Burntisland to Silverburn Park
Saturday 5 March 2022
30.31km • 7h (including breaks)
lowest: -2m • highest: 46m • total ascent 715m
Silverburn Park to Elie
Sunday 6 March 2022
14.14km • 4h (including breaks)
lowest: -2m • highest: 65m • total ascent 260m
The first weekend walk of the year! My friend Hannah came with me, which was a treat. It was sort of a birthday trip, and it came at the end of a stressy and sad week, so it was lucky that the universe served us obscenely good weather. I think we both felt much lighter after 2 days of walking near the sea in the sun. I don’t have a ton of insightful things to say about this. Just some nice pictures and progress, mostly.
The first day was a bit longer than I anticipated, but the weather made it manageable. We started in the queue for cinnamon buns at Sunrise Bakehouse in Burntisland, and then waited 10 more minutes for The Roasting Project to open as well before setting off. We were able to stick to the beach or pretty close for a long way because the tide was in our favour. Lots of stunning peeks at the sea between buildings when we walked through little towns and villages. Even at Kirkcaldy, which was the biggest town on this route, we didn’t really have to stray from the water. There’s a promenade all the way along the beach, and you only need to go inland a little bit at the end to get around the harbour and the water works.
We stopped for lunch on a little beach in Ravenscraig park before continuing on past an amazing harbour at Dysart tucked behind a towering wall of rock, followed by various remnants of coal mining and lots of little caves.
Before reaching Leven there’s a long walk through Buckhaven and Methil. The Fife Coastal Path guidebook suggests you can take a bus through this bit if you want, which is fine if you’re not slightly crazy about properly walking the whole thing like I am. But they do refer to it as avoiding 4k of ‘unrelieved tarmac and urban decay’, which pissed me off before I even walked it. Avoiding walking on paved surfaces at the end of a 30k day is totally fair enough. But calling it ‘urban decay’ feels a bit harsh. It’s just a town, and it’s still part of the coast. I didn’t see anything wrong with it aside from our own exhaustion. It even provided a much appreciated, corner shop-bought Lucozade, which is plenty of cause for celebration. Also, the massive turbine at Fife Energy Park in Buckhaven (which we were assuming is for training, being so low to the ground) is quite amazing to finally reach when you’ve been looking at it all day.
We had sacrificed making it to our campsite before the farm shop across the street closed in favour of waiting for bakery treats and good coffee in the morning. It worked out though. We ended up with great pizza for dinner from The Oven served out of an old airstream in a parking lot, and we were able to drive back into Leven to get it because Hannah had left her car at the campsite in the morning.
We stayed in a pod at Silverburn Park and got a fire pit to hang out around when it got dark. It’s a fantastic little campsite. Probably the best toilet and shower block I’ve ever used. There was no one in tents when we were there (it was cold enough to frost) but the 3 pods were full and there were some campervans on the other side. The weather stayed clear overnight so we got incredible views of the stars.
We were up in time for sunrise, which was absolutely worth it. We had a slow breakfast and multiple cups of tea and coffee as things warmed up again. The second day was half the distance we did the first day, so we were a bit more relaxed about it. We crossed the golf course to the beach just before 10 to rejoin the path and had a glorious walk along the beach to Largo.
This is a beautiful stretch of the coast, and Largo is some kind of beach paradise in Fife. It must get a bit busier in summer, but it still feels much further away from Edinburgh than it is. There was a great cafe called The Aurrie in which I bought my usual black pudding and egg roll and we admired some impressive crochet.
Then it was back out to the beaches to continue to Elie. We put our feet in for the beachy stretch before Ruddon’s Point and mourned a dead seal near where we put our shoes back on for the cliffs ahead. The coast started turning some corners here so it was nice to get differing views all day. We stuck to the path above where the Elie Chain Walk is – I’m too much of a wimp to do it, but it’s quite impressive to see people scrambling up off the end of it – and then down again toward Elie itself, which is also pretty idyllic. We walked the final stretch all the way across the beach where there were lots of happy dogs, and rolled into the beer garden at The Ship Inn for a celebratory pint in the sun. A pint in the sun at the start of March!
It was great to walk two days in a row again. Really looking forward to getting longer segments in this year. The first of those was meant to be happening as I write this, but my immune system had other plans. The next instalments should hopefully all be 2-3 day stretches as the weather gets a bit warmer and I can start camping more.