From the Fife Coastal Path

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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.

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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.

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

The Sea at Kirkcaldy Esplanade in Fife

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This is what we saw when we got to the esplanade in Kirkcaldy a couple of days ago, so we decided not to brave the actual esplanade, just in case we got wheeched into the sea by a particularly big wave. We opted for walking along by the inner wall next to the road instead.

As you can see the sea wall is badly in need of repair and in fact there is work ongoing at the moment, it’s going to take about two years to complete it I think. This is the Firth of Forth, just as it turns into the North Sea, straight ahead is Denmark I think.

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The sea wall was built between 1922 and 24 and the work was done to give employment to men who were unemployed after the First World War, it’s quite depressing to think that we have the same problems with unemployment now. I think that the only time there has been full employment here was in those glory days of the 1960s.

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The actual sea was almost a flat calm until about 10 feet out from the sea wall, when the waves all started to fight with each other, then exploded onto the wall.
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Well you get the idea of what the sea was like but you can never capture it in a photo, for one thing you don’t have the accompanying noise, or the salty spray in your face. I must figure out how to work the video bit of my camera, reading the instructions would probably help!

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Burntisland, Fife and Tyninghame in East Lothian

Well that’s the school holidays over with in the east of Scotland anyway. We didn’t go away this summer, our lives are sort of on hold at the moment as our house is up for sale now and we can’t really think beyond moving on to the next place, wherever and whenever that might be.

But a few days ago we did drive along the coast a few miles to Burntisland. This town was at one time a popular holiday destination, especially for people from the west of Scotland who fancied a wee change and a breath of eastern air.
Burntisland Railway Station
The railway station above is quite different from most others in small towns in Scotland, as you can see it was built along quite grand lines and in a classical style.

Sadly these towns have all fallen on hard times in recent years as people preferred to fly to Spain to chase the sunshine, and all the boarding houses, small hotels and B&Bs have disappeared and the town itself is down at heel, mind you the same thing can be said of most high streets at the moment.

Burntisland beach

This photo was taken close to the swimming pool, it’s of a popular beach with part of the town in the background. The town itself is quite historical, you can read about it here.

Firth of Forth

The photo above was taken from the same spot that I took the previous one, just looking in the opposite direction out onto the Firth of Forth with one of the islands in the background.

Another place that we visited last week was the teeny wee village of Tyninghame in East Lothian, we had lunch in the coffee shop there and couldn’t believe how busy it was. We were visiting friends from England who have settled there, it’s a lovely wee place but I imagine it’s different altogether in the winter time. Tyninghame is one of those wee villages which was moved in the 18th century by its owner. The Earl of Haddington apparently didn’t like the view of the village houses which he got from from his own stately home, so he had the offending buildings moved further away!

If you’re at all interested in Scotland you will find the Undiscovered Scotland site very interesting. It seems to have information on bucketloads of places in Scotland that I haven’t even heard of. I could spend an awful long time on that site alone.

Kirkcaldy Beach, Fife, Scotland

This week Scotland has been enjoying wonderful weather for once and March temperature records have been broken. It got to 73F in some places, I think it was about 69F at the beach in Kirkcaldy when I took these photos.
 Kirkcaldy shore

There were actually people sunbathing in their bikinis but I decided against shocking you. It has to be said that Kirkcaldy central beach definitely isn’t one of the bonniest beaches in Fife and there are much nicer ones just a stone’s throw in each direction along the coast. The nearby small towns of Aberdour and Kinghorn have beautiful sandy beaches too.

Kirkcaldy shore
As you can see the sand here has teeny wee bits of coal, just like grit mixed in with the sand. A legacy of the coal mining days of the area, of course all the mines were closed down years ago.
 black coal tide line

The water is beautifully clear though and this photo is actually all water as the tide was coming in. The Firth of Forth is certainly a lot cleaner than it used to be. It’s just at this point that it turns into the North Sea.
shore line
Back to the town again and you can see those three blocks of high flats which are so visible from Edinburgh and North Berwick. If you look closely you can see the massive yellow crane which is being used in the construction of the new swimming pool, although why we needed a new one is a mystery to me because the old (1980s) pool seems absolutely fine.

Kirkcaldy shore

So, that was Kirkcaldy on one of the hottest March days which we have experienced. Why is it that when it’s a hot temperature we always revert to using Imperial measurements? We go back to those 70 Fs and know exactly what it means, hot to us but mild to other people no doubt. Then when it’s cold we are back to using centigrade and moan that it’s -15 C or whatever!

Forth Bridge, South Queensferry, Scotland

I was watching our Great Leader (and I don’t think!) David Cameron on the TV news today and thankfully I was distracted by the view of the Forth Bridge which was behind him, as he was in South Queensferry, for some odd reason. I had been hoping to see a train going over the bridge in the background because they’re very frequent, about every five minutes it seems. Unfortunately I couldn’t see any, I did begin to think it was just a photo he was sitting in front of but there were seagulls flying about so it can’t have been.

Anyway, I did take a couple of photos of a train on the bridge when I was there a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t get around to blogging about them. I just wanted to show the scale of the whole thing, fairly massive I think you’ll agree! The photo below is of a train just going on to the Forth Bridge.

Forth Bridge, South Queensferry

If you look closely below you’ll be able to see the same train right in the middle of the bridge, it looks like a toy. As I said before, the whole bridge is massively over-engineered, deliberately so to give people confidence that it would be safe to use and wouldn’t collapse in a storm as the original Tay Bridge did.

Forth Bridge, South Queensferry

Somehow it still manages to look elegant, despite the tons of iron which it’s made from.

Edinburgh with Evee

As Evee said, the first thing we did when we got to Edinburgh was to pay a visit to the old cemetery across from Calton Hill in Waterloo Place. I wanted to take a photo of the names on the Martyrs’ Monument as I only took a photo of William Skirving’s name the last time I was there. You can see my previous post here.

Martyrs' Monument, Edinburgh

We huffed and puffed up to Calton Hill which isn’t far and is well worth doing because on a clear day the views across to Fife and of the city of Edinburgh are great. In this one you can see one of the islands in the Firth of Forth. I can’t remember what it’s called but it’s the one which is shaped like a battleship and the Germans apparently tried to sink it on numerous bombing raids during World War II

Edinburgh skyline

This is the unfinished monument nicknamed Edinburgh’s Disgrace, there was actually a lot going on behind this edifice, you can just see a white van on the right hand side peeking out but there was also a digger and several men hacking away at the ground behind the base of the pillars – who knows what was going on?!

Edinburgh's Disgrace

There are a lot of buildings scattered around Calton Hill and the right hand one is obviously the observatory but I can’t remember what the wee sort of mausoleum type building is commemorating.

The Observatory on Calton Hill

This one is the Nelson Monument which was built to commemorate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. You get a lovely view from the top of it and it’s worth trudging up the 100 and odd steps to get there. John, the custodian goes up them every day about 12.50 so that he has time to wind the huge copper ball up in time for it to be dropped at 1 o’clock. In the days when very few people had a watch it was useful for the folks on ships out in the Forth, not that there are many ships today, just a few oil/gas tankers usually.

THe monument used to be inhabited by its custodian but isn’t nowadays, shame because it would make a lovely wee home, I quite fancied the idea of living there but I’m keen on lighthouses too, don’t ask me why because I’m not crazy about the sea, unless there is plenty of greenery in the view too.

Nelson's Monument

So that’s a wee bit more of our trip round Edinburgh. Evee did a much more in depth one which you can see here if you’re interested. Her photos are much artier than my snaps!

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?!

Seals and Swans in the Firth of Forth and River Leven.

For the past few days it has been absolutely chucking it down over the whole of Scotland and Glasgow has had the most amount of rainfall there since records began – and if you know Glasgow at all you’ll realise how bad it has been! Lots of flooding all over the country but we’re fine here. I just wish someone up there would turn off the taps! To cheer myself up I’ve been having a look at some photos which I took a couple of weeks ago in the time of blue skies. This one is of the old bridge at Dumbarton on the River Leven and there is a swan with cygnets just going under the bridge. These swans went at quite a lick and I had to run to get this photo, not something I do often, I’m more a dignified walk sort of a person. The River Leven often has well over 100 swans floating around this area but most of them seemed to be elsewhere.

 Swans in River Leven, Dumbarton

The Leven is just a wee river which flows into the River Clyde at Dumbarton Rock which you can see in this photo, but it’s still very dangerous and it seems that just about every summer some lads drown in it. They just want to have a lark but don’t realise how cold it is and it’s full of weeds which can fankle (entangle) you too.

Dumbarton Rock

I took this photo last week from the Fife coastal path at Kirkcaldy, just beyond Seafield Tower, walking towards Kinghorn. The rocks there are favourites with the seals and they were making themselves heard that day. Unearthly noises come from them at times, well they would be unearthly I suppose as they’re in the sea, but you know what I mean, positively eerie sounds.

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I can quite see how the ancient sailors used to think that the seals were mermaids singing, especially when they hadn’t seen women for years!

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I suppose it helped if they were in the water too rather than basking and looking enormously fat. It’s possible that some of these seals were about to give birth, maybe that’s what all the racket was about.

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I can hardly believe that we had such lovely weather just last week. We seemed to be in a pattern of one lovely day followed by a wet one for a while but now it looks and feels like November and the schools are going back next week. That could be the cue for the sun to be splitting the pavements and a return of summer. Well maybe.

Trip to Inchcolm in the Firth of Forth

You know what it’s like, somehow you just never get around to doing the touristy things which are on your own doorstep. So when we saw that the weather was going rapidly downhill towards the end of the week we thought we would seize the last good day and take that trip to Inchcolm which we’ve been putting off for about 25 years. King David I founded a priory which became an abbey in 1235. Apparently they’re the best preserved monastic buildings in Scotland. This is the boat which we went on, I was surprised at how fast it could go but the captain was really good and slowed the boat down for people to take photos of seals and puffins.

Forth Belle at Inchcolm

It was a good trip and the water was very calm. I particularly enjoyed going underneath the two bridges. We went past Oxcar lighthouse which was built by the ‘Lighthouse Stevensons’, Robert Louis and D.E. were from the same family. You can see Leith (Edinburgh’s port) in the background.

Oxcar Lighthouse 2

And this is our destination Inchcolm Abbey, on one of the five islands in the Forth.

Inchcolm Abbey from Forth

This is the abbey from on the island, as you can see it’s a ruin but there’s still a lot to see and parts of it are quite intact. If you have the notion you can get married in the abbey, I suppose its different and for some reason people are always looking for unusual venues.

Inchcolm Abbey from Island

The island has been used for defensive purposes in the last two wars and at one point there were 500 soldiers garrisoned on it but most of the barracks have been demolished although you can still see the gun emplacements. The Forth Bridge was the target of the very first German bombing raid of World War II but of course they didn’t even manage to damage it, although they kept trying.

We tried to walk around the whole of the island but had to give up because the seagulls are nesting at the moment so the adult birds are particularly aggressive and it was beginning to resemble a scene from The Birds so we had to turn back.

Another great day out but if you are thinking of taking the trip make sure that you check the weather forecast first. We had a beautiful afternoon there but if it had rained it would have been pretty miserable as there isn’t really anywhere to shelter on the island. It must be really wild when the wind is roaring but I quite fancied the idea of staying on the island, there is a wee house there which is inhabited, presumably by a caretaker who must tend the plants and cut the grass, what a great job!

It was great sailing under the two bridges but I’m leaving those photos for another post!

Meanwhile here’s the Abbey tower.

Inchcolm Abbey tower

South Queensferry, near Edinburgh

 Forth Bridge

It was when I was watching the TV dramatisation of Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories a couple of weeks ago that I realised that I had never been to visit South Queensferry, it featured in one of the episodes. We’re always in a hurry to get to or from Edinburgh when we drive in that direction so I thought it was about time we had a look at the place properly instead of just from the bridge or the other side of the Firth of Forth. I took the above photo from a wee gap in between a couple of buildings which are in the High Street, you’re never far from a view of the bridge. If you look closely you’ll see a train just about to go on to the bridge on the right. It gives you an idea of how huge the bridge is.

pillar box

I had to take a photo of this original Victorian pillar box, it’s years since I’ve seen one, they’re quite rare now. They always make me think of Anthony Trollope.

St Mary's front

This is the priory church of St Mary at Queenferry, I don’t think the photo does it justice. It’s such a lovely wee church and has a beautiful garden too. I don’t know what it’s like inside but I think it must have been very popular with brides in the past. It’s Episcopalian now although it was originally Roman Catholic.

St Mary's garden

There’s quite a big garden all around the church but it isn’t possible to photograph it all because the trees are so big. This wee garden to the side of it is very pretty and somebody obviously takes good care of it. The church was built in 1330 but has been refurbished several times, most recently in 2000 and it’s still used for worship.

South Queensferry has lots of restaurants and gift shops and there were plenty of day trippers when we were there. There are boats which take you out to the island of Inchcolm, and next time we plan to be on one of them. For once we managed to say NO to the ice-cream!