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Granny, Elemental and a lot of chocolate go on a long walk
by rohan » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:48 pm
Date walked: 29/06/2014
Time taken: 13.5 days
Distance: 242 km6 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
It was a sunny day at the lighthouse when Elemental had her brain wave; "I know Granny, why don't we walk from my house to your house?" That was early in 2013 and she was 10. She lived just outside Edinburgh and my lighthouse was approximately 144 miles north taking the North Sea Coastal Path. Her mother laughed and said "on you go" and we started to plan. We all agreed that it would be best to do it in the summer of 2014. That gave us time to fit in a few practice over-nighters with Elemental carrying all her stuff and showing that she could do it (and Granny too). Granny had a bit a of a wobble health-wise but it turned out to be nothing more than an over active thyroid so there was nothing to stop us. We also decided to raise money for Fop Action on the way as E's 12 yr old cousin suffers from this extremely rare, painful and debilitating disease for which there is no cure or treatment. Research relies on fundraising to meet the year on year costs of £100K per year at tall ask for the friends and families of the 35 UK sufferers.
Most of the route is signposted as part of the North Sea Trail, but there are always slight variations that can be explored. The easiest section route finding was the part on the Fife Coastal Path but we discovered that the most of kissing gates along the way did not accommodate a person and a full a pack so the packs had to be taken off and passed over.
Before we knew it the great day had arrived
Day 1 Ratho to Barnacle Bay
Now Elemental will admit that she maybe could be a tad quicker in the morning but we were only 80 minutes late in setting off . The forecast was maybe a touch on the hot side. This stretch of the walk had a dearth of good beaches to cool off at ....plenty of those later. DSCF9080 First off road path back of Norton House Hotel by Seal54, on Flickrr
1.5 miles under our belts and it was time to stock up on chocolate at the Scotmid in Ratho Station. My habitat for walking is up in the hills with an absence of retail but on this trip we were spoiled by being able to buy our provisions ( including a lot of chocolate) along the way. Near the end of the walk this caused a near disaster but that was another 110 miles away. The sun was shining as we joined the cycle route just off the Newbridge roundabout. We were counting bridges and as we crossed them the Forth Road Bridge became the 5th, 6th until we lost count a bit and are not sure if it was 12 th or 13 th . I spotted butterflies whilst Elemental found wild strawberries. We ate the latter and these with chocolate kept our stomachs happy until we found a surprisingly quiet and pleasant spot of grass between a petrol station and the 12th (no its not its the 13th) road bridge for our lunch.
DSCF9084 lunch at FRB by Seal54, on Flickr
Neither of us had walked over the 13th Road Bridge before, both of us want to do it again but as Elemental wrote in the diary later "The 13th Road Bridge was great but scary at the same time" When we stopped to take in the views the bridge vibrated with the thunder of the traffic. I experimented with the panoramic feature on the camera I had borrowed from my brother-in -law for the trip. It is a bridge (sorry that's not a pun) camera so somewhat smaller than my DSLR with its extra lenses and I hadn't really got the hang it so ended up using it on automatic most of the time.
[DSCF9095 Panoramic FRB by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9096 Panoramic at FRB by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9100 Panoramic at FRB by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9101 Forth Bridge by Seal54, on Flickr
Over the bridge and for the next week we would be following the Fife Coastal Path, no problems finding our way then as it is signposted all the way. In North Queensfairy we found a lovely cafe that let us use their loo and even sponsored us to boot. Thank-you Rankin's cafe. We bought ice-creams then continued on the FCP to our first beach at Port Laing.
DSCF9103 our first beach at Port laing by Seal54, on Flickr
The next bit seemed to drag but we found wild raspberries to complement the continuing supply of strawberries. We bought noodles, chicken ( Elemental) and risotto ( granny) for tea plus in a moment of weakness on Granny's part, After Eights at Scotmid in Inthekeyhole (Inverkeithing). A short break on the side of the Forth to celebrate finally moving away from the FRB which we seemed to stay at the same distance from for hours and E got stuck into the After Eights.
DSCF9107 break at Inverkeithing by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9106 Oxcars lighthouse with Inchkeith to the left and the Bass rock to the right by Seal54, on Flickr
We had good views of the first lighthouses on our trip and behind them, the Bass Rock
Although overcast the day had been warm and muggy and we were beginning to flag. We still had a few miles to go before reaching our target for the night. We passed around Dalgety Bay with its warnings of radiation ( WW2 debris containing radium dials have leaked from a landfill) and came to St Bridget's Church (NT170838), a lovely ruin that was occupied by a group of young people who were clearly going to camp and have fun there. We commented to each other that it looked a lovely spot but that it would have been too early for us to stop even if it had been vacant.
Just another 1 1/2 miles and a bit of a golf course crossing got us to Barnhill Bay. By now we had started changing the names of all the places we passed and naturally this became Barnacle Bay. Not the most level of campsites, if we had backtracked to the Southern end of the bay we would have no doubt found a lovely spot on the headland but we were both pretty tired and where we were had plenty of dry driftwood and a safe rocky beach on which to have a bonfire. We also collected a number of golf balls which would come in handy on Day 2. E wrote the diary, a task she enjoyed doing . We agreed we would take it in turns but E set a high standard with illustrations and maps as well. 16.3 miles done.
DSCF9114Barnhill Bay First campfire by Seal54, on Flickr
Day 2. Barnacle Bay to West Cat
Walking the East Coast in the summer means that the sun beats down on the tent for at least 3 hours before we wanted to get up. It also meant that having given in to E's request for After Eights the day before we had a melted, sticky mess to deal with.
[DSCF9118 Morning by Seal54, on Flickr
There was only one thing to do..... eat them.... it was after eight after all. they weren't too bad with porridge Over this odd breakfast I checked itinerary asked Elemental to check the grid ref for where we had planned to stop and we were pleased to find that we had landed right on it. The tide was falling but we had to visit the waters edge before leaving meaning again we were later than planned in setting off.
DSCF9121 BArnhill Bay by Seal54, on Flickr
There were some golfers out and about I didn't think they would be too chuffed with a couple of happy campers walking across their greens but we bartered with retrieved balls and we went on our way unmolested. The hot weather meant we had been getting through our water and we hadn't topped up the night before. No handy springs or safe burns to raid so we had to ration the last bit. However in Aberdour (Abernice as we renamed it) we stopped in at Signal Architects to say hello to a cycling architect (Donnie) that I had met on the Uig- Tarbert Ferry a few weeks before. He topped up our platypuses and not for the first time I wished that water was a bit lighter. I hadn't had any morning coffee because of the water shortage so we popped into McTaggarts coffee shop and my caffeine shortage was restored. They also gave us a donation for FOP. Onwards through the town of Abernice and a short cut through the Castle grouunds which we both agreed would be worth a return visit.
DSCF9126 Aberdour Castle by Seal54, on Flickr
We actually did not leave Abernice and Money(Silver) Sands until 11.00. and still had 12 miles to go....... We had also somehow acquired a small westie dog around Moneysands. We didn't notice him/her arrive and by the time we twigged that he thought we were a good bet there was no-one obvious looking for their dog. We left him with a pair of lifeguards who were happy to take him off our hands. He had a collar and a tag so they were hopeful of getting hold of his owner.
The next stretch to Burnt Toast started in the cool of a shaded wooded path which was a relief due to the warm temperatures. On a phone call home the previous night we had heard the news that July was set to be one of the hottest for a while. At least we would be by the coast all the way. There were more wild raspberries but also a hazard at our feet that "dogged" us all the time we were on any type of official path..... dog poo, meaning we had to watch were we put our feet. This despite warning signs of fines, dog bins and bags available. The other notable feature was the amount of litter, usually fairly absent from all but the more popular hill routes. We joked that we needed have brought anything with us as we would have found all we needed on the walk
To take our mind off the heat, and the less attractive sections of the walk through built up areas we started a poem about our walk, this kept us going through Burnt Toast and joy of joys the tide was out so after taking off our boots we headed straight out across the sands leaving the crowds of holiday makers clustered around the various attractions.
DSCF9135 selfie of dirty feet by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9129 Burntisland Beach by Seal54, on Flickr
We could see over to Leith, Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat, The Pentlands, Berwick Law and The Bass Rock. The previous night we had seen some of the lighthouses we had seen from the other side of the Forth on a walk last year. Today we had fun spotting all the landmarks, later well.....
DSCF9139 Inchkeith Island by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9146paddling across Burtnisland Beach by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9149 Panorama approaching Kingshorn by Seal54, on Flickr
Once across the beach we enjoyed a quick paddle to wash the sand off before hopping up the "Scrambled Rocks" and onto the beach at what we were now calling Queenstrumpet. The weather was still hot and sunny but clouds were building. Once passed Seafield Tower we were very much into the outskirts of Kirkwarmly. No more sandy beaches but plenty of rock pools to soak our feet in, always a good way of getting some more mileage out of them. Once we hit Kirkwarmly properly we would be on roads for a couple of miles.
There was a Morrisons on the southern outskirts which meant we could top up our water, buy a snack in the cafe and buy couscous and avocado for our tea later. We left Morrisons and there was no option due to flood defence work but to walk along the side of the A921. Car bingo relieved the boredom of this a bit but the 1.76 miles felt more like 17.6. By now skies were grey and dull but the temperature remained high. Finally we turned down into Ravenscraig Park
[DSCF9153 Ravenscraig Castle and Tower blocks by Seal54, on Flickr
Rain was threatening as we reached a tunnel that we had to go through. On the other side we were both delighted with the very picturesque village of Dysart (Di'spainting). Elemental likened the tunnel to a time tunnel and drew it on the diary map .
DSCF9155Dysart by Seal54, on Flickr
Sorry about the splash of rain on this photo
We were aiming to camp just before West Wemys ( West Cat) but with time a trickling into a big rush and rain starting we found an old spoil heap reaching down to the sea. Not the most level of campsites but made more attractive by the abundant wild flowers and butterflies. The rain was on in earnest by the time the tent was up and put paid to ideas of a bonfire. Elemental was delighted with couscous for tea noting this in the diary.
We had noticed that during the day various of the obvious landmarks moved around considerably. One minute the ski slope was ahead of us, a slight change of direction and it was behind us, ditto Arthur's seat and the Bass rock. This was particularly noticeable as we turned from mainly heading East across Burnttoast beach to North at Queenstrumpet then East again at Kirkwarmly. It became a topic of conversation for the next few days with the Bass Rock achieving "annoying status"
Both of us were suffering slightly from rucksack rubbing. Elemental's back had an angry red area and my left shoulder supported a large blister. This was a new one on me and unfortunately I discovered that I had not replaced ( from sometime ago) my large dressings in my first aid kit (given to someone else and promptly forgotten about). My rucksack was a new, lightweight one and although it was relatively comfortable it had one major drawback. The chest strap could not support the weight of the sack and kept popping off meaning I could not tighten it sufficiently so the straps slipped about on my shoulders. Elemental's issue was less clear as she had used her rucksack on a number of previous trips, always fully laden . We could do do nothing about it tonight. 14.2 miles (total 30.5)
Day 3 to Shell Bay (Shelbie)
After a wet night we woke to another sunny and already warm day, We each had a moan(ish) about the others sleeping habits. Granny snores, E sleep talks. The sun dried off the tent before we had to pack it up.
DSCF9166 Spoil Heap camp by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9164 remains of Fife coal industry by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9160 panorama at the campsite by Seal54, on Flickr.
DSCF9161 Misty Edinburgh by Seal54, on Flickr
As you can see we had been walking 2 days and still had Edinburgh right across from us
As we had missed out on a bonfire the night before Elemental was determined to have one before we left. She was so disappointed by my less than enthusiastic response I caved in. She had built the fire whilst I was packing the tent. We had apples and belvita for breakfast and enthusiastically threw on wood when all of a sudden a piece of "wood" gave off a thick plume of black smoke rising to cloud a cloudless sky. I thought Elemental had put on a piece of wood with paint on and started to give her a piece of my mind but in fact it was a very wood-like piece of plastic molding and anyone could have been fooled by it. We managed to put out the burning piece and cleared the bonfire area before we left.
DSCF9158 Ellie's fire by Seal54, on Flickr
NB the black smudge in this photo is not smoke ( although could be) the camera acquired an annoying black mark on its sensor just after the Forth Road Bridge. I have tried to edit it out of most of the photos used but some photos I could do little about it.
Already it was very warm, my shoulder and Elemental's back hurt and we weren't in the best mood as we struggled to the top of the spoil heap. 5 minutes further on we came to the perfect camping spot, level, plenty of wood etc but we didn't know this the previous night. We were soon approaching a sleepy looking West Wemys (cat because we came across one as we walked through the quiet streets). 2 fishermen Sandy and John (?)gave us a donation.
DSCF9169 West Wemys by Seal54, on Flickr
We saw a community cafe advertised.... perfect place for a loo stop plus water refill only it was closed on Tuesdays. Inquiring of a local ( the only one around) he told us that there were loos and a cafe at East Wendy "just 5 minutes away". It didn't look like 5 minutes on my map and we were carrying heavy, pain inducing packs. He didn't look that fit himself and I can only think he thought we had a car..... 45 minutes after a pleasant enough walk along the seashore later we at last reached the outskirts of East Wendy. The best way into the town wasn't clear but we eventually found a lovely wee cafe., The East Wemys Coffee Shop. The proprietor couldn't have been nicer and would have been happy to let us use the toilets and fill our water for us for free but I had spied a pharmacy and wanted to leave Elemental with our packs at the cafe so bought her a hot chocolate. The pharmacist gave us 10 dressings FREE OF CHARGE when he heard we were doing a charity walk. We continued along the FCP feeling that East Wendy was one of the friendliest places we had come across. The dressings made a huge difference to both of us.
We soon came across the Wemys caves. These have unique drawings in them but neither Elemental orI are comfortable about being in a cave so we were content just to read about them before continuing to Buck(doeheaven)haven.
DSCF9171 wemys caves by Seal54, on Flickr
The FCP takes the cliff top but I was aware that once we hit Doeheaven there would be another few miles of town before we hit Leven (Eleven) links. Our stomachs told us it was lunch time and frustratingly there was absolutely no suitable food outlet. Either the shops were boarded up, or were hairdressers ( how many hairdressers does a town need?) Eventually we found a Nisa but although it sported a vast number of sandwiches they all seemed to be the same meaty flavour. I am vegetarian and Elemental did not like what was on offer. However she was saved by a four pack of baked beans. A short way on we found a grassed area in this rather run down industrial town and Elemental proceeded to eat all 4 packs of baked beans, a total of 800 grams. I wasn't sure what this would do to her digestive system but didn't stop her as I knew we would have to carry whatever was left! We continued past the Fife Energy park and into Methil (Metal). Once again we needed a comfort stop, not easy in a built up area but our route took us past the Methil Heritage Centre, run by volunteers with Gary and Graham being on duty today. They couldn't have been more accommodating and again we thought this would be worth a return visit. We wanted to get on to Leven links before the day started to cool so pressed on and eventually reached Leven Links. I pressed Elemental on knowing the more ground we covered before stopping the less there would be after. A cool breeze had sprung up but it didn't deter Elemental when I eventually agreed to stop.
DSCF9187 cooling off by Seal54, on Flickr
I was loathe to leave all our valuables as there were a lot of people around so stayed on watch rather than go in myself. After about half an hour and an ice cream E was happy to continue. Leaving (E)Leven and we effectively left the last of the large Fife industrial towns and there were longer stretches of countryside between smaller, very attractive towns and villages of the East Neuk.
DSCF9195Lundin Links by Seal54, on Flickr
Frequently we came across alternative routes to take at high tide. It wasn't always clear how long the stretch covered at high tide was, obviously a few hundred yards is a bit different than a mile or 2.
Of course there were the inevitable golf courses these seemed to be interspersed with caravan sites full of large green static vans.
At Lundin Links (Bracelet) I left Elemental with the packs in a deserted playpark and found a rather inadequate shop. Our plan was to camp at Shelbie (Shell bay) Caravan Park and could possibly get a meal there but we didn't know the time they finished serving. I was able to get a rather wrinkled pepper , some mushrooms and the inevitable chocolate to go with our couscous which was beginning to leak everywhere.
I am ashamed to say that I wasn't aware of Largo's (Lumbago) connection with Robinson Crusoe being the home of Alexander Selkirk on whom Robinson Crusoe is apparently modeled. There were a lot of people relaxing outside the pubs in Lower Lumbago but with an 11 yr old in tow I wasn't tempted.( or was only briefly)
There was a signpost for Alexander Selkirk's statue then we came across this
DSCF9200 Not Alexander Selkirk, Lower Largo by Seal54, on Flickr
A bit further on was the real statue
DSCF9201 Statue Alexander Selkirk , Lower Largo by Seal54, on Flickr
After Lumbago we went through a SWT reserve at Dumbarnie Links. There were an incredible amount of cinnabar moth larvae
DSCF9202Cinnabar moth larvae by Seal54, on Flickrr
There were still a number of butterflies on the wing mainly common blue and meadow brown but also dark green fritillaries .
DSCF9204 A Common blue by Seal54, on Flickr
We once again headed for the tempting paddle in the sea to cool our heated feet. We could see the distance we had come, stretching out and round behind us.
DSCF9215feet by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9210 Largo bay by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9208 largo Bay by Seal54, on Flickr
When we hit the caravan park at Shell Bay we were in for a surprise. The statics went on and on and on, a huge town of green boxes. It was almost 1/2 mile across to reception. Before setting off for the Walk i had phoned the caravan park to see whether I needed to book in advance for a 2 person tent. I was told that if I booked in advance they would only accept full payment which at £20 I thought was a bit steep. I did explain that I was on a long distance, charity walk with my 11 yr old granddaughter and couldn't be sure that we would actually make it on the Tuesday night. I decided therefore just to take the risk and not book, there would be plenty of wild camping opportunities but it would be nice to have showers and do a bit of washing before meeting up with people joining us on our rest day on the Chain Walk. So when we did eventually arrive at reception the manager told us he was full but then made it clear that he would do us a HUGE favour and squeeze us in as virtually nowhere else took tents. He told us that he was risking losing his license as he would be over his fire limit. I told him that we would be happy to go and wild camp. He clearly wanted our cash so agreed to accommodate us. When we got to the tent area , there was acres of space. Also most of the green statics appeared unoccupied so 2 wee tenters were not going to make a blind bit of difference to his numbers. I am not quite sure what his problem was.
The site was my idea of hell but Elemental was happy as she quickly met a couple of children of a similar age and spent the time after tea playing at the play-park with them . Tomorrow would be a rest day and we had done over a quarter of the walk. We were buoyed up by this but still slept well, the site being relatively quiet noise wise.13.7 miles (total 44.2)
Day 4 Rest Day on the Chain Walk
We could sleep in, have a relaxed start as my brother and nephew were not due to arrive until 10.00. We treated ourselves to breakfast in the virtually deserted restaurant then when Angus arrived we loaded his car up with all our stuff except a small pack with water, lunch and Elemental's camera. I had discovered that the panoramic feature on my B-in-Laws camera was battery hungry and as I had only one spare battery, I was going to rely on Angus to take photos. It was going to be great to have a few hours without a big pack.
It was relatively easy to find the western end of the chain walk and with the tide falling and well out we set off around 11 ish. The following photos are not necessarily in the correct order and were all taken by my brother.
Doing the chain walk the start photo by Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
Doing the chain walk photo by Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
Elie chain walk, vertigo photo by Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
Elie Chain Walk, E,FandR photo by Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
Doing the chain walk E and R photo by Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
Elie chain walk, E photo by Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
Elie Chain Walk ascent photo by Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
We came across some odd things on our Big Walk but this was one of the oddest. We speculated about whether the owner had found that they could throw away their crutch whilst on the chain walk, or was it a dare? More likely it was washed in from somewhere else but this explanation wasn't nearly so interesting.
Elie Chain walk, photo by Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
Elie Chain Walk EandF photo by Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
Elie chain walk the diffiult bit, photo Angus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
This was the one bit that Elemental found quite scary. The chain felt very slack and she didn't trust herself ( or me ) to lean out on it. However Angus talked her through it in a calming way.
Ekie Chain Walk The End by ANgus Beyts by Seal54, on Flickr
Finished and was she chuffed. In the whole walk the Chain Walk was one of her highlights coming in 3rd after the trip out to the Bell Rock ( 2nd highlight) and completing the Walk itself ( top highlight).
We walked along to Earlsferry with the rain spitting at us. I had been amazed by the amount of sea glass on the Fife shores. I had restricted myself to only one or 2 unusual pieces but as Angus could take whatever I collected today I started picking it up. I made a big mistake though, I told Fhinan and Elemental that if they found the rarer blue or red glass there would be a bar of chocolate for them..
We had completed the Chain walk and it was still only lunchtime. Angus had brought homemade pancakes (he had made them before he left in the morning), honey and lemon. We all agreed that they were wonderful . Angus then left us to go and fetch the car and after this he headed back to get the car whilst Fhinan, Elemental and I continued across the sands (beating the tide) to Elie. It was quite cold so I took some ironic photos of the Great British Beach experience with Elemental's camera. Tally at the end of this was 1 piece of red glass found by E.
E on Earlsferry Beach photo Rohan by Seal54, on Flickr
Summer on the beach by Seal54, on Flickr
Elemental and Fhinan then found a tennis ball and played catch the rest of the way.
E and F on Earlsferry Beach by Seal54, on Flickr
E on Elie Beach by Seal54, on Flickr
We walked up to meet Angus at the Deli in Elie and all stocked up on good stuff to eat. I had to cough up for chocolate bars. Finally we said goodbye to Angus and Fhinan and headed out with our packs to look for a campsite near Elie Ness Lighthouse, after searching unsuccessfully for garnets in Ruby Bay, I dread to think how much chocolate would have been demanded for one of those.
We explored around the lighthouse but it was early, we didn't feel like stopping and Elemental was very keen to head on to St Moanings
E at Elie Ness by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9225 Elie ness by Seal54, on Flickr
On the way along this walk which I have done a few times Elemental listened to music on her i-pod , the first time she had done so on this walk and we agreed that it was something that may help her at the end of our long days. The down side was that her taste in music is very different to mine and I was horrified that I also ended up singing along with her to One Direction. I had to agree they had an appropriate name for our walk.
DSCF9226 Ellie at the Lady's Tower by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9230 Newark Castle (right0, dovecot to left by Seal54, on Flickr
On the outskirts of St Moanings we met a lovely woman, Monica, who not only gave us a donation to our charity but a bar of chocolate to Elemental. A little further on we came across a novel use for old wellies.
St Monan's boot garden by Seal54, on Flickr
Elemental's other Gran ( Grandma) was joining us the next day. We decided to stop at the St Moanings Caravan Park. Once before we had stayed there with Elemental's younger brother and their mother (my daughter) I remembered that the tent area was by the main road out of St Monan's but there would be somewhere to leave Grandma's car the next day and be handy for her to get the bus back to the next day. We arrived just after 6 pm to find the office closed. I phoned the number on the site board , left my number on the answerphone...... I am still waiting for them to get back to me.The guys in the next tent lent us their loo key which was helpful. Elemental was disappointed that this site didn't appear to have anyone under the age of 50 on it. I was glad that it was quiet. Elemental once again wrote the diary.
Mileage 6.7 (total 50.9) bars of chocolate consumed by Elemental 2.
Day 5 St Moanings to the Garden shed lighthouse
Grandma arrived with breakfast, plain and chocolate croissants ( no guessing who ate most of the latter). We also had strawberries and blueberries left over from the deli make us feel less guilty about not so healthy eating. The man appeared at the office and promptly disappeared before I even noticed. I couldn't get a signal on my mobile to phone him but I had left a message last night so I didn't feel any problems leaving. If the holiday park people read this please get in touch and I will arrange payment.
There is lots of interest on the walk between St Moanings and Pitch and put, E and I had done it before with her mother and brother but that was a windy and coldish Easter in 2009. Today was sunny.
We stopped to read about the limekilns and past industry on the eastern edge of St Moanings. It was lovely to see a proper windmill.
Information sign on saltpans by Seal54, on Flickr
2 Grans outside the windmill by Seal54, on Flickr
I'm not sure how much E remembers of the walk from 2009. She remembers that her wee brother (he was 3) took some persuading to do it.
E on the same coast April 2009 by Seal54, on Flickr
I found it quite familiar although we didn't stop in Pitch and Put except to admire their bicycles supporting potted plants. we seemed to have missed taking a photo of them
Approaching Pittenweem 2009 by Seal54, on Flickr
We met a local "older" man (Ron) who spoke to us about the number of local properties being holiday homes, with the population being very much reduced outside the holiday season. This has a negative affect on the local shops and often people stock up elsewhere and spend very little money locally. He told us to stop at his son-in law's physiotherapy business in Anstruther but although we passed it later we didn't feel we could walk in and ask for a sports massage.
Pittenweem 2009 by Seal54, on Flickr
E tested the swings the other side of Pitch and Put and I came across an elderly man (David) and his daughter sitting on the cliff top enjoying the views. He had been a keen hillwalker in his day and was fascinated by what we were doing. we spoke about a problem that we were going to face when we hit Dundee on Sunday evening, nowhere to wild camp and the Backpackers apparently fully booked. His daughter jokingly suggested her father's garden but we agreed that his neighbours may be a bit shocked to see us there when he was away.
swings at St Moanings by Seal54, on Flickr
Our next surprise was an interesting take on graffiti in this area which we naturally had to add to including the name of our charity
DSCF9235 Shell Graffiti by Seal54, on Flickr
Then it was past the inevitable golf course and into Anstruther ( Auntie), well timed for lunch at the famous fish n chip bar. We were able to take a small short cut to get there as the tide was out
DSCF9236 Short cut at Anstruther by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9238 Short cut to Anstruther by Seal54, on Flickr
There was no queue and we were shortly tucking into all our favourites courtesy of Grandma
painting in the cafe by Seal54, on Flickr
We took various photos of the food ( E & Grandma - fish'n'chips, me macoroni and the best chips I've tasted for a while) but to spare drools I will not post the photos. We finished off with ice-cream and then headed off for Creel ( Crail). Grandma had dog sitting responsibilities to get back to but decided to walk about half way to Creel with us. There is a good bus service along the main road back to St Moanings.
DSCF9239Anstruther Easter by Seal54, on Flickr
Before Grandma left us E started to flag a bit. we realised that the large meal at lunchtime was possibly responsible so we found a nice spot for her to have a nap, said our farewells to Grandma and settled down for 40 winks ( E) and a read of my book (me). After this we were much refreshed and continued past some more caves ( again we decided not to venture in)
DSCF9241 Hermit's well and Caiple Caves by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9242 Have we walked off that lunch yet by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9243 approaching Crail by Seal54, on Flickr
What with lunches and post prandial naps I was concerned that we had only traveled just over half-way to our intended night spot however after buying supplies (most noteably chocolate in return for more red sea glass)and getting our water filled at the co-op, the beach at the harbour at Creel proved too tempting to miss. E decided she wasn't going in for a dip and just paddled but I had a very pleasant swim. Suitably refreshed we made our way on towards Fife Ness passing through Sauchope Caravan Park, The disused aerodrome to our left buzzed with the quad bikes but no-one ventured onto the FCP. We were about 1/2 mile short of the Lighthouse at Fife Ness, just beyond the Kilwinning Nature Reserve when we spotted a likely looking spot to camp.
Last camp before halfway point by Seal54, on Flickr
There was plenty of drift wood and we collected this for one of our larger bonfires after walking up to the Ness to phone home (only place were there was a signal) and to have our first sighting of The Bell Rock Lighthouse. We were going to have a much closer look of this very special lighthouse in the last week of our walk. Fife Ness lighthouse was a bit of a disappointment.
DSCF9244 Fife Ness lighthouse, not a Stevenson one and more like a garden shed. by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9246 Ellie at Fife Ness by Seal54, on Flickr
We renamed it the Lighthouse that looks like a garden shed. Even the light itself appeared to be sited on the top rather than behind the lens.
DSCF9250 Our best bonfire yet but last in Fife by Seal54, on Flickr
As dusk fell around the campfire we did our usual night time activity of spotting lighthouses, Isle of May, Bass Rock, Fidra and of course Fife Ness. tomorrow we would leave these behind and have a very different view. No more Bass Rock jumping around all over the place. Hooray 10.2 miles (total 61.1) Chocolate was consumed, oh yes!
Day 6 Fife Ness to St Andrews and the half way point
We had plenty of drift wood left so re-lit the bonfire to boil the water for breakfast. Distress was caused though by E not being able to find her hairbrush a special anti-tangle one. Her hair is very long (her choice) and her mother had her well warned that she needed to make sure that she kept it under control otherwise it would be cut off. We couldn't understand how the brush had been lost, It became clear later, but E was distraught and needed me to call her mother ( to avoid getting the imagined row first hand). Once she had been assured that her mother wasn't going to kill, her we were able to continue on on way. We didn't have a great mileage to cover , only about 10 miles and I thought we had plenty of time ( approximately 7 hours) before our appointment with my lovely friend Sue who was meeting us at the East Sands in St Andrews. Sue had arranged with her son who had a flat in St Andrews for us to stay there Friday and Saturday night and she needed to let us in.
We now had very different views and could make out the Bell Rock lighthouse and the Angus Coastline. We felt that we were finally making progress.
Bell Rock lighthouse by Seal54, on Flickr
The Lighthouse is the small black dot halfway down the left hand side a little above the horizon.
We read about Robert Stevenson's attempts to establish a lighthouse on the North Carr Reef ( a sandstone ridge that extends out from Fife Ness). Storms put paid to this and a beacon was placed there instead. we duly took photos outside Constantine's cave but again didn't venture in.
DSCF9252 Constantine's Cave by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9253 Balcomie Beach NO632103 by Seal54, on Flickr
At some stage we decided to see if we could find a nice piece of driftwood , sea glass or interesting beach find to take her as a present. This was probably a BAD IDEA for both E and I due to our collecting proclivities. E almost immediately found a Mario figure which we decided she should keep for herself. We were meant to discard if we found something better than an earlier find but I then came across a mop bucket so this became a receptacle for putting assorted shells, pebbles and pieces of wood .
45813_1427925280823950_6405621398425222544_n by Seal54, on Flickr
We couldn't fit this cable end in ( I have the matching one at home where I hope to turn it into a clock!) so had to leave it ( much regrets on my part)
DSCF9255Sue might like this by Seal54, on Flickr
In between the scavenging on the beaches ( and looking at the sedimentary structures of the rocks) we dodged rich golfers on the Kingsbarn golf course and less well off ones on the others.
All in all we were spending far too long on scavenging and were slowed even more by the drizzly rain that started making the path greasy. The path climbed up and down the cliff and the wet undergrowth meant that we had to put waterproofs on (and off when the sun came down and we were on clearer sections)
DSCF9259 Woods at Pitmilly by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9260Buddo Rock by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9261 Ellie at Buddo Rock by Seal54, on Flickr
DSCF9265 The remains of a volcanic vent that is the Rock and Spindle by Seal54, on Flickr
I texted Sue at 5.00 pm to tell her that we were running late,we still had a couple of golf club houses to pass. We also needed a stop to soak our feet but finally we were passing the last green statics and could see Sue and her 3 dogs on the beach. I'm not sure what she made of the mop bucket ( or the rest of the "treasures") but we chatted whilst E ( still with her rucksack) on showed that she still had energy to burn as she chased around the beach throwing sticks for Molly the Collie. I then discovered that Sue had come all the way down from Aberdeenshire to let us into the flat and wasn't staying. After dropping our stuff at the flat ( no sign then of the one other resident , a Phd student studying dolphin sounds). Sue took us to the local supermarket and we stocked up on all sorts of treats. Granny now has serious chocolate debt problem due to the amount of red and blue glass collected by E. Some was bought today and Sue also bought chocolate for E. She will probably need a detox programme when we finish. Sue gave E a lovely present of a necklace of a pr of silver whale flukes. This in reward for doing so well.
Today was a special day we were half way in both mileage and days, E's mum and dad and wee brother were coming tomorrow for our second rest day, we had a comfy bed to sleep in, we could wash our clothes and have a shower, recharge our batteries. Lots to celebrate. 10.5 miles (72.6 in total)
[b]Day 7 Rest Day St Andrews[b]
We should have had a lie in but I forgot to switch off my daily alarm. However it meant that I could get the washing done and hung out before E's mum and dad arrived. I left Rachel to battle with E's hair and lo and behold the missing hairbrush turned up in a hidden pocket of her rucksack. The rest of the day was spent on the beach with E and Joe collecting more sea glass ( East Sands is full of it) which they then gave to our "flatmate" Kaitlyn, also a sea glass collector.
Life's a beach by Seal54, on Flickr
A walk into the town itself for tea at Bella Italia, the waiter giving us the tip back for Fop and offered us a free breakfast in the morning , but alas we would be on our way before opening time. Rachel wanted to do part of the walk with us and I had planned that we do the section between Guardbridge and St Andrews ( 3 miles) in the evening so the three of us did that with Chris dropping us off and picking us up.
E and Granny, no packs at Guardbridge by Seal54, on Flickr
E, Granny and Mum at Guardbridge by Seal54, on Flickr
Adding on the bit from East Sands into town and out again gave us a total of 5.9 for the day (78.5 in total) and I had to admit to my daughter that I allowed her daughter to eat chocolate for breakfast.
To be continued.
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by Dan Scheer » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:52 pm
It always impresses me when kids are up to challenges like this, especially carrying all the gear and in this case it even being her idea to do the walk... at that age all I wanted to do was sit at home and play Super Nintendo....
looking forward to part 2
by rohan » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:55 pm
It always impresses me when kids are up to challenges like this, especially carrying all the gear and in this case it even being her idea to do the walk... at that age all I wanted to do was sit at home and play Super Nintendo
I think she may like a bit of that now! The main problem for her was the lack of childhood company. Part 2 was on its way but I forgot to save the draft. Aargh.
NB there is a man walking round the coast of Britain just now , Peter Hill , he should be in the Aberdeen area in the next week or so. Unfortunately I will miss him as I am away
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by Dan Scheer » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:32 pm
Ha wow, that is quite a walk! It's actually been on my mind since my walk and wondering how I could do something more challenging... sadly that will have to wait til I retire I guess... no way I can just bugger off again for such a long time now that I have a mortgage to take care off silly me for deciding that I should grow up and organise my life better ...
ahhh shame about the part 2, hope you can find the motivation to start again, such a pain when that happens
by rohan » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:02 pm
ahhh shame about the part 2, hope you can find the motivation to start again, such a pain when that happens
Almost done now Dan, I definitely prefer walking!
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by rohan » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:08 pm
ahhh shame about the part 2, hope you can find the motivation to start again, such a pain when that happens
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by Sgurr » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:29 pm
by rohan » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:50 pm
It was E's idea and she needed no encouragement with the walking at all unlike her mother I hasten to add. None of my offspring were taken with walking although the other 2 were sporty. ( swimming , skiing, cycling)Brilliant idea
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by ramblingpete » Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:02 pm
I have 3 little grandkids now who will be trained up when they're old enough.....to hopefully join me on a similar journey.
Thanks for taking the time to write it up. Any photos of the diary?
by ramblingpete » Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:09 pm
by rohan » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:06 pm
I have 3 little grandkids now who will be trained up when they're old enough.....to hopefully join me on a similar journey
None of my own children were that keen and E's Mum was positively anti..... memories of her saying that she was never going to go on a walk with me again . However E from, a very young age, wanted to go out in all weathers and was always asking me when we were next going on a walk. Her brother takes after his mum! I was a reluctant walker when I was a child. I would rather mess about in water or go skiing when the family were walking. So if your grand kids like it they will let you know and it will be a joy. If not you may need to find something else to share with them.Good Luck!
Any photos of the diary?
Glad you found them and thanks for your positive comments on both reports.
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