Fife Coastal Path: Lower Largo to Earlsferry

Birthplace of Alexander Selkirk, Lower Largo

On our final day in Fife last October we drove west to Lower Largo intending to walk the section of coastal path between there and Elie. It was a day of misjudgements, so we didn’t quite make it to Elie, but we enjoyed the walk nonetheless.

Lower Largo is known as the birthplace of Alexander Selkirk (1676-1721) on whom Daniel Defoe modelled his character, Robinson Crusoe. There is a memorial to Selkirk on the site of the cottage where he was born.

Lower Largo has many other picturesque houses and we wandered around for a while before setting off on the path. It also has some very quirky garden gates!

Our first miscalculation occurred here – there was one shop in Lower Largo open and, as we hadn’t made sandwiches, we thought about buying something for lunch. However, we were sure the café at the caravan site we had to pass through would be open, and didn’t. Instead, we set off on the first part of the path, the track of an old railway that used to connect Fife’s coastal villages, before descending through the dunes to Largo Bay. NB the oil rig is not functional, it is one of several anchored in the Firth of Forth due to industry uncertainty over oil prices, which have collapsed during the coronavirus pandemic.

John amused himself taking pictures of the circling gulls as we approached the Cocklemill Burn.

Crossing the burn, we arrived at Shell Bay Caravan Park where we expected to get lunch – but unfortunately the café didn’t open for takeaway until 4pm. Ah well, with stomachs rumbling we admired some of the colourful caravans and a small shrine to a couple who had presumably enjoyed holidays here. Then we pressed on over Kincraig Point.

This was another miscalculation because the winding, muddy path took us longer than expected, both upwards and downwards. But the views were lovely, back over Shell Bay to Largo and forward to Earlsferry and Elie.

This plaque, donated to the people of Elie and Earlsferry by Polish Paratroopers in the Second World War, is the only photograph we took of the picturesque village of Earlsferry. When we arrived it was mid-afternoon and obvious that we did not have time to explore or to continue the short distance to Elie in search of a very late lunch, otherwise it would be dark before we got back to the car. Nor did I fancy slithering back over Kincraig Point, so we plotted an alternative route.

According to our guide book, and more importantly, to Google Maps, if we put up with a bit of road walking we could pick up the other end of the railway path that we had started out on that morning. However, part way along we found that it had been obliterated by a new golf course which Google Maps did not yet show. With the help of some friendly golfers, and a bit of yomping over dunes, we found our way back to the path over Largo Bay and completed our walk in twilight. We certainly enjoyed our dinner that night!

The following morning we packed up and left for Glasgow. This lovely week in Fife was our last trip away from home and, given current regulations, it is likely to remain the last for some time to come. I’ve enjoyed reliving it while composing these posts – but what on earth am I going to write about next?


  1. Interesting history of Robinson Crusoe. I didn’t know it was based on a real experience. Rob laughs at me sometimes about this, but my motto when hiking is always take food.



  2. Hi Anabel – gosh I’d have had to have something to eat … so no wonder you enjoyed your dinner that night. I must read Robinson Crusoe again … I’ve another of Defoe’s other books here to read sometime – love the photos and excellent shots of the gulls by John. The oil rig – looks like the container ships mothballed in the River Fal earlier this century. It will be nice to be free … but I’d also rather be safe … all the best – Hilary