Episode 18 (Season 2): ‘Step by Step’ – East Neuk of Fife
Ready for breathtaking coastal scenery and quirky villages? Let’s swap our cars for hiking boots and explore the Fife Coastal Path on the East Neuk of Fife.
‘Step by Step’ tells the story of a 6-mile hike along the Fife Coastal Path. Sure – you could drive from village to village. But with so many things to see on such a short stretch of coast, why not make the most of the excellent paths and bus routes on the East Neuk of Fife and go for a leisurely walk?!
We start at the beach of Ruby Bay in Elie and work our way past St Monans and Pittenweem to Anstruther. Along the way, we explore historic ruins, stop to take in the landscape and hear about some of the quirky stories and sights that make this region so unique. In 2-3 hours, you’ve discovered more of the East Neuk of Fife, than you ever could on the road.
After the story, I’ll tell you some of my top tips to explore the East Neuk of Fife for yourself.
Are you ready? Great – let’s travel to Scotland!
This episode is brought to you by Go Ape.
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Use my trail description to follow this hike.
Plan a trip to the greater region with my Fife travel guide.
Find out what to do in St Andrews.
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Written and hosted by Kathi Kamleitner.
Produced and edited by Fran Turauskis.
Cover Art illustrated by Lizzie Vaughan-Knight.
All original music composed by Bruce Wallace.
Additional sound effects from Zapsplat, Pond5 and SoundBoard.
All photographs by Kathi Kamleitner.
5 Travel Tips for the East Neuk of Fife
1) Leave your car behind
You can explore the East Neuk of Fife pretty easily by bus. There is a direct bus from Edinburgh to St Andrews that stops in all the pretty coastal villages I mention in the story. From Glasgow, you have to change once to get to Elie, or go to St Andrews first before exploring the coast.
Travelling to the East Neuk of Fife by public transport foes not only allow you to do this linear walk, but explore the entire region at a slower pace. Check out my guide to travel Scotland by public transport.
2) Hike the entire Fife Coastal Path
Most people take around 9 days to hike the entire Fife Coastal Path. You can do it in one go, or in sections – like above, using public transport to get to and from the end points of sections is very straightforward.
Apart from the walk from Elie to Anstruther, highlights on the Fife Coastal Path include the market town of Culross – that’s one for the Outlander fans, hiking underneath the Forth Railway Bridge – which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and of course, St Andrews, the home of golf.
3) Visit for the Pittenweem Arts Festival
The Pittenweem Arts Festival is almost 40 years old and takes place every August. For a week, local artists open their studios, display their work, host workshops and organise events to draw attention to the sheer creativity of this region. It’s a great time to visit as the festival turns the tiny village into a bustling art hub.
4) Eat at the Anstruther Fish Bar
Now, this is a recommendation from before my vegan times. If you eat fish, treat yourself to a meal from the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar.
On a sunny day, you most definitely have to queue a while for a table or a takeaway, but it will be worth it. If you eat outside, just make sure you keep an eye on the seagulls.
5) Visit the Isle of May
Last but not least, if you have a bit of extra time, do a day trip to the Isle of May.
It’s a small island in the Firth of Forth, about 5 miles off the coast of Anstruther. From there, boats leave for day trips to the island all summer long, bringing avid bird watchers to see vast colonies of nesting seabirds. Puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags, cormorants and terns. Apart from them, the island is uninhabited although researchers come every year to count the numbers of sea birds and study their behaviour.
The boat trips for day visitors last around 5 hours and includes time to explore the island on land.