Carlingnose Point and St Margaret’s Marsh

A circular route using the coastal path from Inverkeithing through North Queensferry to Rosyth, and returning via the Fife Pilgrim Way.

  • Distance: 10 km / 6.2 miles
  • Ascent: 175 m / 570 feet
  • Terrain: Mostly paths and tracks. Some muddy bits. Also some road walking.
  • Start / finish: Inverkeithing Ferry Toll park and ride. Public transport and parking available.

Route Map

St Margaret's Marsh and Carlingnose Point route map

The first section of this walk uses the Fife Coastal Path between Inverkeithing and North Queensferry around Carlingnose Point. The route initaily starts on the road beside the scrap yard at the bottom end of Inverkeithing. This is not a particularly auspicious start for the walk but it’s the route of the coastal path. Keep left following the coastal path signage when a quarry area is reached. The path soon leaves the industrial areas behind and makes its way around the coastal headland with views towards the Outer Forth. After passing a sandy beach the path passes through the Carlingnose Point Nature Reserve before reaching North Queensferry close to the rail bridge.

Follow the route of the coastal path through North Queensferry and along the pavement. After passing under the Forth Road Bridge there is a choice of routes. Either follow the directions below for the off road route or, if you don’t like overgrown or muddy walking, stick with the pavement until the Queensferry Crossing.

Go left through an old gate steeply downhill in woodland on a rough path. This next section can be muddy after rain and overgrown in the Summer months. The path bears right after passing some old remains and crosses a broken wall. There are a few fallen trees that have to be negotiated along the path but nothing too difficult. Stick with the path, through a wooden gate, to reach St Margaret’s Hope under the Queensferry Crossing. The house here is Admiralty House and was previously the residence of the Royal Navy commanders.

After the house there is a tarmac road that leads out to the public road. Don’t go out to the road though, turn left through a metal gate along a surfaced path to reach another track. Go left on this track to St Margaret’s Marsh.

If you opted to miss out the woods, keep to the road pavement until after the Queensferry Crossing. At this point a road to the right heads into St Margaret’s Marsh. It’s possible to go left to make a detour to St Margaret’s Hope.

Enter St Margaret’s Marsh, a reclaimed land area and now a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the presence of the reed marshes. There is a good gravel track along the shoreline which passes a forlorn looking pillbox that has fallen into the sea. As the edge of Rosyth is approached the track becomes more of a path and the final section along the coast is a bit uneven and vegetated in the summer. The path now turns right to head inland to reach some old portacabins. Although there is a gate out to the road here it is padlocked, so it is necessary to turn right and follow the track alongside the fence for about 200m. At this point a path heads off to the left on the outside of the fence, under the road, and alongside a disused railway line. This path reaches the road at a roundabout opposite the padlocked gate.

Walk along the pavement towards Rosyth with the industrial area and the ruin of Rosyth Castle ahead. On reaching the roundabout at the castle (which is fenced off), go right, across the old railway to meet with another road. Turn right and head back eastwards along the pavement past more industrial units. After about 120m a cycle path (route of the coastal path) goes off to the west into woodland close to a doocot. At this point there is the option of sticking with the tarmac cycle path through the woods, passing a large parking area (call centre) and turning right on to the road or using other paths through the woods to reach the road at the south east corner of the woods where there is an exit to the road.

From the south east corner of the woodland turn right and cross over the road. Follow a marker post for the Fife Pilgrim Way over the grass and up the hill to the left. This next section of the walk goes up to the summit of Castland Hill from where there are good views south over the Forth and north over to the Ochils. The route is waymarked with posts as it follows field edges up the hill. From the summit there is a tarmac road, still part of the FPW, down the other side to Inverkeithing. Turn right at the bottom of the road, cross the main road and use the road bridge to cross over the motorway. From here, the FPW uses the pavement of the road down the hill into Inverkeithing.

Once in the town you could head down the hill to the High Street and turn right to return to the start point.

However, a better option that misses out some of the road walking is to leave the FPW and turn right into Manse Road before going down the hill. Then go left on a path behind the houses of Manse Place to reach a grass park area. Head down the hill through the park in a southerly direction to reach its southeast corner. From here there is a trodden path through to the cemetery parking area, followed by an access road out to the main road. Turn right for a short walk back down the road (pavement on the opposite side) to the start point.