide is favourable...Thank you moon), and will get the chance to see exactly what I'm wittering on about.
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby rohan » Tue Oct 19, 2021 11:58 am

My memory of the FCP is that where there are places affected by tide, other options were available and signed but maybe my memory is playing tricks as we never had to use the alternatives.
Also we had to walk alongside golf courses at times (these seemes to alternate with green caravan parks for large sections) but collected a fair amount of golf balls off the foreshore to "sweeten" the golfers,
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Oct 19, 2021 12:31 pm

I've played golf at Balcomie a good few times in years gone by and there's definitely no issue with folk walking over it (or wasn't then) apart from the occasional near miss :roll: :lol:
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby walkerali » Tue Oct 19, 2021 4:21 pm

The very short section of the FCP between Kingsbarns and Crail which is impassable at high tide can be by-passed by scrambling up a slope, climbing a fence and walking along field edges. There is no golf course to negotiate.
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby Sgurr » Thu Oct 21, 2021 12:29 pm

Well, How did you get on???
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Re: Fide Coastal Path and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

Postby Bimbling » Sun Oct 24, 2021 12:24 pm

Exactly as walkerali described, but like I said, the tide was favourable. Good weather and had a bit of craic with the golfers. Pretty good weather. Walked from Cambo to Crail then back cross-country over the hill. Must have gone unknowingly through 'The Shire' cos we passed a Hobbit house beside the old railway line.

I got a reply from Fife council which wasn't very illuminating; "The route we have described is the official Fife Coastal Path (FCP) and we encourage users to stay on the official route this is the guidance, we provide based on coastal safety advice. Should a member of the public wish to opt to undertake an alternative route and then re-join the path that is a matter for them"

I suppose I'm not really surprised that no 'formal' alternative is described because that would require time to negotiate with landowners, and as above, there's no real necessity to do this. Still seems weird to me that the route guide should state waiting for the tide, but there we are.

Lot of statics on the route into Crail...and appears to be more to come.

Thanks for the discussion.
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