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Last stage of the FCP, Tay Bridge to Newburgh

Last stage of the FCP, Tay Bridge to Newburgh

Postby tonyv » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:32 pm

Route description: Newport-on-Tay to Newburgh

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Norman's Law

Date walked: 26/04/2016

Distance: 28.5 km

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A cold day in late April, hail showers, sunshine and lots of wind. One of the best bits of the Fife Coastal Path (certainly better than St Andrews to Tay Bridge), but quite remote. It has expansive coastal views and much variety of scenery. No other walkers encountered in either direction but overall a very good day out.
I wanted to start at Tay Bridge but creating a return journey there from Newburgh when staying in Pittenweem was problematic. I settled for car park in St Andrews, bus to Dundee, following the suggestion of the bus driver alighted on the A914/A92 roundabout then walked up the A92 dual carriageway, presenting a mile and a half that was the most unpleasant stretch of the day and is not recommended. The return from Newburgh to St Andrews is straightforward on an hourly bus service, but takes 1 hour 20 minutes.
The walk itself from the Tay Bridge is not difficult, it is excellently waymarked, and the warnings of "rough unmade paths" are pathetic. There are two long road stretches (Tay Bridge to end of Wormit) and Muir Dens to Pittachope. But outside these stretches the path is mainly a firm track with only short stretches of lesser path, and the second stretch of road was all but traffic free. Almost all of it could be mountain biked. The ground was almost everywhere firm: a few rutted areas told of some soft ground earlier in the year. The two potentially boggy stretches I spotted are near the Newburgh end: Near Glenduckie on a field side path at about GR 2921932 and north of Glenduckie hill GR298197. But these are short stretches (possibly avoidable) and the path is do-able even after wet weather.
The ascent of Norman's Law is trivial simply because most of the height is gained gently on the main path (in either direction) and although it is the highest point on the walk it is not actually on the FCP, but it is a worthwhile (essential?) diversion. Just past the Law itself (coming from the east) I crossed a stile in a dip, then over a broad grassy field before bounding to the top of the summit mound, and was gifted wonderful views . the summit has a trig point, view point and cairn. At this point I was about 4 hours into the walk. I covered the remaining distance in 3 hours giving a total time for the walk of 7 hours. It could be done in 6 in my view but you would have to walk purposefully from the start and avoid Norman's Law sticking to the coastal path itself. I did stop a few times for photos, for food and to improve clothing in hail storms.
About half the walk is on the coast (all the way to Balmerino and well beyond) but the more inland stretch is justified by Normans Law. It also seems relevant that access has not been obtained to coast around Birkhill. But this is the Fife "Coastal" path and therefore the more precise requirements of "coast" do not need to be met.
The end is a diversion around Newburgh along the shore, through a municipal park where a satisfying arch allowed a final selfie.
This is, unusually for the FCP, completely golf free. Public parks in both Wormit and Newburgh display signs next to the path saying "no golf" and that is truer than the parks administrators realise.
Note that between Wormit and Newburgh there are no refreshment places or toilets. This mitigates against the route design which presumably had local economy as a benefit. That only applies at the start and finish..
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Joined: Apr 27, 2016

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