Lower Largo to Elie Circuit
A circular walk from Lower Largo to Elie along the coastal path returning via Elie Estate and an old railway line. Different route lengths are possible. The routes are described starting from Lower Largo. However, this does entail a 1.5km section that needs to be included on both the outward and return routes. For a true circular option, start from the Elie end. There are buses to Elie and ample parking in the town. If starting from Shell Bay (Elie Caravan Park) there is a small public car park before the entrance to the park or alternatively it is usually possible (for a small fee) to park on the grass within the bounds of the holiday park.
- Full Distance: 20km / 12 miles (red on route map)
- Medium Distance: 15 km / 9 miles (red and magenta on route map)
- Shorter Distance: 12 Km / 7.5 miles (red and blue on route map)
- Ascent: Less than 150 m / 500 feet for all options
- Terrain: Paths (mostly unsurfaced) and tracks, beach walking, short tarmac sections
Starting from the Temple Hill car park at the east end of Lower Largo proceed along the waymarked Fife Coastal path in an easterly direction. The route follows an old railway line to Carrick Villa where the coastal path then diverges through the dunes of Dumbarnie Links nature reserve. Use either the dune path or the beach, it doesn’t really matter, for the walk around Largo Bay. The coastal path heads slightly inland at Cocklemill Salt Marsh and crosses a couple of wooden bridges. Once over the bridges there is a choice of either following the waymarked route through a gap in the trees and through the caravan park, or to keep the trees to your left and follow a path around the Ruddons Point headland. This path will rejoin the coastal path at the caravan park.
The tarmac of the caravan park can be omitted by walking through the dunes or on the beach. Which ever way is used, you will reach a wooden signpost for the coastal path at the southern corner of the caravan park. From the sign post, continue along the coastal path with farmland to your left and the open sea to your right. The route starts to go up hill via steps to the summit of Kincraig Hill. Before reaching the summit, there is a steep path to the right that descends the cliffs to reach the Elie Chain Walk. This makes for an interesting alternative to the clifftop walk if you have a sense of adventure. Continue up to the summit of Kincraig after which, the path descends via steps to Earlsferry Beach, perhaps the most photographed view in Fife. Once at the beach, again there is a choice of a dune path or a beach walk.
At the far end of the beach you will reach a sign post for the Fife Coastal Path pointing inland across the golf course. At this point you can follow the signposted route or alternatively follow an informal path along the edge of the golf course around the headland of Chapel Ness. This is a particularly attractive section of rocky coastline. Both routes reach a turning circle at a ruined chapel. From here the “official” route of the coastal path follows the road through Earlsferry all the way to Elie. However, this is a somewhat tedious tarmac trudge which can be omitted by turning right, across a patch of grass approximately 130m after the turning circle. This grassy area provides access tothe beach which can be used for a much pleasanter walk into Elie.
Leave the beach, at high tide this will be at South Street but at low tide you can walk all the way out to the harbour. Make your way through Elie to the main street and turn right (east) heading out of town. Go left at the South Lodge into Elie Estate (there’s a small road sign for Elie House). Walk up to Elie House (now private apartments) and continue onwards in a northerly direction on a core path. When a junction is reached, keep straight on, leaving the core path which goes left, heading for Kilconquhar Loch. The path follows the southern shore of the loch before joining the public road at the North Lodge. Cross the road picking up a woodland path on the opposite side. When this path reaches the next road, go left, then cross over the main road (take extreme care) to reach the access road for the caravan park.
Almost immediately turn right through a metal gate on to the line of the old railway. The route back to Lower Largo now follows this railway. Initially this is across farmland but after about 2km Dumbarnie Links Golf Course is reached. The path across the golf course is now more windy and twisty but is well signed. After a further 1.5km the path exits the golf course and rejoins the track bed of the railway at Dumbarnie Links Nature Reserve. At Carrick Villa, the coastal path meets the railway for the final walk back to Lower Largo. This last 1.5km section is a repeat of the outward section.
9 mile option
Follow the outward route to Shell Bay and up Kincraig Hill with its communications masts. After the first mast, go left through a wooden gate onto a grassy track. The track descends the hill before bearing right where you can choose from either a rough surfaced track or one of a number of broad grassy terraces. Follow the road or terrace along the north side of the hill to reach a wooden building. From this point the farm road can be followed downhill, turning left onto the core path after a metal gate, to reach a small car park at a junction. From this car park, proceed along the road for 1.5km in a north easterly direction (alternatively it is possible to walk through the woods to your left). Just before reaching the main road, is the metal gate leading on to the railway for the walk back to Lower Largo.
7.5 mile option
Follow the outward route as far as Cocklemill Marsh and the gap in the trees. Leave the coastal path but go left with the trees on your right hand side. Follow the undulating path along the burn and turn right into the trees on an obvious track in a fire break. Turn left in the woods at a signpost and follow the obvious path north east for 1km (there are various paths in the woods and it is not critical which ones you use). Exit the woods at their north east corner and then use the tarmac road for 500m still in a north east direction to reach the metal gate on your left hand side that provides access to the railway line back to Lower Largo.
Starting from Elie
For shorter options of the above routes start from Elie or Elie Caravan Park (Shell Bay). On reaching the point at Carrick Villa where the railway line / coastal path converges, turn back at this point using the other route. This will shorten the routes by approximately 3km (1.5km in each direction).