Passions: The East Neuk of Fife is one of my favourite parts of Scotland

It has atmosphere, walks, waves and food
Elie BeachElie Beach
Elie Beach

Even the name of the East Neuk is appealing.

After all, you nestle into a nook, to shelter from the storm.

Despite its increasing popularity among tourists and foodies, it feels safely secluded in this part of the country, which, on a map, looks like a horse’s hoof kicking into the Firth of Forth.

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On our visits, we’ll pass a bladderwrack-esque frond of villages, via the Fife Coastal Path. It’s only ever a 30-minute-or-so walk to our intended destination, though you can be distracted by the snaking and often muddy paths, and not look up enough. Occasionally, my other half will prompt me to take in the view, as pastel-coloured cottages appear.

If we’re visiting Anstruther, there will be a should-we-shouldn’t-we tussle over having fish and chips, even though we’ve already eaten lunch. We’ll find a bench at the harbour, so we can smell other people’s suppers and live vicariously.

We’ll definitely go to the cider shop Aeble, where I’ll stock up on dry sparkling perry.

In St Monans, you’ll find seafood restaurant Craig Millar @16 West End, East Pier Smokehouse or the Giddy Gannet for bagels and mocha. Round the corner from that cafe, there’s a little antiques shop where I covet the Victorian oil lamp that’s been in the window for ages. From the village, it’s also just a short walk to Bowhouse, for its monthly market and cafe, Baern.

The sea always seems the most fierce at St Monans. We avoid the pier, for fear of getting drenched by a rogue wave.

Among other attractions, Crail has The Shoregate and Crail Pottery. I never buy anything there. One day, I will actually need a new mug. Until then, I’m just wondering if their ginger cat will ever make an appearance.

My favourite location is Pittenweem, even though their beloved Fish & Chip Bar burnt down last year. The building is still a husk, with roaring flame impressions above its lintels. We hope it rises again, some day, and that its staff still wear their retro tabards and there will be a big jar of pickled eggs behind the counter.

Whenever we’re staying in this village, we’ll peep into St Fillan’s Cave, or get the key from The Cocoa Tree Shop so we can go inside.

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At night, we walk to the harbour to hear the clink of the boats’ chains, and marvel at the map of night stars.

If you want a beach, there’s Elie, while Lower Largo has The Crusoe hotel, and Kiloconquhar is a must visit for the Kinneuchar Inn.

The perfect nook indeed.



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