The Fife Coastal Path
Elie to Crail

This section of the walk is 11 miles / 17.6 Km in length, starting from the centre of Elie at the corner next to the Parish Church and end in Crail.
For a detailed directional description of the Path based on Ordnance Survey Reference Numbers link to the appropriate “Walkers Details” section.

Route Map - 57Kb
Elie looking west to Kincraig

The starting point is likely to be at the cross roads next to the Parish Church. Proceed east along the main street for a short distance before turning right towards the sea and harbour area. The route does not go as far as the harbour but heads towards the car park for Ruby Bay.

Looking back from this point the view is towards Chapel Ness and behind the higher hill of Kincraig Point.

The path is well signed as it crosses the grassy area know as Shepherd’s Knowe before reaching the shoreline to the east.

Lady's Tower

On the south of Shepherd’s Knowe is the Lady’s Tower, now in ruin but still worth the detour to visit. This Tower was built for Lady Jane Anstruther in the later part of the 18th century and was used as a bathing house for her. She was a naturist and from this point she was able to enter the bay below without being seen by the local residents of Elie.

Regaining the path adjacent to the shore the walk heads NE towards St Monans. On the way the path passes two ruins, the first being very limited in height and is Ardross Castle a 14th century building. This now has farm buildings next to the ruins and the path passes directly through some arched ceilings of the castle.

Coast between Elie and St Monans

The next ruin is Newark Castle a significantly more visible and imposing ruin sitting above the cliff face. The path leaves the shoreline and climbs up to the ruin and the adjacent round tower. This castle was built in the 15th century for the Sandilands Family.

St Monans Church

Dropping down from Newark Castle the community of St Monans is clearly visible with the old church that is located very close to the sea being directly ahead. If it is high tide the path has to divert inland, otherwise it passes between the church and sea to the small Inverie Burn. This is thought to be one of the oldest churches to be still in use today in Scotland and is claimed to be the one closest to the sea a claim few would dispute.

St Monans

The route now takes to a village road above Partan Craig and the Harbour. This is thought to be one of the more traditional fishing villages of Fife. Heading east the way takes you past St Monans Windmill, this was used in the past to pump seawater into the salt pans.


The next community on the route is Pittenweem, only a further mile along the coast. This is well worth a visit and stop to look at the 17th century home of Captain James Cook, this known as the Gyles. Also take time to see the St Fillan’s Cave with its earlier Christian connections. This can be found up a narrow alley directly opposite the harbour.

Anstruther Harbour and Fishing Port

From Pittenweem the path has a further two miles before it enters Anstruther. This section start at a slightly higher level along the edge of fields before dropping down to the shore. It then runs parallel to the Anstruther Golf Course entering from the west close to the club house.
The route reaches the main road for a very short distance before turning right down to the harbour area which is certainly one of the more commercially active ports. There are many pleasure craft in the marina and a thriving number of shops overlooking the marina.
From here a boat sails to the Island of May in the tourist season, an island steeped in history and nature.

Cellardyke Harbour

Anstruther is made up of three communities, Anstruther Wester, Anstruther Easter and Cellardyke, all at one time having their own active harbours. When in Anstruther look out for the Scottish Fisheries Museum, worthy of a visit.
To progress on the Path leave by the side of the Museum and take the road to a "T" junction. Instead of following the road to the left continue on the narrow road straight ahead passing a lot of interesting traditional terraced fishing houses on either side. This shortly opens out at Cellardyke harbour.

Caiplie Caves From Cellardykes the route is now by a mixture of track, path and open field as it heads for over three miles towards Crail. About half way there are the Caiplie Caves. These were formed in post glacial times but the importance are the carvings that Monks and pilgrims made on the caves as they travelled towards St Andrews. The entrance to Crail is via a set of stone steps on the west side of the bay.

Crail Harbour Behind the harbour and on the hill stands Crail House. This has been built on the site of the earlier castle built in the time of King David I in the 12th century. From this vantage point there are great views over the harbour, or to the Island of May and along the Firth of Forth.
This is a community with charming streets and much to see, so ensure you have time to stop for a while.

To move on to the next section of the Path click here.

To access the other route sections click on the links below:

Kincardine - North Queensferry |  North Queensferry - Kinghorn |  Kinghorn - Leven |  Leven - Elie |  Elie - Crail |  Crail - St Andrews |  St Andrews - Newport-on-Tay |  Newport-on-Tay - Newburgh

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