Friday, 16 February 2018

Fife Coastal Path. Kirkcaldy to Kinghorn and The Inland Circular Route.

                                               ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
I enjoyed my day out through in Fife and Kirkcaldy so much that one week later I was here again- this time to walk the coastal path in the other direction from Kirkcaldy to the picturesque village of Kinghorn. This is a small part of Kirkcaldy's main shopping street- the more traditional, quieter end with period buildings and small businesses rather than shopping arcades and covered malls.
This time I'd judged it perfectly for low tide and Kirkcaldy's beaches were exposed allowing me to walk over the sands for the first few km of the trip.
Kirkcaldy's success and growth was founded around the manufacture of Linoleum floor coverings and for almost 100 years it dominated the market for this product- both in the UK and worldwide. I've still got linoleum in my kitchen and bathroom and it still looks bright, clean and fresh after 40 years of use. I love lino and have great memories of it as a child... the smell, the look and the feel of it crawling across kitchen floors of relatives houses before I could walk and even after.... Even working in the 1980s and 1990s in houses we were continually lifting up floors covered in lino with 1940s and 1950s newspaper underneath- which we would keep and read during our tea/lunch break. Often the most memorable and enjoyable part of the day. Lino sales started to decline at the end of the 1960s as it gradually fell out of fashion but I believe they still make it here in this remaining factory as it has non allergenic and bug killing properties due to its linseed oil base so is once again popular in hospitals, schools, and many health centres as an easy to clean floor covering and sterile aid to defeat super bugs and other surface landing viruses/bacteria. With the recent debate over plastics contaminating the planet and new virus/bacteria threats occurring every year eco friendly lino could yet make a major modern comeback and the material and muted colours of today have evolved so much most folk would never guess what it was they were walking over. Kirkcaldy used to be the linoleum capital of the UK, its skyline dominated by large factories but only this example remains here as far as I'm aware.
A more open coastline awaits the walker on this stretch but it still has some great features. Arthur's Seat in the distance framed by the impressive remains of an old sea wall.
And out to sea- just visible in the sunshine- Bass Rock and Fidra- each island with its own lighthouse.
Ships and oil platforms.
The island of Inchkeith- fought over by Scots, French and English in the distant past and at various times a handy quarantine/ isolation retreat for plague and syphilis victims, prostitutes and pirates. In both world wars it was a hedgehog of guns, like the other islands in the Firth of Forth- a front line defense against any attackers, protecting the nearby city of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh itself was looking rather grey on this day with low cloud over the Pentlands and Salisbury Crags and a strong threat of rain while Fife remained sunny and dry.
As I got closer to this impressive sea wall the thought occurred that I might well be able to hop out to its end point. Something about this fallen giant really appealed to me and as I couldn't reach far flung Inchkeith this might be a more achievable challenge.
It was much harder than it looks here with rocks heavily coated in slippy seaweed  but eventually I made it by crawling in places to the end point. Once I'd started determination got the better of me and I ended up wading the last section where there was too big a gap to jump across. By that time I'd given up turning back after the effort involved already and was totally committed ... to success. Luckily my trousers dry out quickly and I'd removed my boots, leaving them at the gap.
It wasn't too long after that self generated adventure when the ruins of Seafield Tower came into view,  (seen here) once owned by the Bishop of Orkney and the Archbishop of Glasgow, one and the  same person (James Law) who came from Fife.
An overcast view of Grangemouth. 'Dark satanic mills' where most of Central Scotland, Northern Ireland  and Northern England's petroleum supplies are produced.
Yet this coastline is also home to amazing wildlife .
A goldeneye duck showing its golden eye.
The beautiful village and beaches of Kinghorn. From here my intention now was to head inland- up through Kinghorn golf course and over the fertile interior of Fife back towards Kirkcaldy.
This was the main climb of the day, offering suberb views over the coast. Kinghorn's other beach here with the rising tide chasing in a lone dog walker- viewed from the caravan park above the golf course. From the Bents ( OS landranger map 66 Edinburgh and North Berwick) the track I was following snakes past a farm then Kinghorn Loch.
A nice varied walk and a change from coastal scenery. Highland cattle here.
The horned one.
Hut community.
Grey partridge. Male and female I think.
A young male pheasant in the growing crops. Sowing starts early in fertile Fife- one of the breadbaskets of  Scotland.
A view back towards West Wemyss and Buckhaven- the setting for my previous coastal walk.
And a view of Kirkcaldy again with the bus station tower in copper green and Raith Rovers football club stadium just in shot right and below. Another five star day out. Around 10 to 12 km and a walk of great variety. 4 to 5 hours easy pace with stops.

Although Marc Bolan is still well remembered for his glam rock hits he had a whole other musical life before that as a floor squatting hippy troubadour in the late 1960s. Along with the multi talented and oft underrated Steve Took (backing vocals and playing a wide range of  unusual instruments) they perfected a unique sound together and made several stunning albums full of gentle poetry, whimsical quirks and beguiling imagery that still sounds original and fresh today. Luckily, Tyrannosaurus Rex albums (not to be confused with the later glam era T Rex) are all on You Tube and are well worth hearing and watching. David Bowie gets most of the credit these days as a chameleon entertainer switching between different characters but Bolan was a genre shifting, musical virtuoso as well and did it very successfully first and I'm sure Bowie picked up loads of ideas from his rival and  friend...and vice versa ...including the essential ingredient....when to jump ship before the fickle fans get bored with a certain image.  M.B died early, after a meteoric rise and fall, so might well have been intelligent and talented enough to change style again into something else with a different singing voice and sound if he'd carried on. We will never know now.   Here's a tiny taster in this link.


Carol said...

I was crazy about Marc Bolan but later came to appreciate his earlier stuff (which I bought) and Steve Took et al, so I'll be giving that a watch later on along with the bus ride :-)

'A hedgehog of guns' - nice expression!

I wish they'd bring lino back. It was far healthier - the new vinyl stuff outgases apparently and isn't good for lungs. That's in addition to lino having the beneficial properties you mentioned. I put newspaper under mine too!

Anabel Marsh said...

Not done this bit. Sounds wonderful.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
A one hour plus documentary as well on You Tube. The Final Word.
Although known for three minute pop classics 'Marc Bolan elemental child live 1971' video shows he was a fairly nifty blues guitar player as well when he wanted to be.
Dead easy to wipe or wash lino clean. Killers love it too :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
It's a great varied walk and not too long- best done before high tide to avoid that concrete promenade which is better done on a bike. Lovely walk on a fine day.

Linda W. said...

Beautiful seascapes! Makes me want to head west to our coastline for a jaunt.

Carol said...

I think Marc Bolan was an excellent and innovative guitarist. Shame he gave all that up and just sang and postured in his later days...

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda,
I must admit your coastlines are on a different scale to Fife but both are fun to visit.

blueskyscotland said...

I've still got his early vinyl albums from the late 1960s but not worth much unless very rare issues or in mint condition- which mine are not :o(
Gutted about that :)

Kay G. said...

A five star day indeed and I thank you for sharing it, I loved it!
Love the story about linoleum and I do hope they bring it back. (That was great that you enjoyed reading the papers from the 40's during your lunch break!)
Did some research on my family tree and now that I know that SCOTLAND figures highly on it, it makes me want to see it even more. (Might have to change my blog name. LOL.)

Carol said...

You'd be surprised how much your vinyl is worth now. I just sold a fistful of standard albums for £50 - better than taking them to the charity shop!

blueskyscotland said...

Thank you Kay,
Lino never really went away in my house. It's very handy for stopping any spilled water reaching the floorboards in the bathroom or around the kitchen sink area as I seem to be an enthusiastic and lifelong splashier of water getting washed in the mornings or doing the dishes- like most men....

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Cheers, That's handy to know as I have close to 200 LPs.They've been well played in their day but not for 20 years or so as I still like finding new groups and singers to get interested in. Apart from the money it would be nice if young folk hear them recycled for the first time as I have some excellent classic unusual ones you never hear nowadays. Curved Air- Rare Velvets, early folk groups etc
I think you said it was a local shop that took them the last time?

Carol said...

Yes - we had a great bar spring up in Skipton - 'The Sound Bar'. They stock and play an extensive vinyl collection of all kinds of older and esoteric stuff as well as being a bar and cafe. They took everything I took down for them - from Anthrax to Led Zeppelin. Mine are all in superb condition though, including the covers and stuff.

I haven't managed to play my hi-fi for ages - I think it's just too convenient having everything on my computer so I just use that. But I've started YouTubing all the old stuff I never get to play at home - been all Black Sabbath this week - been great ;-)

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers for that info Carol. I'm more into art rock or folk generally I suppose so I hope my stuff gets as good a price as yours did, Still plays OK but sliding them in and out of wall units where they are stored didn't help the bottom of the sleeves any. Records themselves are fine.

Anonymous said...

Another cracking walk, post and photos. You are like me when it comes to coastal adventures. See a watery point to scramble out and be unable to resist attempting to reach it, wet feet or not! :)

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Andy,
Yep, It's funny although I'm over middle aged now I still feel 20 something in my head and experience disappointment when I try something- like traversing that wall- and my body fails to do what it used to be capable of. Years ago I could have jumped that gap no bother.
Dumped a load of my day trip photos onto an external hard drive to free up space on my computer but now my blogger ID for comments on other blogs isn't being recognized for some reason. One door opens- another closes :o(