Showing posts from September, 2017


Fife | Village | ★★

A short distance east along the coast from busy Kirkcaldy is the cute fishing village of Dysart. Despite long since merging with the expanding suburbs of its larger neighbour, Dysart retains a separate identity helped by its separate history and several old buildings. The highlight is the beautiful old harbour, beside seaside cottages which used to house salt pan workers and overlooked by the huge tower of St Serf's Church. A short walk uphill to the central crossroads and you'll find the imposing Tolbooth, separated from the coast by some seriously ugly flats; unbelievably, one carries a plaque claiming it's won an architectural award. Sure - a Carbuncle Award maybe...


📌 Dysart ★★
Fife, G.R.: NT 302928 ///recur.baker.wharfs

🚶 The harbour is a short but steep walk below the main street. Ravenscraig Castle is accessible by a short coast path, with a longer walk (or bus ride) required for Kirkcaldy.
🚌 Dysart is served by frequent buses from near…

Ravenscraig Castle

Fife | Pathhead | Castle | ★★

In the Kirkcaldian suburb of Pathhead, Ravenscraig Castle is an unexpectedly substantial clifftop ruin, hidden by modern housing developments on the landward side but open to the elements on the seaward edge. The castle was built by James II in the 1450s for his wife, Queen Mary of Gueldres, but both died before it was completed. James III soon passed the unfinished property to the Sinclair family, with their rough Highland connections showing through in the starkly defensive walls: 3.5 metres thick in some places. It's a shame you can't explore any higher than ground level - indeed, we think the site should be a prime candidate for renovation by Historic Environment Scotland - but there are reasonable views of the upper parts (and of Kirkcaldy) from the cliff edge. The castle doocot is also viewable, reached by following the coast path to the east.

📌Ravenscraig Castle★★
Off Dysart Road (A955), Pathhead, a mile northeast of Kirkcaldy town centre, G…

Beveridge Park

Fife | Kirkcaldy | Park | ★★★

With a history stretching back well into Victorian times, Beveridge Park (probably not pronounced like beverage, but it's funnier like that) is Kirkcaldy's largest and most beautiful green space. A large lake forms a natural focus, on which you can hire boats during the summer months. Parts of the lower reaches of the park have been given over to attractive gardens, wildlife zones, unusually imaginative playground and fitness equipment, and even a miniature railway. To the southeast, the land rises slowly up to the summit of a low hill. Visit in summer to catch the numerous flower displays at their best.

Location & info

📌 Beveridge Park ★★★
Off B9157 / Abbotshall Road, 1 mi southwest of Kirkcaldy town centre, G.R.: NT 271910 ///knots.winter.sings
Always open | Free

Kirkcaldy Galleries

Fife | Kirkcaldy | Museum | ★★★

Kirkcaldy Galleries can be found close to Kirkcaldy railway station, a mercifully short walk from the centre of what is often known as Scotland's "lang toun". The building doesn't look particularly striking from the outside (this seems to be a recurring theme for Fife tourist attractions), but indoors, the gallery and museum prove to be as well-presented as Fife's second largest settlement deserves. The town's collection of Scottish art is well regarded; this is housed upstairs in a series of rooms where the air conditioning is turned up way too high, with the Glasgow Boys well represented alongside ever-changing seasonal exhibitions. On the ground floor, adjacent to the town library, smart panels document Kirkcaldy's industrial timeline, though slightly confusingly in non-chronological order. Strangely, the toilets are a bit of an attraction too, dating to 1925. A sign helpfully informs users that the toilet seats have sin…

Museum of Communication

Fife | Burntisland | Museum | ★★

Burntisland is generally known as an old-fashioned seaside resort, but it has another card up its sleeve. The squat building housing the Museum of Communication stands opposite the roundabout marking the middle of the town's high street, smaller than the surrounding premises and easily missed unless you're specifically looking for it. They really need to work on their signage - ironic really. The museum is surprisingly large on the inside, with a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibitions - not always relating strictly to communication. The 1910s, 1960s and wartime communication were in the spotlight on our visit, with some interesting information about life in the trenches and code breaking. Entry is free, and what the museum might lack in flashy displays it more than makes up for in friendly volunteers. Good for a rainy day perhaps?

📌Museum of Communication★★
High Street, Burntisland town centre, G.R.: NT 233859 ///furnish.dweller.riverban…

Burntisland Beach

Fife | Burntisland | Beach | ★★

Well seen from the railway line along Scotland's east coast, Burntisland Beach is technically the largest beach in southern Fife, stretching a couple of miles from end to end and a mile outwards into the Firth of Forth at low tide. A narrow top strip provides sandcastle-building territory, but the beach quickly transitions through fine shells to waterlogged mud and sand if you head further away from the shore. Care should be taken not to venture out too far before an incoming tide, which advances very quickly across the flat expanse - also beware quicksand.

Location & info

📌 Burntisland Beach ★★
Off Kinghorn Road (A921), 5-min walk east of Burntisland town centre, G.R.: NT 239861 ///chips.punchy.everybody

Aberdour Silversands

Fife | Aberdour | Beach | ★★

Aberdour Silversands is the beach immediately east of the attractive village of Aberdour, sandwiched between Hawkcraig Point to the south and The Heughs - a steep strip of hillside leading onwards to Burntisland - to the north. Given the beach's alluring name, popularity and its large size on OS maps, you might be forgiven for being a little underwhelmed when seeing it for the first time. Most of the lower part of the beach is actually mud, slightly spoiling the views out to the Firth of Forth. But take time to explore a little and the place grows on you; there are excellent views from Hawkcraig Point (5 minutes' walk), and wading birds congregate on the tidal mud undisturbed by human visitors. And we haven't yet mentioned Silversands' greatest strength: the "proper" sandy part of the beach (more gold than silver) seems to be wholly above the high water mark, so you can enjoy it at any time of day without having to check confusing…

Walk: Chatelherault - walk in le parc

South Lanarkshire | Hamilton | Half day walk | ★★

This fairly lengthy circuit follows the rim of the gorge carved by the River Avon as it meanders through Chatelherault Country Park on the south side of Hamilton. Broad and thickly forested, the gorge is so deep that you can barely hear the river, let alone see it, except at the two points where you cross the water on long bridges. Elsewhere, views are instead typified by mixed woodland (deforested in places at the time of writing) and rolling farmland. So no drama here, but this is still a pleasant place to while away a few hours, and within easy reach of Scotland's larger cities. A bridge at the mid-point theoretically provides an option to shorten the route, but it's been closed due to landslips for years now, to the dismay of dog-walkers and joggers from miles around.

📌 Walk: Chatelherault - walk in le parc ★★
Start / finish at Chatelherault Country Park main car park, off A72 1 mi southeast of Hamilton, G.R.: NS 738539 ///…