St Rule’s Tower and St Andrews Cathedral, Fife

The photo below is of St Andrews Cathedral ruins and St Rule’s tower, they look quite small in this photo for some reason, they are in fact large and quite imposing – for ruins.

St Andrews Cathedral ruins and St Rule's tower
Going up the spiral stairs is an interesting experience involving metal stairs first before you get to the old stone spiral ones. There are apparently 156 steps and I’m just really glad that we didn’t meet anyone coming down as we were going up, they’re very narrow and trying to get past strangers could be quite embarrassing!

St Rule's  spiral stairs

You can get more of an idea from the photo below of how the underside of the stairs looks.
St Rule's  spiral staircase underside

I think most of us spend time visiting far afield places before getting around to seeing nearby tourist attractions. That’s the reason it has taken us about 40 years to get up St Rule’s tower which is in St Andrews Cathedral’s grounds, and I have to say that half-way up the narrow spiral staircase I wished we had tackled it at least 20 years ago as I thought I was never going to get to the top! But it was worth it to get the view which is great even on a dull day.
From St Rule's  at St Andrews
The famous Old Course is over towards the right in the distance of the above photo and to the left in the photo below.

St Andrews From St Rule's

From the other side of the tower you get a view of the harbour.

From St Rule's

The cathedral was badly damaged during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms as the English Civil War is more correctly described nowadays, but if you have a good imagination you can see that it must have been quite some place in its day. Below is a view of what’s left of the Chapter House and some stone coffins, in those days they chiselled out the shape of a body as you can see, an awful lot of work for the stonemason, it seems they didn’t want the body moving out of position.

Chapter house coffin

The view of the town of St Andrews that you get from the top of the tower is probably clearer than you would have got in medieval times, certainly in winter when all of the chimneys would have been belching out smoke. There were only two chimneys doing that when I took the photo but they were making plenty of pollution.
From St Rule's, St Andrews view

You have to be fairly fit to make the climb up the tower!

14 thoughts on “St Rule’s Tower and St Andrews Cathedral, Fife

  1. I haven’t been up St Regulus’/St Rule’s tower since my student days at St Andrews University. I used to stay in what we called “Regs”. It was formally named St Regulus Hall. In those days it was all men, but it is mixed these days. It was strange visiting a couple of years back and seeing myself in the early seventies’ group photos in the common room. Happy days.

    • H,
      I imagine that St Andrews must have changed quite a lot since the 1970s – the uni has certainly expanded a lot in recent years and they’re still doing it. It’s one of my favourite places though, I just wish I could afford the crazy house prices there.

  2. The photo taken of the underside of the stairs is wonderful. I love the colours. I wouldn’t have made it to the top – the view is magnificent but my fear of heights would not have allowed it!

    • Sandra,
      Oh dear, it’s really quite safe though as there’s a barrier within the tower walls so you can’t hang over it, if you were that way inclined. I’m never keen on going down those spiral stairs, I hang on to the handrail and the wall!

  3. I’m glad you took photos and shared them. There’s no way I’d go to the top of that tower! Apart from the many and steep steps, I’m terrified of heights. But the view is stunning. Thank you!

    • Joan,
      You can’t look directly down from this tower as there’s a barrier, it’s looking straight down that makes me feel dizzy so this was fine. I’ll not be doing it again though – too exhausting!

  4. Those are some steep steps! What a great view though. The tower looks a little tilting from the outside ground view, is it just the perspective in the photo or is it really leaning a little?

    • Stefanie,
      No it doesn’t look that wonky in reality or if it does it isn’t that noticeable. I think it’s just the perspective. Mind you it won’t be dead straight as it is not far off 1,000 years old, it’ll have subsided a bit over the years!

        • Stefanie,
          It’s weird because I don’t recall looking at it and thinking – it’s wonky, it only seems to be in the photo, but I’ll take a closer look next time I’m in St Andrews.

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