THE stresses of everyday life can even make relaxation seem like an unwanted distraction, at first.
So it was that the smartphone flashed up three emails and a text message needing reply as the car was parked in the lovely village of Aberdour.
It was the power of the sea that came to the rescue. Once near the harbour the sound of waves lapping on the shore was enough to calm the nerves and make me realise the best thing to do with the smartphone was turn it off until later.
It was a good decision, as a coastal walk followed with unexpected delights including an enchanting waterfall so perfect it could have been part of a film set.
Out to sea, with views including a sharp relief of Edinburgh’s skyline, wintering birds were busy flying low over the water in little formations which from a distance made them appear like some kind of long insect crawling very fast.
The Fife Coastal Path has really opened up views like this to all. And, as on this section, the path is so good you can give the watery scenes your full attention.
DISTANCE 3 miles (one way).
HEIGHT CLIMBED Negligible, some undulating sections and one steep flight of steps.
TIME 1½ to 2 hours (one way). MAP OS Landranger 66.
PARK Aberdour Railway Station – this is a linear walk which necessitates a return by train on the regular service from Burntisland. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you walking back.
IN SUMMARY Walk down Aberdour’s High Street a short way and turn left at the Foresters Arms, down Shore Road. As the name suggests, the road leads all the way down to the shore then bears left to reach the harbour. Follow a path behind the Quay Gallery which leads around the harbour and at a junction keep right to stay on the coastal path. On reaching Hawkcraig Cottage go left, then immediately right to climb stone steps. At the top a grass path leads to more steps which go down to Hawkcraig Point.
Go left at the bottom of the steps to follow a track to Silver Sands beach. At the far end of the picturesque beach the coastal path swings right to run parallel with a railway line.
After the path has passed under the railway and on to the other side you pass a beautiful cascading waterfall, then continue straight on at a junction, following coastal signs. This is a good place to begin a return the same way unless you are going back by train, in which case carry on as the path reaches a new housing development.
A few hundred yards further on, look for a narrow passage beneath the railway line and go through it, ignoring a coastal path sign indicating straight on. Once through the passage follow a path to a track, go left and at a road go right (not up Haddow Grove).
At a junction go left to follow the road up past the whitewashed Rossend Castle, now used as an architect’s offices, and through a stone arch.
Once across a bridge over the railway line, take some steps on the right. At the bottom cross a road, then follow Harbour Place back under the railway and round to the left to reach the station.
REFRESHMENTS There is a good choice in Aberdour and you will pass a decent café at Silver Sands beach.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Aberdour Castle (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk), with its buildings ranging from the 12th to 17th centuries, and its gardens are open all year (except Thursdays and Fridays in winter).
The Norman-style 12th-century St Fillan’s Church next door is also very interesting.