Pittenweem to Elie (a traverse).

Start. Pittenweem.

Route. Pittenweem - St Fillan's Cave - East Shore - West Shore - Pans Goat - St Monans - Rose Street - Mid Shore - West Shore - West End - St Monan's Church - Long Shank - Newark Castle - Ardross Castle - East Links - Admiralty Lane - The Toft - Elie.

Notes. The Fife Coastal Path runs 81 miles linking bridges over the Forth and Tay. Short stretches of tarmac connect foreshore path and clifftop track with golden strands and idyllic fishing villages, history oozes from the landscape, every step of the way. We've all ready touched on the coastal path a couple of times this week, the sun's still shining so come join us on a relaxing ramble the few miles between Pittenweem and Elie, and because it's the last walk of the week we'll allow you to make the return journey by public transport, how can you possibly reject an offer like that.

Our outing starts in the secluded fishing village of Pittenweem, to be more precise in the narrow Cove Wynd at St Fillan's Cave, we made his acquaintance once before, on the West Highland Way, we won't be meeting him today, the cave was locked, the key available at an address that could have been on Mars unless you know the village.

Turning our backs on the cave we descended to the colourful harbour before turning west. To exit the village we walked passed the delightful fisherman's cottages on West Shore. The Fife Coastal Path faithfully guided us along the coast, gifting us with wonderful views at every turn, tiny coves and secluded bays came and went, we soon reached the outskirts of St Monans, a restored windmill and several ruins marked the site of a rather large salt collecting operation. Another delightful little harbour welcomed us. We passed the Parish Church rising shear from the salty waters of the Forth of Forth, built between 1362 and 1370 St Manan's can claim fame to being the closest church to the sea in the whole of Scotland.

On we walked ascending the cliffs at Long Shank to be greeted with views over rocky outcrops and golden beaches as far as Elie, standing sentinel guarding our route impressive crumbling remains in a magnificent clifftop setting, Newark Castle. Further along the coast the not so magnificent fragmented ruin of 13th century Ardross Castle. On we walked crossing the dunes at East Links visited earlier in the week. We entered Elie along the edge of the 16th century harbour via Admiralty Lane and The Toft, then all I had to do was find a bus stop before Sue found the shops.

view route map.


Descending Cove Wynd.

St Fillan's Cave, no key no entry, I understand the cave contains two stone slabs presumably used as beds, it was also used as a prison during the witch hunts of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Harbour scene Pittenweem.

Viewing Pittenweem from the Fife Coastal Path, time for a piece of useless information. The name derived from Pictish and Scotish Gaelic, "Pit" represents pet "place, portion of land" in Pictish, -enweem is Gaelic meaning na h-Uammh "of the caves", The Place of the Caves.

St Monans seen over Blind Capul.

Approaching St Monans looking back to Pittenweem.

The Windmill built by the Newark Coal and Saltworks Company was used to power the salt industry. At high tide sea water was pumped into saltpans, a fire would be lit under the pans in this case probably fueled by coal, when the water evaporated the salt could be scraped from the pans.

Dating back to 1771 these are the remains of the saltpans, it's an impressive site when you look down from the windmill.

St Monans another idyllic port.

St Monan's Parish Church, built between 1362 and 1370 stands proud in a clifftop grave-yard, the closest church in Scotland to the sea, take a long lingering look at the roof, especially if like me you're a Cumbrian, for the roof is clad in Cumberland slate.

Fisherman's cottages and merchants houses dating to the 17th and early 19th century

Not the best of views but I'd like to show you the low tide route, if the tides in it's a wander through cow pastures.

Above Long Shank looking to Newark Castle, beyond that the long finger of Elie Ness.

Viewing St Monans and Pittenweem from above Long Shank.

Long Shank a broken finger of rock reaching into the Firth of Forth.

Seen from the west Newark Castle, I mentioned the low water route at St Monans earlier, if you're walking the opposite way to us and the sea reaches the post bottom left, brave the cows, take the high tide route.

Ardross Castle a fragmented ruin dating back to the 13th century.

Taking in the views from Ardross Castle.

Approaching The Links looking back along the route walked today.

Tall ship navigates the waters of the Firth of Forth.

Guarding Elie Ness standing proud on Sauchar Point, the remains of Lady Tower.

Views over Wood Haven taking in Elie and Kincraig Hill.

Elie Harbour as seen from The Toft.

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