South Queensferry to Burntisland
Saturday 22 January 2022
25.05km • 6.5h (including breaks)
lowest: -2m • highest: 47m • total ascent 551m
Before February served us a monthload of grim – weather and otherwise – I managed to get over the bridge into Fife for the first walk of the year. This time with George and Migle. I met them at the station in South Queensferry and we headed for the road bridge, which today was very much visible. The last time I walked over the bridge was probably 8 years ago before the new bridge was even started, so it was much quieter this time, as most road traffic now uses the shiny new Queensferry crossing.
It’s a shorter walk over than I remember, and it was also significantly less windy this time. Still a dizzyingly long way down to the water. George spilled some of his water over the railing to see how long it took to hit, and it’s a good 15-20 seconds at least. Best not to think about it and watch the trains go over the rail bridge instead. Still nice that it’s not constantly covered in paint scaffolding anymore. Apparently George had never walked over the road bridge despite living here his whole life, so I consider this an experience provided.
On the other side, we were officially on the Fife Coastal Path, which will take me all the way to Tayport eventually. There is a really nice bit of land the path runs through just after North Queensferry, then you hit some heavy industrial scenery around the harbour near Inverkeithing. We found a path marker next to a concrete wall topped in barbed wire amusingly placed, as you’d never know you were anywhere near the water, but I suppose that’s why it’s there. All this stuff is still the coast, just like the nuclear power plant and the cartoon background loop of golf courses and caravan parks. An endless string of incredible beaches would actually get quite dull if there was no difference in between.
I didn’t really have a sufficient breakfast because I was too busy making us epic peanut-tofu-broccoli-gochujang sandwiches (epic sandwiches are very important to me at this stage, because the further I get from home, the less I’ll be able to do in that department), so on the high street in Inverkeithing, we found an amazing tiny cafe with great coffee and one of the best black pudding and egg rolls I’ve ever had. The perfect energy boost. The woman who ran the place was also super nice. So Millbarista is highly recommended if you’re passing through.
Seeing as this was exactly two weeks before Freya was born, Migle was about as pregnant as you can get, so after that first 10k and our snack, she headed back on the train and George and I continued on towards Burntisland.
There were great views across to Edinburgh, and the wind on the Forth must have been pretty high because we watched a little dinghy tearing straight across our field of vision. We left the path to pick our way along a very seaweedy beach for a stretch where we found an abandoned life jacket and a wetsuit glove, to eventually be deposited on a bench. We found out that Dalgety Bay is radioactive, which was news to me. No swimming there. We then had to cut inland around the gas terminal and there’s a nice trail through the woods, complete with its own little free library box. Nothing enticing enough to add weight to my bag this time, but I love a free library box.
We missed going out around the point at Aberdour, which having looked back at the map, I’m a bit disappointed about, but we were following signs rather than looking at the map, and at that point we were chatting away and a bit tired, so we just didn’t notice. But we did stop at a bench at Silver Sands Beach and ate our sandwiches with good scenery and many excitable dogs to watch running around the beach. Aberdour has a bunch of nice little shops and pubs I’d love to go back to, and it would be great to come over to Silver Sands and swim in slightly warmer weather, so that’s a day trip to file away, and I can poke around that bit of land we missed the first time.
The light was quickly leaving us as we headed the last stretch into Burntisland, but there were still great views back to the bridges. We made it to the station 6 minutes before the next train, so no exploring Burntisland, but I’ll do a bit of that at the start of the next walk.
It was great to have company again. I’m hoping I can convince people to come along more often despite the fact that I seem to be subjecting them to a low-level form of torture. No one initially suspects such a long walk will catch up with them the way it does. George at least had Migle picking him up to drive the rest of the way home. I ended up walking even further when I got back to Edinburgh on top of the 25k we’d just done because all the bus stops had changed for the tram works again, and I couldn’t even work out where to find one, so I just kept going all the way down the hill to Leith. Good training for the future.