The Fife Coastal Path
Walkers details

This part of the website carries all the information that a walker will need at the planning phase of any walk on the Path. As the most important starting point it offers you detailed "Distances and Options" for the whole route.

This page also includes information on the following topics:-


Walking Terrain

This has been divided into section for each of the days, and may be helpful for those who are undertaking only parts of the route.

Section

Terrain

North Queensferry to Kinghorn

The first section to Inverkeithing is via mainly grass path or pavement as you approach Inverkeithing. The initial path could be muddy after a wet period but generally this is easy walking. Through Inverkeithing the walk is on pavement then leading out towards the shoreline and a generally cinder path until it turns into a more formal paved section through Dalgety Bay. Dalgety Bay is a mixture of path, roadway and some shore side paths that lead down into shore side woods. Dalgety Bay to Aberdour is mainly on firm single track private roads with no traffic. Aberdour to Burntisland is along grass paths, cinder paths and beach areas all close to the coastline before finally coming into the community with pavement walking. Now there is some walking along the beach promenade before a stretch of pavement walking before arriving at the cliff top walk at Kinghorn. We would recommend a stout pair of good walking shoes or a walking boot for this section.

Kinghorn to Leven

The start towards Kirkcaldy is on a grass path with a sometimes rough surface as it works its way along the shoreline. As it approaches Kirkcaldy the path become more of a track before it reaches a car park and then pavement walking onto the promenade. In Kirkcaldy the route is on the wide pedestrian promenade then pavements before entering a park and woodland walk on tracks that lead into Dysart harbour. Dysart to West Wemyss is on pavement then cliff top track before descending onto a grass path and then narrow track. After West Wemyss the way is by shore side grass path that can be liable to be wet and muddy in parts, this being the cases until leaving East Wemyss where the track now uses an old railway track and runs along the edge of fields. Again this can be slightly muddy in wet conditions. From the west side of Buckhaven to Leven the walking is all on tarred pavement. Initially a walking boot is advised, the latter section however could be done with lighter footwear.

Leven to Elie

This starts on a promenade but then has a mixture of sandy shore, and grass path through the sand dunes. From time to time it crosses fine golf fairways and has pavement walking in small communities before reaching a grass path section adjacent to the shore. Further on east of Lower Largo the path uses beach, track and then a climb by the side of the rugged shoreline before a descent again onto sand dunes or beach. The final walk into Elie is by quiet roadside pavement. This has a much more varied walking surface and walking boots are certainly recommended

Elie to Crail

Although the walk comes onto hard surfaces at all the communities along the way the predominant surfaces are that of grass paths or shore side tracks with sometimes uneven surfaces where the rock / boulders come through the surface. None of this has much incline of descent but some parts particular towards the Crail end can be subject to rougher and wetter surfaces. Walking boots are again recommended.

Crail to St Andrews

This is a section with less made up surfaces to the proceeding sections and again tends to be running on grass or shore line paths for most of the path to Kingsbarns. This can be slightly rougher underfoot to earlier section but never that difficult with few gradients to encounter. After Fife Ness there are several sections on the dunes next to the golf courses where the walking is easy but consideration needs to be given to golfers and off target golf balls. There is also some walking along the side of fields and through agricultural areas where the surfaces are likely to be wet and muddy before reaching the pavements on the entry to St Andrews. Walking boots are again recommended.

St Andrews to Newport-on-Tay

This starts on a level well surfaced path all the way to Guardbridge, then followed by a section of pavement that takes you through Guardbridge and out to the east of Leuchars. The path now enters a farm track before crossing open grassland. Following a further short tarred section the path is also a grass path or track for the full length of the Tentsmuir Forest section. On leaving the track the path is quickly into Tayport followed by a section of path along a discussed railway track and finally footpath and pavement to the end at Newport-on-Tay. The centre section is again best undertaken in walking boots especially the open grassland before reaching the Tentsmuir section.

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Accommodation Locations

The intention of this section is to assist walkers define where accommodation is available in relationship to likely end points for all of the sections of the long distance route.
On this long distances way it is effectively unnecessary as there is never more than a few miles from one community to the next. The only points where you need to be prepared for a longer stretch without passing a community is Crail to Kingsbarns and Leuchars to Tayport.

To link for suggestions on service providers click on accommodation, or transport & bag carrying provision.

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Transport Options
To and from Start and End Points

North Queensferry can be accessed easily by way of air, bus, and rail. Sadly SuperFast Ferry between Rosyth Ferry Terminal and Zeebrugge is no longer operational.

Air connections are via Edinburgh International Airport followed by a 15 minute taxi ride to North Queensferry.
The community has a station very close to the starting point and is the first station on the north side of the Forth Railway Bridge. Do note that not all trains stop here and the more likely stop for express trains is Inverkeithing, only a short taxi ride from North Queensferry. Via these stations there are links north to Aberdeen and Dundee and south to Edinburgh with connections throughout the UK.
There are a number of Inter City and Mega buses passing through the "Ferry Toll" bus terminusthis being located between North Queensferry and Inverkeithing.

Newport-on-Tay is accessed from Dundee by way of a local or express bus services. Some of the services access the centre of Newport-on-Tay while others run to and from the eastern end of the community near to the Tay Road Bridge, some 10 minutes walk from the end/start point of the Path.
The travel time is between 20 and 30 minutes from the centre of Newport to the centre of Dundee. There is a good service and several will run in any hour.
The bus numbers are:

  • Strathtay Bus No 77
  • Stagecoach Fife nos 69, X54
  • Moffat & Williamson No 92
Once in Dundee or to arrive in Dundee there are limited domestic air services, frequent rail services both north or south on the East Coast Aberdeen to Edinburgh line and to and from Glasgow, as well as express coaches to and from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Linking start and end points

This is generally not a difficult connection taking between 1½ to 2½ hours dependent on the route taken. There is not however a direct route, all require some level of transport change.
From Newport-on-Tay centre there is the option of a direct bus into Dundee to connect with the train service south. It is likely that you will need to change trains at either Kirkcaldy or Inverkeithing to get a local stopping train at North Queensferry.
The alternative is to walk to the east end of Newport-on-Tay and take the X54 Express bus to either Ladybank, Inverkeithing Ferry Toll P&R or Dunfermline then connect to North Queensferry by train, local bus or train respectively.

Linking along the route

There are two modes of connection based around the rail network and the Fife Stagecoach bus services. The former is very good on the section from North Queensferry to Kirkcaldy, and Leuchars to Dundee, but cannot support points between Kirkcaldy and Leuchars. The bus services support all locations with a combination of very local routes and express routes from St Andrews via Leven and Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh.

Useful Contact Numbers

  • Travel Line for all public transport information and timetables - Tel 0870 608 2608. Their website allows for route planning and timetables and is accessed on www.traveline.org.uk
  • National Rail Enquiry Line - 08457 484950 or link to their website www.rail.co.uk
  • Stagecoach Fife website www.stagecoachbus.com/fife/

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Refreshments

This is a walk where you can rely on finding a corner shop or pub to satisfy your lunchtime or break requirements on almost every section. The walker will only need by necessity to plan for a packed lunch and adequate liquids on the sections between Lower Largo and Earlsferry, Crail and Kingsbarns and Leuchars to Tayport.

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Walking Kit

What the walker carries is to some extent a personal choice and a compromise between essential - desirable and space - weight.
For many walkers the ideal is to have the overnight luggage forwarded from place to place leaving you only with the need to carry the kit for the days walk. On the Fife Coastal Path there is a service offered for door to door baggage transfer.
We list below what we feel you need in such circumstances.

Some of the kit relates to what you will be wearing, the balance what you will take in the rucksack.

  • The most important kit relates to walking boots and sock, without this being correct and walked in your chances of completion or of enjoying the Path are unlikely. This is a walk that needs waterproof good quality boots for some of the sections.
  • Clothing that provides comfort, warmth and breaks the wind is vital, along with waterproof jacket and leggings for the poorer weather.
  • Hat and gloves, there are thermal and waterproof varieties. Remember that almost all of the route is close to the sea and if the wind is off the sea it can be cold.
The next consideration is what needs to be carried.
  • Rucksack which is of sufficient size and comfortable to carry. A waterproof cover is worth including or at least a bin liner of poly bags to protect the contents from the rain.
  • Sufficient water as well as other liquid refreshment
  • First aid kit including some blister pads
  • Compass, maps and whistle for the leuchars to Tayport section in particular.
We believe the following are desirable items
  • Walking poles
  • Gaiters to protect your legs and trousers in muddy conditions
  • Insect repellent and sun block (dependent on time of year)
  • Folding umbrella - to some this may seem unacceptable and we would have fallen into this camp until walking with two very experience international walkers. They used them to shed off the worst of the downpours keeping the clothing on the body dry.
  • Camera and binocular - there is plenty of wildlife to see along the coastline
  • Spare battery for mobile phone if you have one
This should be taken as a guide only, you should plan for the unexpected weather, and the unexpected difficulty that might mean you being in the open for longer than you anticipated. For this reason also look at the Emergency Precautions section.

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Waymarking

Maps

The walk is well waymarked for the entire way using mainly the logo as shown on the right. There are however some alternative discs used at some points and around the golf courses after Fife Ness look out for local marker posts and finger posts pointing out some alternative options.
We would not advocate that the walker navigates purely by the waymarks but also carries up to date maps to a scale of atleast 1:50000. Walkers should comes prepared with compass. The OS Landranger maps relevant to the walk are Nos.65, 66, & 59.
The OS Explorer maps (1:25000) required are Nos 367 & 371, this leaving out a distance of just over 2 miles of route between Leven, Lundin Links and Lower Largo, a section that is not to difficult to follow.

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Weather

This can vary from day to day and area to area. Being on the East Coast there can be a cold wind coming off the North Sea and at certain times this may also result in a mist that could limit visibility.

For information on the weather forecast within the region you can call Weathercall. (This is a premium rate telephone service run by the Met Office.)
Relevant Region and Dial Number:

Edinburgh, Fife, Lothians & Borders

Complete route

09068 500 422

Alternatively access the Met Office Website.

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Communications

Communications in the form of mobile phones can be relied upon throughout the entire route with only very short sections where the signal may be lost for a few minutes.
In addition the walk is passing through frequent communities where there is the provision of public telephones.

It is however still good practice to leave a note with someone to indicate your walking route for the day and the anticipated arrival time. Accidents and emergencies can happen and it could be in one of the less frequently walked sections.

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Emergency Precautions

The walk in the later stages takes you into more remote paths and locations, where you may not see others for some period of time. These are also areas where the terrain may be more uneven and close to the sea or within forestry where navigation can be more demanding. Although this is very different from walking across hills or open moorland, do not be lulled into thinking that an emergency cannot arise. Especially be aware that over the rough stony shoreline ankle or leg injuries are possible.

We recommend that on the sections beyond Crail there is a person proficient with the use of a compass and carries with then a set of appropriate maps.

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Ordnance Survey Direction Table

This route is well waymarked and is also defined on the up to date Landranger maps. However even with these details it may be helpful to have a table of grid references with defined details for what to do at these key points.
Walking Support (an associate business) has surveyed the complete route using GPS to plot all the key points. To obtain a copy of this directional table simply click below on the "BUY NOW" button and for 2.90, which you can pay on-line, we will be sent by e-mail attachment a Word Document containing this valuable data. Allow up to 2 working days from payment for receipt of data.

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