East Neuk Easter

Easter Sunday was a gorgeous day in the East Neuk of Fife where we were lucky enough to be celebrating the day at the home of our newly extended family by marriage in Cellardyke. Below are a few photos that I took from their verandah – looking over to the Isle of May in the distance, it was a wee bit hazy.

Isle of May

Isle of May

It was all go on the Firth of Forth – which is really the North Sea at Cellardyke, with next landfall being Norway.

Kayaks

Two lots of rowers went past in quite big boats and they went at quite a lick. There has been an upsurge in competitive rowing between the Fife coastal villages recently although I think it’s mainly women tha take part in it.
Kayaks

You should be able to see one of the big heavy rowing boats in the background. A pod of four dolphins arrived and swam under and around the kayakers for a bit before swimming off further along the coast, but they turned out to be impossible to photograph.

aKayaks 4

Ella and Zinki are waiting patiently at the gate which leads onto the beach. Zinki the spaniel had already cut his paws on shards of shell or something but it didn’t seem to be bothering him much, he was still determined to get into that freezing water again – and he did!
Zinki and Ella

It did get a bit chilly later on, but by then we were into the home-made chocolate so nobody minded. It was a great day.

easter eggs

Cellardyke Rainbow

We had a very busy Remembrance Sunday this year, attending the wreath laying ceremony at Markinch as Jack was laying a wreath there. Then in the afternoon we took part in the Silent Citizens Walk at Cellardyke, we have family connections there.

The walk goes past all of the houses that people whose names are on the war memorial lived in, and there’s a person standing outside the house representing them, and they too join in the procession, it’s actually very thought provoking and moving. As it’s a coastal and fishing community a lot of the men had been sailors or fishermen.

We set off in heavy rain, and were all glad to pack into the town hall for the next part of the service. It was a packed house. By the time we came out and started to walk along to the memorial it had brightened up and suddenly a lovely rainbow appeared. It seemed like some kind of sign.

Cellardyke Rainbow

Cellardyke Rainbow

From here the next land you reach is Denmark. In this photo there is also a strangely angled cloud/light shadow slanting down to the left.

Cellardyke Rainbow

St Monans Windmill and coast in Fife, Scotland

Pittenweem from St Monans Windmill 1

One lovely Sunday in August we went to a local craft/food fair along the coast at St Monans and then took a walk along part of the Fife coastal walk. I took the photo of the village of Pittenweem above from the old windmill at St Monans, which is below. It has been fairly recently refurbished but you don’t seem to be able to get into it.
Windmill
The tide was just about as high as it gets, but there weren’t many boats around, just one yacht and a small fishing boat laying creels/lobster pots.
Rocks  + Yacht

We sat for a while on these beautifully sea worn rocks, watching the patterns of the ripples and waves.
Rocks and Sea
From the windmill you can look down on the remains of the salt pans below. It was quite a complicated and time consuming business. No wonder people were described as being ‘worth their salt’.
Salt Pans

Salt Pans at St Monans

Salt Pan Information Board

Salt Pan Information Board

Below is a photo of the windmill with the old fishing village of St Monans in the background. It’s famous for having a ‘squinty’ harbour wall. You can see images of the village here.
Windmill and St Monans

Cellardyke

A couple of weeks ago we visited the Bowhouse craft and food/drink fair near St Monans in the east neuk of Fife. They are a fairly regular occurrence, no-doubt a product of farmers having to diversify nowadays as the venue is a group of barns. Anyway, we had a nice time there and bought a few things. It’s a fair trek from where we live though so as it was a lovely afternoon we decided to drive on a couple of miles along to through the coastal fishing villages and ended up at Cellardyke. Below is a photo of the Firth of Forth with the Isle of May in the distance. It’s a haven for birdlife of course.

Isle of May

There are some really old houses, some of them are quite pretty I think and they seem to stand up to the icy blast of the North Sea well, but I wouldn’t want to live in one.

Old House

I’ve been told that the ground floor of these houses used to be used just to store the fishing gear, which would make sense as I suspect the sea comes in to visit them now and again, so I would much rather have my living quarters upstairs.

Old House

If you walk along to the end of the village and go up to the war memorial you are high enough to get a good view of the rooftops and sea.

Houses and Sea, Cellardyke

The houses on the left hand of this street back onto the sea, this photo was taken on an earlier visit, when we went there to see the local art exhibition. The red balloons in the distance mean that that house has artworks on view and for sale.

Cellardyke

And below is the view from behind those houses. The big pole is one of only a couple that are left now, they were for hanging the fishing nets on in the olden days, so they are historic really. I find them quite obtrusive but people seem to like them.
Cellardyke
But the place to hang your washing/laundry is at the harbour as you can see from the photo below. These washing lines are well used by the locals although if it blows too hard your washing is likely to end up in Norway!
washing

Lastly a close up of Isle of May. We had intended taking a boat trip to this island, mainly to see the puffins, but so far we haven’t made it. It takes a couple of hours to get there. Last year we really didn’t fancy being stuck out on a boat in what seemed to be endless rain last so-called summer. This year we didn’t fancy getting roasted by the sun on the trip, not that I’m complaining.

Isle of May

Cruising from Rosyth, Fife

We chose to go on a cruise leaving from Rosyth in Fife because it’s fairly handy for us, in fact we even looked at a house in Rosyth when we were looking for a new home a couple of years ago. Rosyth is by the River Forth and for me it meant that our trip would be exciting from the very start as we would be sailing under the bridges – all three of them, and getting up close to the third one – the Queensferry Crossing, still under construction. We checked in at 4.30 pm on September, 30th – as we were asked to and by 6.00 pm the Black Watch set sail. The photo below was taken from the ship, looking over to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh

The photo below is of one of the islands in the Firth of Forth, Inchcolm.

Inchcolm

The photo below is of the new bridge called the Queensferry Crossing, still under construction.

new bridge 1

The photo below is of Kirkcaldy where we used to live until a couple of years ago.

Kirkcaldy

If you look closely at the photo below I think you can just about make out all three bridges.

anew bridge 4

The week previously had been wild and windy but the weather had taken a turn for the worse as far as I was concerned as the North Sea that we sailed into was a flat calm. What a disappointment, I’ve always loved heavy seas, ever since going on an incredibly rough voyage to Scandinavia as a schoolgirl. Anyway, we sailed along at an average speed of 16 knots and after sailing from the North Sea into the English Channel I was a bit happier as the sea was quite a bit choppier there.

I was still wondering if we had done the right thing in going on a cruise though as I’m not really a people person. I’m fine once I get to know folks but a shipful of around a thousand strangers was a bit daunting to me. For the first few days I did a lot of reading in our cabin, apart from meal times. I must say the food was really delicious, but going out for fancy meals has never been my top way of relaxing, although I did get used very quickly to having everything done for me. The evening meal was five courses but we usually just had three courses, I think we were unusual in that.

Just about the first thing that struck us was that everybody seemed to be so much older than us. I reckon that the average age was about 80. To be fair we deliberately booked up a cruise that was for adults only, mainly because I thought it would be a nightmare if there were a lot of badly behaved kids rampaging around. It never occurred to me that going on a cruise is actually cheaper than paying for a care home – but it is, and I’m sure the care is better on board too! We did find a few people who were younger than us, some folks who were maybe only around 40 or so.

The ship seemed to be full of people who were more or less addicted to cruising, loads of them had booked up for their next cruise before this one came to an end. They claim that the sea air makes your clothes shrink!

When I started to explore the ship a bit more I noticed that there were loads of people reading books, a few using Kindles. John Grisham was very popular but I didn’t see anyone reading the sorts of books that I tend to go for. There were a fair few knitters around too. I had thought about taking some knitting as it’s getting on for my knitting ‘season’ but I really thought that I would definitely be looked on as being a bit eccentric – knitting on a cruise.

So the first few days I was a bit down and that song about Camp Granada kept running through my mind. But then we made friends with the people at the next door table, and we discovered some old friends were on the cruise, old in both ways as we’ve known them for 30 years or so and they are both over 80 and still going strong. So by the time we got to the first port – Lorient in Brittany on Monday I was feeling a lot more optimistic. Tomorrow I’ll show you some photos of that port.

Salisbury Crags, Edinburgh

Salisbury Crags from car park

One day last week we decided it was time that we hiked up the Salisbury Crags which are a part of the rocky area to the left of Edinburgh Castle, close to Holyrood Palace. It was a lovely blue sky day by the time we got there and loads of people had had the same idea, it was a busy place. In fact I have to admit that it was only after we got home that we realised it was the Salisbury Crags we had gone up, when we were there we were under the impression we had hiked up to Arthur’s Seat – we’ll do that one next time. Sir Walter Scott calls Salisbury Crags Salusbury Crags in Heart of Midlothian, it’s thought that Salisbury is a corruption of a Gaelic word meaning Willow Brae, but it was anglicised to Salisbury at some point.

Salisbury  Crags rocks

I’m well used to hill walking and this walk looks very easy but you can’t see most of the climb from the bottom and it wasn’t long before I was beginning to think I had bitten off more than I could chew because the beginning of this hike is very steep and I was huffing and puffing up it like an old steam engine. I looked up and saw a wee girl aged about four or five twinkling down the hill on her toes, and I thought if she can do it surely I can.

View from Salisbury Crags 13

The path soon levels out quite a bit and it’s only when you are almost at the top that it begins to get really steep again and now and again I found myself clutching at tufts of grass, but by then the top was in sight.

View from Salisbury  Crags 10

It’s definitely worth the trek as you get great views of Edinburgh from there as you can see. Unfortunately it started to rain when we got to the top, it was so windy that the rain was actually being pushed up again, curving away from the rock as it got about a metre away from it. Golden beads swooping up before getting over the edge and landing on us. Luckily it didn’t last too long as there’s no cover up there!

You can see Edinburgh Castle in the photo below.

View from Salisbury  Crags 2 castle

And Holyrood Palace which is just at the bottom of the Crags. There is a Royal Standard flying but I don’t think the Queen was in residence then. The Firth of Forth is in the distance, you can see one of the islands.

View from Salisbury  Crags 16 Holyrood Pal

We knew that we were going to be the worse for wear the next day, I really expected my thighs to be giving me gyp but it turned out it was our calf muscles that had taken the brunt of the strain. It was two whole days before my legs felt normal!

You can see great images of Salisbury Crags here.

Cramond, near Edinburgh

We’ve been dashing all over the place this past week trying to show Peggy some of our favourite places, and one of them is Cramond, an old village not far from Edinburgh. Cramond is a really ancient settlement with evidence of occupation as far back as the mesolithic and bronze ages as well as some of the Romans having been there.

Cramond

You can see lots of images of Cramond here, but I just took the couple of photos above and below of some lovely boats. Click them to enlarge!

Cramond

Seafield, Kirkcaldy, Fife.

On a recent walk to nearby Seafield beach I noticed that although it was beginning to spit with rain the sun was shining on Dysart Harbour to my left, I don’t know when the wind turbine appeared but it’s a plus as far as I’m concerned, quite elegant looking.

A couple of seconds later I took this photo, just a wee bit to the right of Dysart, out in the Firth of Forth there was a rainbow which you might be able to see if you look carefully, and to the right of that there’s quite a lot of rain falling.

Just a couple of minutes later we were back to blue skies, it was just about a four seasons in one day sort of day!

Walking along towards Seafield my progress was stopped by a wee river which appeared amongst the rocks and ran into the Forth. It made lovely patterns in the sand but they don’t show up that well in the photos.

I inadvertently got into the photo below, as you can see, long shadows. It was after four o’clock by this time, isn’t it great when the light nights get here again.

This picnic area is just behind where I took the photos and I noticed these two seagulls running on the spot, then cocking their heads to listen for movement underground. They’re crafty, they paddle their feet up and down to simulate rainfall, hoping to trick any nearby worms into popping their heads up out of the earth, as they do when it rains, so that they aren’t in danger of drowning. It looks comical.

We had a walk around the housing estate which you can just see in the background, just wondering if it would be a good place to move to as there weren’t many houses coming up for sale, but we decided that we definitely don’t want to live so close to the sea, especially as it was roaring in just yards away from the houses. That and the fact that not long ago Seafield was a coal-mine, until Thatcher closed it down in the 1980s. There are some lovely houses there but it’s not my idea of a safe place to live. Especially having seen all those enormous holes opening up in various towns and also houses tumbling into the sea. What with all that and having to think about the risk of flooding in lots of places, house-hunting isn’t as easy as you would think.

Braefoot and Dalgety Bay/Firth of Forth

Are you ready for another wee walk? Last Saturday was one of those dazzling bright days which you only seem to get by a coast, so we decided to drive along to Dalgety Bay for a wee bit of a change of coastal view. We had intended going to see St Bridget’s Kirk which is a very old church ruin. We’ve been passing a sign pointing to it for donkey’s years but have always just wheeched past on our way to Dalgety Bay. The photo below is of Braefoot Bay terminal as seen from Dalgety Bay.

Braefoot Bay

The sailing club is very close to where we were standing and as you can see, just to the right of Braefoot there were some yachts sailing about, it was a great day for it as the sun was actually quite warm, amazing for the time of year. I’ve never seen more than one or two yachts at a time together but this lot seemed to be taking part in a sort of sailing equivalent of an eightsome reel, it looked like good fun.

yachts in the Firth of Forth

Here they are a bit closer.

yachts  in the Firth of Forth

And again.

yachts in the Firth of Forth

We realised that due to there only seeming to be the one signpost pointing to St Bridget’s Kirk we had ended up going in completely the wrong direction. I suggested walking to St David’s Harbour to have a look at the information board there which has a map.

The result of that was we had to retrace our footsteps and go along a bit of the coastal path that we hadn’t visited before to reach the old kirk, but more of that walk tomorrow.

From the Fife Coastal Path

apath 1

Above is a wee section of the Fife Coastal Path at Dalgety Bay, this isn’t a typical section of it though as there aren’t many steps on the path.

aMich daisies

I took a photo of these Michaelmas daisies by the side of the path as they’re a much more vibrant colour than the ones in my own garden.

alighthouse

I had to zoom in a couple of times to get this one of Oxcar lighthouse which stands in the middle of the Firth of Forth. Scotland’s lighthouses were very difficult and dangerous building projects, as you can imagine from the location of this one. If you want to learn more you might enjoy reading Bella Bathurst’s book, The Lighthouse Stevensons.

atug

The sun was shining on Leith as this wee tug went up the Forth towards the bridges, you get a good view of them from here but I didn’t take any photos of them that day, I have so many already.

aship 2 Artemis Glory

Two minutes later the sun had disappeared when I took the photo of this tanker Artemis Glory which was anchored by a pontoon, waiting for its turn to be loaded up with gas or whatever its cargo was to be.

bEdin skyline 1

And the one above is of the Edinburgh skyline as seen from Dalgety Bay in Fife.