Anstruther to Crail.

Start. Anstruther.

Route. Anstruther - Cellardyke - Skinfast Haven - Cardinal Steps - Caiplie - Caiplie Caves - The Pans - Crail - The Pans - Caiplie Caves - Caiplie - Cardinal Steps - Skinfast Haven - Anstruther.

Notes. A classic stretch of coastal path connecting two historic harbours, we visited not two but three delightful havens, a hermits cave and a site once used to harvest salt. The plan was to have lunch in Crail before catching the bus back. Rather than make the return journey on public transport, with energy levels high after a good meal we opted to walk, after all the weather doesn't come much better than this.

We left the car in one of the two car parks along the harbour front, via East Shore and James Street we headed up the coast, along John Street then George Street before Shore Street carried us passed the delightful little harbour at Cellardyke, Shore Street merged with East End as we headed out onto the Fife coast. No more street walking we had the Fife Coastal Path under foot gifting us with magnificent views to the Isle of May, Bass Rock and North Berwick Law, and a stunning coastline ahead beckoning us on. Passed the tastefully converted farmstead at Caiplie we strolled before reaching Caiplie Caves, sculptured by the sea in times when sea levels were higher than today, a site of early Christian worship, once home to a hermit, worth a quick exploration before moving on. Exploration over we headed on, passing The Pans, a site once used for salt harvesting, then on to Crail, entering this delightful fishing village via West Braes and Anstruther Road, Shoregate guided us down to the harbour.

My philosophy has always been to recommend tackling the same walk in the opposite direction, there's lots you miss and always something different to see, with this in mind it was a case of practice what you preach. With full stomachs after a good meal we re-traced our steps.

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Anstruther Harbour seen from the parked car.

Wandering through the narrow streets of Cellardyke.

Cellardyke Harbour or if you're local Skinfast Haven, dates back to 1452.

The Cardinals Steps, named after Cardinal Beaton of St Andrews who had a summer residence here, the site was developed as a bathing pool in the 1930s.

Poppies adorn this narrow access lane, as they do in many lanes and roadside verges in Fife.

Looking back to Cellardyke.

Near Caiplie looking to the Isle of May.

Once washed by the sea, Caiplie Caves.... the ninth century a place of worship, pilgrims en route to St Andrews would often overnight here....

One particular cave was also used by a Hermit, and is known as the Hermits Cave.

Near The Pans looking south.

The Pans.

Our first view of the delightful fishing village, Crail.

The harbour, Crail.

Typical harbour scene on the Fife coast, Lobster Pots.

Crail as seen from the north.

Seen on our return, "island of seagulls" as our Norse forefathers christened it, we know it as the Isle of May.

The tide's ebbing revealing a rock strewn shoreline.

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