Monday, 19 March 2012

St Brides of Dalgelty

Whilst I am in daffodil mood, here is another wee gem of a walk not far from us, across the water in Fife.

Edinburgh and Inchcolm from Aberdour:


The Fife coastal path (voted second best coastal path in Britain (after Pembrokeshire) by readers of 'Coast' magazine) is, apart from the stretch between Leven and Buckhaven, an underrated beauty. In a country whose outdoor enthusiasts are largely calibrated towards hills, a low-level, lowland coastal path on the east coast attracts very little attention. Yet I would have the two-day jaunt from St Andrews to Elie (taking in, if possible, the Elie Chain Walk) in my list of top 100 walks in Scotland. There are plenty of easy stretches on this path, and we planned to do a short walk from Aberdour to Inverkeithing. I wanted to see again the great mass of daffodils carpeting the route between Aberdour and Dalgety Bay, and wasn't disappointed.

Daffodil avenue:


These daffodils are out early, and are picked by volunteers to raise funds for Cancer Research. Go now if you want to see them! I like daffodils. They mark the end of winter, a colourful marker of the longer days and warmer weather of spring, and herald the arrival of my favourite flower of all, the cherry blossom.

Daffs close up:


After the daffs comes the commuter town of Dalgety Bay. But first, tucked in a coastal suntrap, surrounded by ivy clad tree trunks, rustling gently in the breeze, the sea lapping the precinct wall and saturated with sunshine and dappled shade, is the ruin of St Bridget's, dating from at least 1178, and remaining in use through the reformation until the early 19th century. Now it is a peaceful, aged ruin.

St Bridget's:


All around St Bridget's are gravestones dating from the 18th century and earlier, some lying at crazy angles as the bodies beneath have long since sunk into nothingness.

St Bridget's skull:


What a place to be buried!



What a spot to entertain thoughts of eternity!



After the daffodils and St Bridget's, the walk skirts the town of Dalgety Bay, the wild rugged cliffs of Downing Point on one side, the neat suburban lawns of the post-war housing on the other. And at the far side of Dalgety Bay, the Forth Bridge becomes visible:

Forth Bridge at the end of the Fife coastal path:


But we did not go as far as that. Inverkeithing and a sudden blast of spring showers was far enough for us for a stroll. How good to get out the house and luxuriate in sunshine for the first time this year.

Mercat Cross, Inverkeithing:

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