Crail and Fife Ness circuit
A circular walk on the Fife Coastal Path around the easternmost point of Fife. Outward route from Crail is on the coastal path whilst the return route makes use of a disused railway line.
- Distance: 16.3 km / 10.1 miles
- Ascent: 130 m / 420 feet
- Terrain: Mostly unsurfaced and uneven paths. Some hard surface walking
- Start / finish: Crail. Could also be started from Kingsbarns or Kilminning.
Start from the centre of Crail where there is plenty of parking available. The quickest route to the coastal path is down Castle Street next to the pharmacy and keeping to the left of Crail House. However, you may prefer to walk down to the picturesque harbour and follow the coastal path along the front of Crail House. Whichever way you choose, you want to end up on the coastal path heading away from Crail past a play area. The path then loops round Roome Bay before reaching a caravan site.
Walk through the caravan site and into Kilminning Nature Reserve. Ahead of you is the prominent rock formation of Kilminning Castle. Beyond the “castle” is a car park and picnic area which can be used as an alternative start point for this walk. Continue on along the coast. As you leave Kilminning at Danes Dike you start to approach Fife Ness with its now disused coastguard station. In the rocks to your right you may spot a circle cut into the stone. This was used as a template by Robert Stevenson when he attempted to build a lighthouse on the Carr Rocks.
After Fife Ness, the coastal route becomes dominated by golf courses, the first of these being Balcomie Links. This next section uses a mix of paths and beach walking and may be impassable at high tides. After the golf course, farmland nudges at the edge of the coast and cattle may be grazing on the grassy fields.
Cross over the stone stile to reach the next golf course and follow the path around its edge. The trees ahead of you form part of the Cambo Estate Woodlands, famed for its snowdrops. As you enter the trees you will cross the Cambo Burn and marker posts guide you to the next golf course. Here there are toilets for the golfers but there is no sign saying others cannot use them and they are not locked.
You can now either walk on the path around the edge of the golf course or walk along the beach to reach the popular Kingsbarns Beach car park. During Summer months there are toilets and a fast food outlet here.
From the car park walk up the tarmac road for just over 1km to the main road through the village. Cross over the road and follow the farm track that is almost immediately opposite (offset slightly to the right). After about 850m you reach a band of trees and the farm track follows a field edge. At the next fence go straight on through the gap in the fence to follow the track alongside a wall.
When you reach the route of the old Anstruther St Andrews railway line at a signpost, turn left. Initially the railway line is rather overgrown but it soon improves and becomes a good track. After about 1.4km the shorter route joins from the left at an area with metal gates and fences.
Continue on the railway for a further 1.2km, passing a couple of houses, until you emerge on to the B9171 road. Turn left and follow the road for 500m to its junction with the A917.
Cross over the main road to reach the unsurfaced path opposite with a purple arrow marker. This next section of path can be somewhat overgrown but follow it as it swings round to the right and follows a field edge to reach a caravan park where the path improves. Turn right at this point passing behind some houses to reach a cemetery. After the cemetery follow the path to a church where you turn left on to the main road to head back to the centre of Crail.