Fife Coastal Path: Cellardyke to St Monans

Anstruther Harbour

The Fife Coastal Path passes right through Cellardyke, where we spent our October break. Every day, we explored a different part of it. Walking west from our front door we passed through the fishing villages of Anstruther, Pittenweem, and St Monans.

Anstruther

Probably the most notable features of Anstruther (pop. c 3,600) are the Scottish Fisheries Museum and the Anstruther Fish Bar, neither of which we visited. However, the window from which two faces are peering  in the gallery below is part of the museum. We did visit the Dreel Tavern (though not on the day of this walk) where a plaque on the wall commemorates the time that James V (1513-42) was carried across the Dreel Burn by a beggar woman because he was frightened of getting his stockings wet!

We also looked at the monument to Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), First Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, and later found his birthplace.

From Anstruther, we continued along the coast to our next port of call, Pittenweem.

Pittenweem

Pittenweem, with a population under 2,000, is much smaller than Anstruther. The name is said to mean place of the caves, and you can still see St Fillan’s Cave, dating from the 7th century, though in these strange times you can’t go inside. We admired the pretty houses, had a good lunch in the Clock Tower Café, and examined the poignant new Fishermen’s Memorial by sculptor Alan Heriot, unveiled in 2019. It depicts a fisherman’s wife and child scanning the horizon for the return of their loved one. The plaque reads “This memorial is dedicated to the men and women who make their living from the sea and to those who have lost their lives in so doing”. It is thought around 400 lives have been lost in a 28-mile stretch of the Firth of Forth off the East Neuk since the early 1800s, many of them never recovered.

From Pittenweem, we continued along the coast to St Monans.

St Monans

St Monans is even smaller than Pittenweem with a population under 1500. Before you reach the village, a restored windmill and the remains of a few pan-houses are testament to the area’s industrial history: the Newark Coal and Salt Works Company founded in 1771.

It’s hard to tell what’s natural and what isn’t in the rocks! There’s a swimming pool created in the sea, as in many of these villages. Much too cold to try out!

As with the other two villages, there was a harbour and some pretty, colourful houses to admire, this time with the added attraction of a Welly Garden. It was raining quite hard by this time, so stealing a pair might have been a good option!

Rain or no rain, from St Monans we had to turn round and do the walk in reverse to get back to our holiday home in Cellardyke: 7-8 miles in total. In the next post, I’ll turn east from our front door and take you along the coastal path to Crail.

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk.

68 thoughts on “Fife Coastal Path: Cellardyke to St Monans

  1. ThingsHelenLoves January 10, 2021 / 15:07

    I love the history of these smaller coastal communities. Hard lives for the residents back in the day though, I suppose. I’d love to do a Scottish coastal road trip when these things are possible again.

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  2. notesoflifeuk January 7, 2021 / 18:15

    Wonderful buildings, especially the church. And I LOVE that windmills. What a great walk 🙂

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  3. Ann Coleman January 7, 2021 / 01:59

    Your blog inspires me to get out and learn more about the area around where I live….it’s not as historic as Scotland by any means, but there is something interesting and beautiful about almost all areas, and I think I need to learn to appreciate it more. At least until this stupid pandemic is over and I can actually visit Scotland, Ireland and England!!!

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  4. Joyce January 6, 2021 / 03:52

    I love the Welly Garden; it’s so clever. Such charming villages and a very long walk for you! It looks delightful.

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  5. the eternal traveller January 6, 2021 / 00:04

    Even with the rain it looks like you had a lovely day exploring these little villages. It’s amazing how even the smallest town has so much history to discover.

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  6. Su Leslie January 5, 2021 / 20:03

    I’m just a wee bit homesick reading that Anabel. I love the East Neuk, and have walked parts of the coastal path with my mum. Lovely memories, so thank you.

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  7. Jonno January 5, 2021 / 17:37

    Regardless of the rain it looks like an amazing part of the world, some fabulous photos there. Brings back memories of road trips and visits to Fife. Great.

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  8. hilarymb January 5, 2021 / 12:15

    Hi Anabel – what a fun place to visit … three seaside villages with different overtones – lovely photos and thus enticing. Enjoy the walks … Hilary

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