Firth of Forth at Aberdour, Fife

Earlier in the week we drove to the very historic wee coastal village of Aberdour, just for a change of scenery. If you look carefully at the photo below you’ll see there are stone steps which have been cut into the rock years ago, but they have almost been worn away by the daily batterings from the Firth of Forth on its way to the North Sea.

Aberdour Rocks, Fife

I was standing on the beach at Aberdour when I took these photos and if you click to enlarge you will be able to see Arthur’s Seat, the Salisbury Crags and the smaller lump of rock to the right is Edinburgh Castle. In reality you can see it fairly clearly from the Fife side of the Forth.

Firth of Forth, Edinburgh

The large building at the far end of the photo below is a hotel, well it used to be but it may not be now. There were actually a couple of women swimming in the sea, I think they must have had wet suits on though as it’s absolutely freezing and it wouldn’t take long for hypothermia to set in. There weren’t many people around though so it all felt very safe.

Firth of Forth, Aberdour beach, Fife

I should have taken a photo of the houses at the edge of the beach but I didn’t, however you can see them in the background of the photo below of Jack and our friend who had never been to Aberdour before. There are some lovely houses there but they would be very expensive as Aberdour is an easy train journey from Edinburgh.

Maureen & Jack

But Maureen thought that this quaint wee house below on the town’s High Street would just do her fine! Do you ever pick out a favourite house when you visit a new place?

Quaint house, Aberdour, Fife

There are lots of images of Aberdour here.

St Fillan’s Kirk, Aberdour, Fife

St  Fillan's kirk exterior

We were visiting Aberdour Castle when the woman in the ticket office asked if we had ever visited St Fillan’s Kirk on the edge of the castle grounds. We hadn’t even known it existed so we made our way there to have a snoop around. The church dates from around 1123.

St  Fillan's kirk gravestones

These ancient gravestones are at the edge of the pathway leading to the church. They must originally have been inside the churchyard marking graves, but they’ve probably fallen over at some point in the last 500 years or so since they were erected, and this is the safest location for them now.

When St Fillan’s was built it would obviously have been a Roman Catholic church but since the Scottish Reformation it has been taken over by the Church of Scotland, and it’s still used every Sunday for worship.

St  Fillan's kirk interior

It fell into disuse during the 18th century and became a ruin and it’s only in fairly recent years that it was saved and brought into use again. There was a local campaign in 1925 to raise money to put a roof on it again and after only a year it was re-opened for use, quite amazing really when you consider that they even had to deal with a massive tree which had taken root in the chancel.

St  Fillan's kirk interior

The modern chairs which have replaced the original pews don’t really detract from the atmosphere of the place.

St  Fillan's kirk interior glass

I know that some people don’t like stained glass and although I’m really not at all religious, I’m always drawn to the windows because of the wonderful colours of the glass. Another point of interest for me was the framed lists of christenings which have taken place there in more recent years. I’m a bit obsessed by the changing fashions of names over the years, but I’m probably fairly unusual in that.

St  Fillan's kirk interior glass

There is obviously no charge to take a look around St Fillan’s and if you’re visiting Aberdour Castle you should definitely make time to look around it.

If you want to read more about St Fillan have a look here.

Cramond village, near Edinburgh

Last Saturday we stopped off at Cramond after spending the afternoon at Ingliston Antiques Fair, near Edinburgh. Cramond is a wee coastal village near Edinburgh and we pass it on the way home to Fife. It was a favourite destination when our boys were wee.

A street in Cramond, Scotland.

The photo above is of the hotel at Cramond, the village is almost a suburb of Edinburgh now but at one time it was apparently popular with Edinburghers looking for a weekend getaway from the city, of the ‘dirty weekend’ variety. I haven’t read Muriel Spark’s Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, mainly because I’ve seen so many different dramatised versions of it, but I remember distinctly the actor Gordon Jackson in the 1969 film trying to persuade Jean (Maggie Smith) to go away with him for the weekend to Cramond – so naughty!

Cramond, near Edinburgh

Most of the buildings have been whitewashed, as is traditional with coastal houses. These buildings are actually by the harbour just where the River Almond flows into the Firth of Forth. Cramond is thought to have been first inhabited in 8500 BC which makes it the oldest settlement in Scotland. The Romans settled there around about the year 142 but only stayed for 15 years or so, after which they retreated back to Hadrian’s Wall.

The Firth of Forth

The photo above was taken from Cramond, looking over the Firth of Forth to Fife, the village of Aberdour is more or less in the middle of the photo but most of it is obscured by an island, the bigger island is called Inchcolm and we had a great afternoon out there last year, if you want a closer look at it take a peek here.

You can clearly see some wind turbines which have been popping up in quite a few locations. They’re controversial but I quite like them although I don’t suppose I would want one on my doorstep. That well known pain in the neck Donald Trump has been trumpeting on about them just today on the news as there are plans for some turbines to be built in the sea near his golf course north of Aberdeen. Apparently he hates them and thinks they will kill tourism in Scotland, and he would have built his golf course in Ireland if he had thought that his view was going to be blighted by turbines. If only we had known then and we could have waved him cheerio as he departed in high dudgeon for Ireland, and the people in Aberdeen wouldn’t have to put up with yet another golf course!

Aberdour, Fife

I’ve been neglecting ‘Pining’ the past couple of days because yet again I’m up to my elbows in wallpaper paste – doing Gordon’s old bedroom now. No don’t say that I should get professionals in to do it because in my experience they are just expensive bodgers so I would rather do it myself, I can bodge just as well for free!

Anyway, a couple of weekends ago we decided to go for a walk around Aberdour (again), just about six miles along the coast going towards Edinburgh. It’s too long to walk there so we took the car and by the time we got there it was chucking it down with rain. But you wouldn’t think it from the photos, it was one of those ‘April shower’ days in September.

Firth of Forth

The Firth of Forth

We went to Aberdour so that my husband could take a photo of the war memorial there, he’s sort of ‘collecting’ them, which is a Sisyphean task if ever there was one as they’re all over the place and sometimes in the most unexpected locations, but I leave them to him. I was more interested in this ancient doorway leading into the grounds of Aberdour Castle. It dates from 1632.

Aberdour Castle Garden

And this is what you can see when you get through the doorway.

Aberdour Castle Garden

Aberdour Castle Garden

It’s still pretty and colourful even in September. Aberdour Castle is one of the few castles which I think would have been quite comfy and pleasant to live in in its heyday and it’s worth a visit if you’re ever in that vicinity.

By the time we walked around Aberdour my feet were absolutely squelching wet, completely drookit. What is it about modern footwear manufacturers? They seem to have lost the ability to make shoes and boots waterproof. I had on my fairly expensive hiking boots and after about a year they started to leak. Am I expecting too much? Is it just me or do other people have the same problem with footwear nowadays?!