The sun shone brightly on my first morning in St Andrews, so after a quick breakfast, I strolled down to the castle and the cathedral before picking up my bus for the day’s adventure.
I decided to start in Crail and work my way toward Pittenweem, instead of starting where I left off in Pittenweem. While I will reveal my most selfish reason later, I decided that starting with the longest stretch between towns (3 or so miles) with the sun somewhat behind me was a preferable way to start the day’s hiking.
Once off the bus in Crail, I followed the path along the High Street and up to a road overlooking the harbor, the sunlight sparkling on the water. A good omen for the day! The trail followed the edge of the bay, then rounded a point, leaving me with lots of open land and water ahead of me.
A few other walkers were out with me, often walking dogs and heading in the opposite direction, and I even spotted a pair of trail runners. Me, I just walked along at my own pace, pausing as needed to clamber over rock walls or up slopes. My perseverance found its reward about halfway to Anstruther when I came to Caiplie Caves, a gorgeous little cluster of tiered sandstone caves and arches overlooking the shore. Nice little change to explore!
Perhaps a mile beyond the caves, with the village of Cellardyke in sight, I found a bench where I could sit and enjoy a wee picnic with the provisions I bought at Ardross Farm Shop the day before. After a pleasant rest and stretch, I was ready to carry on.
In short order, I reached Cellardyke and wandered through streets to the little harbor. But as my way out of the village never led to the open trail, I double checked my map. As it turned out, the village of Cellardyke flows indistinctly into Anstruther, and I ended up at another harbor, this one much larger and bustling with activity.
Though tourists swarmed the harbor front in Anstruther, I found a charming little vintage tea room where I could sit and enjoy a pot of tea and a slice of cake. Thus refreshed, I headed back out through the crowds to a quiet end of the harbor and the continuation of the FCP out of town and past a golf course and park. I passed more dog walkers here, as well as a family picnicking on the rocks along the coastline.
Pittenweem came into view soon after, and though I had quite a hill to climb to the final stretch, I kept plodding onward. And once I finished my route, I celebrated with the best reason for ending in Pittenweem: a visit to the Cocoa Tree Shop, where I sampled some divinely dark and delicious hot chocolate. Beats champagne any day!
I soon returned to St Andrews, having logged over 6.25 miles for the day, and felt very proud of myself for completing one of my Scottish hiking goals!