when we wake up, the sun is coming in via the windows of the front facing double room. it’s rather cold and we quickly pack our stuff, have breakfast (finlay turns out to be a young man with, it seems, a slight hangover, and he and the young lady prepare breakfast for the guests all the while discussing the b&b business: finlay apparently is looking for an easier way of generating income and considers taking on lodgers instead of b&b guests, the cooking young lady proposes moving in and turning caiplie house into an “all inclusive b&b”; when we left, it seemed like finlay was not too hot on that idea), and then leave for the bit of the walk that we’ve been looking forward too all week: crail to st andrews.
on the OS map it looks quite remote, an impression reinforced by [hamish browns remark] that one should make sure to have water and something to eat for this longest and roughest tour “that can easily take 8 hours.”
[hamish browns remark]: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fife-Coastal-Path-Hamish-Brown/dp/1841830577/sr=8-4/qid=1161274738/ref=sr_1_4/026-1865464-3994057?ie=UTF8&s=books
the sun is shining, the few remaining clouds keep to the edges of the sky — perfect 🙂 from crail we first cross through a large but impeccably cared for caravan park with decidedly up-market trailers (some are larger than my apartment back home, and they do have a much better view to boot…) which eventually gives way to the pure, unadultered coast path…unadultered, that is, on the seaward side, the landward side, once the cliff has finished climbing up is: golf courses, golf courses, golf courses (did i mention that the landward side was taken up by golf courses?). the scenery is just fantastic: we climb up and down the cliffs, winding our way northwards and eastwards — at about 11:00 we reach fife ness, the end of fife: we cannot get any further eastwards than this. on the exposed rock surface below the lighthouse we have a little toast (the good glengannon whisky and a couple of scottish oak bisquits), enjoy the views and then turn the corner, so to speak, and it’s now north to north-by-northwest: towards st andrews.
on the left hand side (west) one golf course passes the ball on to the next, eventually we reach the wood that comes down from [cambo house]: we divert for an hour and follow the path through cambo wood up to the house and the walled garden. it’s really worth the effort, the path follows the burn up through the wood to emerge next to the walled garden. the weather is still magnificent: very little clouds, lots of blue sky 🙂
[cambo house]: http://www.camboestate.com/
the walled garden is a mixture of fruit tree (lots of different apple trees with ripe and tempting apples) and flowers and grass. worth a visit!
back at the coastal path we realize that the surrounding golf course must be the one where the _alfred dunhill link championships_ will take place next week: already the coastal path route is staked by metal rods to seperate the riff-raff from the golfing & chattering classes. two teenagers check each and every rod and give it a lick of white paint: up, down, done, next.
the coast becomes increasingly rough: at a couple of places we find the sign “route follows beach for next half mile — at high tide please wait for tide to recede” — luckily, the tide is out for lunch when we pass, but the path is nevertheless fantastic and exciting, at times we need to climb boulders, negotiate our way through heaps of algae (yuck) and plod through soft sand. a fantastic walk!
at hillhead we meet a student asking us how far it was to crail. she was quite visibly exhausted already, and our reply that it would take probably about 4-5 hrs did not go down too well; we suggested that she try to aim for kingsbarns and fetch a bus there. she considers this and then walks on. hope she made it OK…
at buddo rock we reach the section of the walk that is marked as “problematic” both by hamish brown and by a sign on the path. so we proceed a bit cautiously but also expectantly, wondering what challenges lie ahead.
well, it just becomes better as we walk on: the path goes up and down the cliffs, crosses the occassional golf course, but in general is fairly easy to navigate.
at kinkell ness, just after we pass the rock and spindle rock formation, we pass the corner and — see sunny st andrews in the far distance!
at 1745 we arrive at our b&b for the next two nights: _[anlaw house]._ mrs reid gives us a very warm welcome. the twin bed room is upstairs (somehow this little house is surprisingly spacious, [tardis] would also be a good name for it 🙂 and is quite nice! we unpack, take a shower and then give our niece, ms l, a call to arrange meeting for dinner: ms l suggests _[the oak room inn]_ and we convene for a family meeting there.
[anlaw house]: http://www.anlawstandrews.co.uk/
[the oak room inn]: http://www.theinnonnorthstreet.com/index.html
> **a really fantastic walk, followed by an entertaining evening with ms l** 🙂