Walk of the week: Kingsbarns to Crail Circular, Fife

Picture: Nick Drainey

Picture: Nick Drainey

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DRAMATIC scenery enlivens the senses on this long winter stroll, which takes in the quaint and peaceful Crail harbour and a series of farm tracks, before ending with a coastal blast.

DISTANCE 10 miles.

HEIGHT CLIMBED 330ft.

TIME 5 to 6 hours.

MAP OS Landranger 59.

PARK At the beach car park near Kingsbarns – turn off the A917 at the southern end of the village and drive three-quarters of a mile, to the end of a narrow road.

IN SUMMARY Leave the car park at the south (right) end and drop down to the beach, turning right to walk along the sands. At the end take a path running along the coast (don’t stray on to a golf course) and when it reaches a track go left. Once past a golf course toilet drop down to the left and cross the Cambo Burn before following a surfaced track on the other side. When the track bends right, go left, down a rougher track, before dropping left, on to a path which takes you down to a bay below the golf course. At the far end of the bay, cross a stone stile in a wall and then continue along the coast, by the edge of a field.

The end of the field brings you to stony beaches and a headland – take care here when the tide is high, you may have to wait for it to recede. Once below the headland a grass path above the shore leads to a stile, which you cross. The path then rises to the right before dropping down and regaining the shore. Continue along the coast, past another golf course, until a sign directs you to a beach. Follow this to reach a surfaced track and a cave where Pictish king Constantine I is said to have been killed in 874 after a battle with the Danes.

Follow the track past the cave and when you are below the low lying lighthouse at Fife Ness take a path to the left. This leads round the front of the light and past a bird hide before continuing along the coast. The path takes you into the Kilminning Coast Wildlife Reserve and after this a long caravan site. At the caravan site entrance follow an uphill path on the other side of the road. Then, at a junction, go left to reach a park. Follow the park to its end and continue by the coast on a concrete path. Go right, up a series of concrete steps to reach a cottage – The Watch House – then follow a path to the left, behind it.

This follows a high wall then drops to a road, at the bottom of which is Crail’s picturesque harbour.

Go back up the road all the way to Crail’s High Street and turn right. Follow the road to the Golf Hotel and keep straight on, past the Crail Museum and eventually out of the town. About half a mile after the Balcomie Links Hotel go left, up a track with a sign for the Kalliope House B&B. Follow the track past houses and fields to a junction, where you go right – ignoring a cycle way sign. The track passes Wormiston Farm then drops past cottages to reach a gate. Go to the right of the gate to follow a path on the edge of a field, before dropping down to the left to regain the coast. Go left to retrace your steps round a headland and back to the start.

REFRESH The Inn at Kingsbarns is highly recommended.

WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA The Cambo Estate has wonderful gardens and a tea shop. www.camboestate.com. n

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